Monday, 15 July 2013

Hay 2013

The traditional hay stack or "palanca" we finished last friday
Spring this year had been wetter than normal and with all the moisture in the soil when the temperatures started to rise our meadows exploded with an array of different grasses and wild flowers. With the panorama of so much grass I wanted to cut our meadows as soon as possible, so when a week of dry weather was forecasted for the last week in June we got cutting.

Starting to cut four acres of meadows with a strimmer!
In previous years we had cut our meadows using a friend’s alum scythe but we knew this year this machine would not be available. We had tried to buy a second-hand alum scythe with out success so we had the daunting prospects of cutting all the meadows by hand using our strimmer fitted out with a special blade for hay.

The plan was to cut four acres of meadows in two days and have the stimmer working non stop each day! We divided the work between three of us; myself, Sebastian our son and Andres who normally works in the kitchen. We took it in turns with each person cutting for an hour; the strimmer didn’t stop working during nine hot hours each day and we didn’t get too tired.
 
Five days latter with the hay dried and almost ready for baling
The tractor baling the hay
Once the cutting was finished, the grass had to be turned twice to help with its drying and then moved by hand from the high rocky areas of the farm to the lower flatter area where a tractor could enter to bale the hay.

96 bales of beautiful hay!
We started cutting on the Monday and by Saturday morning all the hay was dried and placed in lines ready for the tractor to bale it. By mid day we had 96 bales of beautiful hay! On Monday morning our neighbour Juanra came with his tractor and took the bales to the stable ready for the sheep to eat during the winter months.

"Heaping" the grass ready to make our hay stack
But the grass kept growing and it was obvious that this year the sheep and horses were not going to be able to eat all the grass before it started to lodge and spoil. So a week latter we decided to cut another meadow and this time make a traditional hay stack. By now we were experiencing a heat wave and the grass dried within two days of cutting.

Compressing the grass in the stack by standing on it.

Combing the grass to help make the stack with stand the rain
So last Friday we finished our hay stack which is now proudly standing in the meadow close to the entrance of the hotel.

The sheep last winter enjoying the previous season's hay.

3 comments:

Ian Hicken said...

Hard work but worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear that you are still actively engaged in the principal tenants of a sustainable 'living' lifestyle. I cannot visit this year but hold you true to my hearts desire of grounded, sustainable, surprising, enlightening exemplar living. Just do it, but do it really fucking well! You do, and I applaud you one and all! Barry

Ilse said...

This is cool!

Welcome

Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.