Making Hay While the Sun Shines
The evolving method
It typically takes three sunny days to make "dry" hay - one for mowing and two for drying, raking, and baling. The challenge is it often rains during one of those three days, greatly diminishing nutrient value of hay. As a result, a method of growing use is to make "wet" hay. This involves mowing, raking, baling, and wrapping the bales in plastic all within 24 hours. The wet hay then ensiles or ferments in an anaerobic environment, becoming more digestible. Livestock much prefer it over dry hay, and waste less. Reducing the haymaking window by two days reduces production risk many fold, so there are few drawbacks to this method, except one, which is why I have resisted it over the years. That is the waste of plastic wrap that ends up in the landfill. Last year, we made half our hay dry and half wet. The dry was rained on and was of greatly inferior quality thereafter, while the wet was excellent. So economics drove the decision this year, and we have made all wet hay. There is a movement afoot by OEFFA and others to find ways to recycle the plastic, which would be of great benefit.
Remember the idle wagons in peaceful meditation? Well, here is one of them resolutely at work. This is an old logging truck that was converted into a hay wagon. The heavy suspension is particularly helpful for hauling wet hay, which is 50% water, and puts a strain on most hay wagons.
Bales are placed on the wrapper and automatically encircled with plastic - serving the place of a silo, barn, or tarpaulin, at a fraction of the cost.
This past week Elderberry bushes jumped into bloom. They have never been so prolific, especially around the wetlands. We will try making jam from the berries.
Some of you in the Hyde Park neighborhood may have received our flyer this past week announcing "Neighborhood Delivery". This entails our having on-line ordering in place, which for meat, is more complicated than it seems. Nevertheless, it is in place, and we are learning how to manage it. So, feel free to employ this venue, if you'd rather not go to the Farmer's Market. If you visit our website: www.grassrootsfoods.biz, and click on Our Products, the new ordering system will surface. (But you can also call or email directly.) We will be delivering to Hyde Park once every two to three weeks on Wednesdays.
The first fifteen responders to our flyer earned two cups of Susan's Soulful Chili! They are:
1) Mary Casey Sturk
2) Louise Jenks
3) JoAnn Bedd
4) Cindy Gapen
5) Tim Fischer
6) Emme Bell
7) April Clauder
8) Alessandra Trindle
9) Joanne Thomas
10) Andrew Fickas
11) Emily Gilb
12) Charles Clendenin
13) Marycarol O'Connor
14) Revae Embs
15) Ian Avery
I will see several of you this week to make good on the chili and the balance of you can pick up your earnings on Wednesday July 2 at Suncrest & Pape Avenues next to Ault Park.
Last, we will be in attendance at the Hyde Park Market this Sunday the 22nd, and look forward to seeing you there.
Best wishes, as we all strive to stay cool,
Drausin & Susan