Friday, April 25, 2008

Wrapping up the Week

It's been a productive, though sometimes frustrating, week. Here's the day-by-day:

Saturday/Sunday -- A warm, dry weather forecast for the first part of the week meant I could go ahead and cut down some ryegrass during the weekend afternoons. The cutter-conditioner was leaving some occasional skips, but I got the job done.

Monday -- Don Allison Equipment delivers our new Jay-Lor Model 6/750 Mixer Wagon. Our old single-screw Jay-Lor was about worn out and on the verge of needing major repairs, so we bit the bullet and got a new twin-screw. Since we're going more to a hay/baleage program (with less corn silage), we really did need something with more capacity. It looks great too..but we find out that the concrete pad we feed the cows on is to narrow to turn the long thing without great difficulty. Dad and I will figure something out.

Tuesday -- Still not used to the length of our new feed wagon, I attempt to back it up across a culvert in our pasture. Mistake. It slides off the edge into a ditch...with 4 tons of feed in it. So I have to call Eskridge Wrecker Service to pick the wagon up out of the ditch so we can pull it forward with the tractor. In the end, no harm done except lost time and a wrecker bill. My own bad luck would continue as I bumped my head pretty hard while greasing our hay baler a little while latter. It was one of those bumps that hurts too bad to curse. I'm still wearing a knot. Things did get better that afternoon and dad got a little over half of the ryegrass baled.

Wednesday -- We start off dark and early about 3:00 am weighing our cows milk. Nothing major, it just delays breakfast by about 45 minutes. Once we get back, we have some heavy dirt brought in to widen out a spot at the feeding area so we can get that new mixer wagon turned without any problem. So far, it's been a pretty good day. Then, it's my turn to run the hay baler. I started about 9:40 and made pretty good time up to lunchtime. Right at noon I estimated I estimated it should take me about fifteen minutes to finish, so why not sacrifice a few minutes of lunch to keep from coming back? That's when my twine arms started messing up. Fifty minutes, five bales, several trips in and out of the tractor, and a whole lot of inappropriate language later, I finally finished. So much for lunch, it's time to hop on the four-wheeler and run the cows from their grazing pasture to the milk barn. I get that done, go home a choke down some leftover chicken fingers, then get the herd's evening TMR in their trough. Meanwhile, our new grain drill, a Haybuster 107, is delivered (with no problems, thankfully).

Now, it's time to start silage wrapping what got baled Tuesday! This process involves someone in the hayfield loading them on the dump truck and then dumping them at the stack site where I'll wrap and place them. Now, these bales looked really good coming out the the baler the day before, but over night they lost some "density" as the moisture in them equalized out (that's our theory, anyway). Being dumped off a truck doesn't help their shape, and they become more oblong than round. This presents a problem scooping them up with the wrapper, so my earlier frustration with our hay baler carries over into the rest of the afternoon. Thankfully, once the milking is done Dad was able to come over and space out the unwrapped bales (which made it much easier for me) while placing the wrapped ones once I dumped them. We finished up about 6:00 and I was glad to have that day behind us.

Thursday -- Another long day, but of a different sort. I leave the house about 5:00 am headed for Montgomery, where the Alabama Farmers Federation is having a Board of Directors meeting. No problems with the meeting, but the aches and pains from the previous day made for uncomfortable travel. On the plus side, that probably kept me from falling asleep at the wheel! I was back home at 7:00, which is a good bit earlier than when I usually get home from Montgomery.

Friday (as of noon) -- A pretty routine Friday so far, except the gasket on one of our tractor's hydraulic filter blew and lost lost all its fluid. That's what I'm about to go fix as soon as I get the cows out of the pasture. Let's hope it's smooth sailing from here on out!

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