July 25, 2008

Haying Season


Haying Season ~ Most native grasses are mown down during the month of July. Timing is crucual as you want to get the best nutrients out of the grass, which will be used to feed cattle during the dormant winter months.

This is the time of year when you'll see farmers and ranchers out on their tractors mowing the big prairie pastures. Behind the mowers, are those who rake the hay, and once the windrows are cured by the sun, the big balers come in to bale the hay. If you used small bales, rather than the big bales pictured below, this is when the real work begins.

Crews of men (and probably a few women) come onto the scene to pick up the bales and load them onto wagons. Once loaded, they'll take the hay to a barn to be unloaded for storage. What this means to the average farmer/rancher is long days in the hot sun that won't end till way past dark. Hay crews need fed, too, and that means cooking up big meals, which usually include fresh corn-on-the-cob, new pickles, and ice-cold watermelon.

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