Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mercy Hay & Mis-er-ee

"Mercy Hay" and my feeble attempt to disguise it from the sheep, since they can see it from their night pen.

I've been amiss in posting this last week, as I've been all caught up in being miserable in this heat wave. Yes, its hot here, very hot and no relief for awhile. Temps are in the upper 90s with index ratings in the 100-105 degree mark. As for rain? What is that? By my best recollections, our last rain was around July 5th. It's very, very dry. What's left of the grass is brown and withered and crackles when you walk. Puffs of dust follow behind as one walks about. The sheep have chronic dirty noses, where the moisture from their nostrils collects dust and turns to mud. My pastures are gone. I'm not sure what the sheep are eating, but they seem pretty picky when I put out hay for them, so they are obviously getting something. I find it hard to remain optimistic. I'm still praying for rain soon, so that we might have some fall pasture.

I had a serious blow delivered last week when I called to confirm with the people I buy round bales from. Due to the extreme heat/drought they have decided they best not sell any hay this year, so they would have enough for their cattle. Now to be fair, these are neighbors, who were really doing this as a favor to me, and are very kind people.
They felt pretty bad about it all, so in the end they brought me two very nice rounds of hay from this year to get me through the next few weeks. Mercy hay. This despite it is several miles away and it was hot and their tractor was not running well at all. Nevertheless, I was a bit laid low by this bad piece of news. The next day I called the local feed store to see if they had some square bales in so I could buy a couple until the neighbors delivered the above mentioned hay. I had picked up the newspaper so I could scour the ads for hay for sale later that day. I was still pretty bummed. When I called the feed store, I got a woman, and asked her how much the hay was and if they had any in (in a side note---this is such a ripoff! The sheep won't even hardly eat this hay, but it is three times expensive as hay from a farmer....venting over...). She said they did and gave me the stats and then in a lowered voice. "I don't know who you are but my husband is baling squares today and if you pick them up out of the field they are only $2.50 per bale". I felt caught up in a bad spy movie. That was a good deal however, unfortunately I was at work at the time so told her I couldn't. However the conversation quickly turned to rounds and that her husband also bales those. Finally I asked her, who are you? I thought the voice was of someone I knew but I wasn't sure. When she told me, I laughed and said oh, this is (my name inserted). She laughed too and seemed relieved. So the upshot is that they were going on vacation, but when they get back her husband is suppose to deliver me 15 4 x 5 rounds. It ain't cheap, but neither is it over the top either. Its suppose to be a nice mixed grass second cutting with lespedeza, grasses and some clover. Once that was done, I had to scramble and ask another neighbor, who has cattle and a tractor with a bale spike if he would help me out and either loan the tractor and himself or just the tractor, to unload the bales. Bless my neighbors, I've got some really good ones, and he readily agreed to help. I've also got a lead on some more rounds that might not be as expensive, so will be following that up. I haven't heard from my square bale guy, but he promised me he would have enough for me....and I know if he can he will provide, but I think he was depending on second cuttings too. I am always amazed how God can answer heartfelt prayer so quickly and creatively!

When my neighbors were bringing the rounds last week ---which was a long process, as my lovely neighbor lady called me twice and my folks once, to let me know, a) they were loading it and would be along after while and b) they were getting ready to start and finally c) they were on the way :-)--I decided I better trim back some of the trees that line the driveway. Since the Ice Storm some of these branches keep drooping lower and lower. I ended up cutting quite a few branches back of Redbud, Hackberry, and Mulberry. Later I divvied it up and made sure all three batches of sheep got some. They are so hungry for green that they dove in with gusto, as you can see by the pictures. They even gnaw on the bark in the days after. Nothing to waste, and later I'll gather up whats left of the branches and move them to the brush pile.

I have lots more on the blogger thought pile to post, and hopefully I'll be more inspired to do it this week. I had a very fun visit with fellow shepherdess, Allena and her family last night, so I'll be posting about that later to.

Have a great weekend and stay cool.

1 comment:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Good to see a post, bad to hear of your hay predicament, good to hear the Lord is providing! It is just as dry and barren here, although not as hot. Weird summer; more cloudy days than usual, with less rainfall.