June 5, 2009

Come see how I hay my fields

Because we've had so much rain this spring, the hay in the hay fields grew very quickly and it needed to be cut and baled earlier than anticipated. When these fields were originally planted, I chose a meadow mix with plenty of alfalfa, timothy, clover, orchard grass, and brome, which the horses and donkeys love. Dominick, one of the property staff, is in charge of all the mowing and cutting of the fields. He's been watching the weather very carefully, trying to coordinate this chore between rainstorms. Ideally, Dominick likes to cut a field, let the cut hay dry for two days, and then bale on the fourth day. You want that hay nice and dry to prevent rot. I thought it would be fun to show you this baling process - just one tiny task at the farm.

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Once Dominick cut the field, he attached the hay tedder to the tractor. A tedder is used after cutting to turn or scatter the cut hay in the field so that it can dry, or cure. Dominick likes to turn it 3 times, at least, over a course of 2 days.


Photos By Martha Stewart and Eliad Laskin

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