Farming

Be Still and Know…

Grace.  In the midst of a very stressful time, He sent this grace.

Pigs in the neighbour’s corn, and out overnight.  A house restoration schedule we can’t seem to get a handle of.  A three-hour commute for chores.  Sales that have fallen through.  The waning of his work-year.  The return of a demanding school schedule.

And William and I were on our way to the veterinarian to collect some medicine to try to save a sick goat.

Worry has a way of charging me, like a surge of electricity.  My mind races trying to think through every possible solution to every possible problem, seeking ONE answer that will solve them all.

It was a beautiful autumn morning: crisp, windy, bright.  As we approached the causeway, around the bend in the road, my eye was caught by something I hadn’t seen before.  I drove on while it registered.  I stopped, incredulous.

A pair of swans.

“Trust in Me.  All shall be well.  Slowly, slowly.”

So I walked to the rail and watched for a time.  And let peace settle on my heart.  Allowed Him to gently remove the burden from my shoulders.  And left with a heart full of thanksgiving.

A swan song of gratitude as I die to myself – just a little – and let Him work.

 

It is believed that mute swans sing only once.  As they are dying. Sweetly, calmly singing themselves away.

 

 

{This Moment}

Sophie, looking out on the field behind our barn on our last hay day.

Field Trip

Just a little walk through one of our hayfields.  There are so many more plants to photograph, but here’s a small sampling of what caught my eye the day we brought our first cutting of hay in:

 

Cow vetch. Tangly and beautiful, this forb is loved by goats, cows, and sheep.

Wild Madder or White Bedstraw. The roots are used to make a beautiful red dye.

Queen Anne’s lace – Wild Carrot. Just the prettiest thing in the fields. It reminds me of my daddy.

And because I just can’t get enough of her…

Fleabane is burned to repel insects. It can also be made into a tea to be used as a diuretic.

Making Hay

 

Our first cutting is finished and in the barn now.  The fields are not in top form, but were considerably better than we – and our friends from Misty Brook Farm – had thought they would be.  We expected 2000 bales from our 30 acres all season.  We nearly got that from just this cutting!

Brendan kindly offered his equipment, services, and manpower to get our hay in.  In return we’ll be looking after his cows on our pastures.  Later in the season, we’ll get some lime spread on the fields, and we’ll seed over the fields.  Organic alfalfa is highly prized throughout the farming community – especially now that the USDA has opened the door to genetically modified varieties.  But it’s a crop that requires specialist equipment to harvest. So we’re considering an alfalfa/timothy grass mix, which should satisfy just about everyone.  And bales of that variety should fetch a handsome price for the same amount of work.

There are two additional fields which need to be re-claimed and we are working on finding someone to help us brush-hog them so that we can get a better look.  We’ll probably pasture our hogs on those two fields for a season, then seed them in.  That will give us 40-50 acres of good grass and legume.

 

 

The hay wagon awaits bales.

 

Tractor fitted with the baler, ready for the off.

 

Beautiful, curvaceous windrows in the setting sun.

Windrows snaking along the contours of the knoll in one of our larger hayfields.

 

The big boys, William and Jack tracing their way along the ribbons of hay looking for treasure (they did find several golf balls from the neighbouring course), while Jason double-checks that the hay is dry enough to bale.

 

The little boys, Louis and James, heading down the tractor road while waiting for Brendan, from a neighbouring farm, to come and help get the field baled.

Exploring a small adjoining field that will be mowed later.

Looking across the field, through an opening in the trees, toward home. It's hard to really do this view justice.

 

It is difficult to express how satisfying it has been to harvest our first crop – as humble as it seems.  Really, there is much to consider when growing the best possible hay crops.  Consequently, the pride a farmer feels when baling hay that is fine and deep, is immense.  And the gratitude to God is likewise.  His hand is evident even in the smallest creation.

We have much to be thankful for – the home we’ve dreamed of, a good harvest, and new friends.

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