With summer’s end comes the final hay cutting of the year. And in a year of so much noise and strife, local farmers and landowners throughout the South have been blessed by Mother Nature’s quiet gift of constant rains, which nourished the fields and grew the grass. Hay yields everywhere this year are breaking records. On our own little farm, the yield was 125 square bales and (because we had to get the grass up quickly before more rain came) 60+ giant round bales — for a total equivalent of 1,086 square bales! That’s the biggest haul in 11 years here, and it will feed a lot of cows and horses…and probably a few goats.
There’s something remarkably satisfying about feeding one’s animals with the grasses grown on the lands they stand on. The taste is familiar, their bodies eagerly accept the nutrients and roughage, and barns stand full and ready to feed in the cold months when no fresh grass is available.
We are so thankful for the friends who help us bale our hay. It’s never without challenges, that’s for sure, and we all learn new things each and every year. Without their perseverance and support (+ large equipment!) we’d be left with no choice but to bushhog the fields…then all that beautiful grass would just go to waste. And I don’t think we could sleep at night knowing we gave up the chance to keep more animals healthy, happy and fed.
One of our most favorite times of year – the Fall hay cutting! With a crew of 10, in a 10-hour day, the team baled a farm record of 770 big, beautiful square bales!! Thank you, Mother Nature. And we are so grateful for the hardworking, wise people who led this charge and put up with us all along the way. Today our bodies are sore, but we are happy…and proud. Making hay is just so much fun. 😉 ???? 🙂
These afternoon thunderstorms have been good for our pastures, but they’ve also been great for the woods! And after a few rainy days…if you get lucky…you may just find the much-coveted chanterelle mushrooms. Our neighbors showed us how to hunt for them a couple of years back and last weekend the back woods were sprinkled with these golden beauties. Mike spotted them first, but I leaped out of the ATV to pick as many as I could before his patience wore out (which it did 😀 ). We shared the beautiful chanterelles with friends and sautéed some for burgers last night. Tonight they’ll go on a salad. Carol used hers for a pizza. Jay ate some raw, and Megan sent a link showing how to preserve them for the months ahead. It’s so fun sharing Nature’s gifts when you get the chance. See more recipe ideas here and here.
“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
― David Foster Wallace
We’re celebrating the two-year anniversary of our honeybees in the most fabulous way — with a second harvest! Life with bees has been a magical mystery ride, that’s for sure. Just when you think you know a few things, they show how you really know so little. Kind of like horses. : ) Anyway, last weekend we felt like Winnie the Pooh…just couldn’t keep our hands out of the honeypot as we spun and bottled 2.5 gallons of the most gorgeous golden honey. A special shout-out to our neighbor Charlie, who has been the patient bee teacher, mentor and occasional swarm-catcher. Here are some *sweet* moments from those first two harvests. A limited supply is available now in the Mercantile. Thank you, bees!
The warmer days have gotten our chickens excited and moving into high production mode. Even senior hen Maizie has started laying her popular, pale blue eggs again. Nothing makes us happier than collecting, eating and sharing glorious fresh farm eggs. Thank you, ladies!