July always seems to be “grass grazing” month here, while we finally get our silage and hay underway due to GLAS regulations.
Whilst I’m certainly not against schemes to help wildlife and biodiversity, in recent years I’ve questioned the choice of putting every single meadow we have into the Traditional Hay Meadow option.
As farmers all around us were putting their first crops in, we were twiddling our thumbs and watching the grass grow, or not grow, as was the case in the cold month of May.
When we finally got underway, we only managed two thirds of the crop before the weather broke, though we opted to do all our heavy meadows first which took a weight off our shoulders, as the bulk of our winter feeding was brought in safely.
There's always one half arse of a scutty bale to cause issues!!— Karen McCabe (@LadyHaywire) July 5, 2021
Didn't want to leave it here as it'll be a couple of weeks before cows return here & it'd be rotted by then.
Had to roll it onto the carrier & watch it like a hawk on the road ??
Be some traffic jam if it came off ?? pic.twitter.com/uHm4RNMpgF
Surprisingly, this is a bumper year so far, with nearly all of our meadows yielding a higher number of bales than usual.
This is possibly a combination of lime being spread last year, and the extra slurry we had due to the long winter, but either way we’ll take all the extra bales we can get as you never know when they’ll be needed.
As usual, when we had a scorcher of a week in early July, Dad decided on some “character building” and cut two small meadows to be turned and gathered by hand into cocks of hay.
It’s an enjoyable job, albeit dusty and tiresome, as there is great satisfaction seeing a field finished with golden stacks of hay dotted here and there.
Two tiny fields of overgrown pasture being (hopefully) turned into hay, old school style. Hopefully have cocks of hay before the weekend ??— Karen McCabe (@LadyHaywire) June 30, 2021
Daddy does like doing things the hard way. "It builds character" he says. Think I've enough character at my age to be honest! ?? pic.twitter.com/mgkuYzeQKH
That loose hay was short lived though, as it’s currently feeding a cow who’s in the shed for calving. Perhaps it wasn’t such a senseless task after all.
The cow certainly doesn’t seem to think so as she munches her way through that small pile of very traditional loose hay.
It’s certainly the one time of year that I’m glad of our wet soil
While more southern lands are roasting in the current heatwave, we’re thankful that it dries out our wetter land and allows us to do some better grass management where we normally wouldn’t be able to access without a few prayers and hopeful driving.
It’s certainly the one time of year that I’m glad of our wet soil, as the grass growth really comes into its own with the heat driving it on.
Our small vegetable garden is also rocketing up as well, with the first new potatoes almost starting a small war at the dinner table. There’s nothing quite like homegrown potatoes, and they’re certainly worth the effort of planting and weeding each spring.
Stole a little bag of new spuds off the Daddys plot. Sssssh ?? pic.twitter.com/IwfdXt6F5K— Karen McCabe (@LadyHaywire) July 15, 2021
While we don’t have enough to last for a year, we’ll be eating them until well into autumn, with different varieties being ready for harvesting to keep a continuous supply for the dinner table.
As I often say to my father, all we need now is a pig in the garden to make our own bacon and we’d be well on our way to minimising our food miles.
While we’re busy eating our fill of those, our creep feeder has also been put out with the calves.
While they’re not eating much just yet, it does take some stress off the cows.
Most of which have been served and gone in calf, though fingers crossed they’ll all stay in calf as there’s been a lot of reports of cattle repeating around the country so far this year.
It's very hot but the cows have the right idea & setting. A siesta beside the river where a cool breeze always blows!— Karen McCabe (@LadyHaywire) June 27, 2021
Kiwi coming in heat too, Snoopy has been keeping very close behind her all morning. Might let her skip this time as she's not long calved ?? pic.twitter.com/Ncb7mEMKWi