We made our final cutting of alfalfa on Sunday. My eldest son and I took a few pictures as dad was cutting the hay. It was neat to see the swallows swooping in and grabbing bugs behind the mower. There were also quite a few dragonflies out. Most of the dragonflies and swallows are already on their way out. Dad noticed the barn swallows started leaving about 10 days earlier than normal this year.
Watch for the swallows catching bugs in this video:
Northern people have always been savers. Those that didn’t save didn’t make the winter. Those that saved may have made the winter. Farmers are savers. We are savers. Unfortunately, we don’t have any money. We save sunshine. This is the main branch of the First Chism Heritage Farmers Bank, established in 18??. We keep our sunshine here.
Isn’t it majestic? (don’t mind the paint job or the leaky roof) Several times each year we walk up to the teller’s window to make a deposit.
Then, to keep banking fees to a minimum, we head into the vault to help arrange, sort and stack the deposits. Here’s a small portion of this year’s deposits.
In the foreground you can see a low stack of sunshine in the form of alfalfa bales from the third cutting. Further back, among the posts, is more sunshine in the form of grass hay we cut earlier in the year. To the left (and out of the camera) is an absolute mountain of alfalfa hay. There are also a few fair piles of straw tucked away here and there. Tons and tons of sunshine. Think of the different kinds of hay as different kinds of currency and I’ll keep my lame bank analogy running. When withdrawals are needed we head into the vault, determine which kind of currency is in demand that day and grab a whole bale of it.
Since this is a farm economy (and something of a closed loop) any withdrawls from the
loft vault are soon to become deposits somewhere else.
Then deposits somewhere else.
Then deposits somewhere else.
Then out to the alfalfa field. Just add sunlight and a dash of rain and we’re ready to fill the
barn vault again.
Do you have mulberries where you live? Do you even notice them? We have them here. When I was a kid in New Minden we had one in our back yard next to the gate that led to the alley and Mrs. Ruth’s yard. There was a crotch in the tree just right for a 7 year old to park in and make himself sick eating berries. I did.
Today we baled hay in the bottom where mulberry trees abound. I picked a handful while I was walking out to where dad was ready to bale.
I picked another handful when the baler went under a mulberry tree.
I picked yet another handful for good measure. Don’t mind the hay hook.
I also took inventory of the dewberries crop. Not as many as I would like to see…
…and the blackberries.
We pick and freeze as many as we can get my hands on but we really don’t go past the edge of the woods because there’s a bumper crop of poison ivy out there every year. This year is no exception.
Each spring we clean out our freezer and find forgotten gallon bags of berries and make a big batch of mulberry, dewberry, blackberry, strawberry mixed jam. Yeah. It’s pretty good…better on ice cream.
So anyway, we were out there to make hay. I’m a little allergic to hay. On the third pass I started sneezing. By the fourth pass my hankie was soaked. Dad runs the baler clockwise around the hayfield. Both of dad’s main fields are on a slope so it’s an interesting ride.
Between the two fields in the bottom and the barn lot we put up another three wagons of hay. We have had an unusually dry spell so this is far and away the best first-cutting hay we have put up in years. Isn’t it pretty laying in windrows? That hill made about 65 bales.