Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Summer jobs

A glimpse into our summer...
Our whole summer is pretty much filled with hay making.
No time to just sit hang out on the beach.
Our winters are long and we need to make enough feed to last at least 8 months.
We have  just 3 months to make this feed.
If spring is slow, it generally delays haying, pushing us back into fall before we are done.
We generally only get one cut of hay,
we allow the animals to graze the regrowth as we head  into winter.
Eric making some bales in the evening hours.

Checking the swaths for dryness, can we bale or not?
Our summer months (July and August) are generally hot and dry,
however this year,
"hot and dry" were taken to another level.
With hot being in the mid 30s C ( high 80s F)!

My office
Although ideal hay making weather, 
it has been tough on us (people) who are making the hay.
You see,
we do not own a brand new, air conditioned, satellite radio and air ride John Deere tractor.

We have a 30 year old, glass enclosed, hot and dusty tractor.
The only air-co we have is a broken window.
Making hay is a hot and dusty business.

While sweltering away behind the glass, I decided to see how hot it actually was.
We have a temperature gun ( point and shoot type),
so on one of my rounds I took the liberty to take some measurements;
the dash of the tractor was over 53 degrees Celsius,
the air temp inside the tractor was in the high 40's,
and my own body temperature had risen by 1.5 degrees.

Making hay under these conditions is torturous.
If haying time is tough on us,
it is also hard on the tractor.
The tractor runs constantly,
 first pulling the mower/conditioner (moco),
then the rake,
then the baler.
round after round after round.
It is a trying time for  the tractor,
any issues it has,
are bound to manifest itself during haymaking,
 usually, when it threatens to start raining and the field is half done.

We do understand that breakdowns are part and parcel of the who hay making business.
This year, the biggest issue has been that the tractor is running (too) hot.
First the temp gauge was not functioning well.
Fixed that.
Then the motor started running hot,
we would patiently quit haying,
 to allow the motor to cool off, add coolant before making another few rounds.
Finally, we decided to change the water pump,
 to see if that was the issue.
(It was not the issue)
Yesterday, after tossing the coolant again, the rad cracked.
And that,  put an end to baling for the evening.
Fixing.. ( thank you Ruby for the picture)
Luckily for us, our wonderful neighbours loaned us their tractor and baler,
so with storm clouds brewing,
we  managed to complete the field we were busy in.
Roy and Eric spent the night changing out the rad,
tonight they will put in a new thermostat
and hopefully we will be ready to roll again.
We have another 180 acres still to go (60-70 ha), to cut, to rake and then bale.
My neighbour, Gloria and I baling a field together.
Sometimes my only friend, while hay making, is a coyote,
who utilizes this opportunity to hunt some mice.
Hello there..

Not all the issues are with the tractor,
the baler can also have its off days.

See, this bale?
The baler had a melt down while twining,
it just would not stop, and around and around it went..

Other times, it does not even want to  twine...
Usually, these problems are relatively easily solved.
mmm, that is not how the twine should be..
Just the frustration is causes, is often, not in proportion to the
problem that needs fixing.
A field almost done.
The good news is that we have some good quality, dry hay put up this year.

Eric bought a old Mack truck so we can haul our hay home more efficiently this year.

Roy spraying off the truck.

We are going to try and haul it all home within the next few weeks before the first snow flies.

Our planning and preparation for this coming winter,
 will need to be our next big focus,
that is, once the haying is done.

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