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.
Whenever Sean of the South writes one of his love letters to Alabama, it always gets our attention. And this one — about road-tripping through the state in a pandemic — certainly hit home.
The thing I miss most, however, is road trips. Like the one I’m on now. I almost forgot how to travel. I almost forgot the thrill of looking out the window at the beauty lying between my Floridian Panhandle home and the sunkissed pastures of Alabama.
I almost forgot what it feels like to roll down my window on a clear day, travelling fifty-five. I nearly forgot how freeing it is to be on an old highway among the peanut fields and cotton.
Workaholic Me is gone. And I hope he stays gone. And for the next few days, I am once again an adopted son of a truly great state.
I heart Alabama.
Like Dietrich, we are also “adopted Alabamians” and we ♥ our family here. It’s been awhile since we took an Alabama road trip…just because (a friend once called that “going loafering”). Thinking we need to hit those back roads again soon!
Our friend Marleah and her pal Patrice started a podcast. And the second we heard the subject matter, we were in! If you love good storytelling and are looking for a funky, uniquely Southern hub that talks about some of our region’s own “stranger things,” then The Strange South Podcast is for you. One fan called it “a haunted chicken coop for your soul.”