August turned out to be a warm, dry, smoky month. While Gregory finished the swathing, I worked on baling. The fields were too rough to take Joseph along in the baler, so he had to spend most of the time with Grandma and Grandpa. In the end, all the scrambling looks like it’s going to pay off. Between our Landis pasture, the ditches, the sloughs, and other odds and ends I think we are going to have enough hay for our herd of cows and horses.
Our Landis pasture did very well this year. We seeded it to grass in the spring of 2016 with a barley and oats cover crop. The barley did so well that we actually ended up harvesting it and we cut the oats for greenfeed. The grass, however, was a little short. We didn’t cut any of it in 2017, choosing instead to let it seed itself and hopefully fill in and be a thicker stand. Leaving it stand in 2017 also helped us because overwintering the grass, and even the weeds that came in, helped to keep the snow from blowing off the field. With a good shot of moisture in the spring of this year from the snow that was still sitting on the field, the grass came in very well. This was able to make up for the other field that we put up hay on where we got less than half of the bales that we got last year.
While I was in the baler, Gregory and a good neighbour pulled the engine out of Gregory’s John Deere 7720 combine to replace a seal. It has been a job that has needed done for a while, but we hadn’t had the time or the manpower to do it before. Since I was able to do some of the baling this year, Gregory was able to work on some things before harvest. It was a bit of a job, but with Al’s help and his engine hoist they got it done and got the seal replaced.
Gregory took the self-propelled swather out and opened John’s wheat field north of the yard. The next day, John and Gregory took the 30-foot pull-type swathers out and cut the whole field down. Over the next few weeks they kept working on getting the crop cut down so that we could start harvesting.
Harvest started. John took his machine and Joseph and I ran one of the 7720 combines, affectionately called Mighty Mouse. Gregory was our trucker and mechanic. Just when we were getting all the kinks worked out and getting back into our rhythm, it rained. A couple of days later it started raining late morning and rained all day; just a nice slow, soaking rain. We were shut down for a few days after that. This gave us a chance to check our cows and horses that are still out at pasture. The cows are doing well and the calves are growing like crazy. The horses are also doing well, but we decided to bring the two old horses home and start them on their winter oats program. The dry grass and the cooler weather were starting to take a toll on their body condition. We learned a long time ago that it takes less time and less feed if you start feeding before the animal gets skinny.