Kevin, whom I’ve never actually met, is helping us get our hay situation under control. I think we’ve mostly got tall fescue on the north pastures, but whatever it is, it’s all gone to seed and is (we’re told) going to be a fire hazard come July.
At first I was trying to find someone to cut and bale it as hay. That’s what’s been done to it for the past decade, but the guy who had been doing it said he wasn’t interested anymore. I got the idea there was a backstory I wasn’t getting – maybe a misunderstanding with the previous owners or something? – but he didn’t have much interest in talking, and even less in haying our fields.
I spent a couple of weeks chasing leads on other farmers who did custom hay, going around in circles and coming up empty-handed.
But in the ways of the Pabloverse, it turns out this may have been a good thing: those pasturing workshops from the Farm Extension have pointed out to me that by exporting hay, we’ve been exporting nutrients from the soil for a decade, with no inputs going back into it. Much better, in the short term, to take the current growth – already gone to seed and not great eating, anyway – and cut it back down into the ground.
Through another acquaintance of an acquaintance, we found Kevin, who’s got a Brush Hog (freaking great big lawnmower that can eat entire saplings). He’ll be knocking the rest of our hay down over the next week or two, but this morning managed to come out and hit the first pasture (aka “Alfalfa 1” or “North Barn”).