At the end of the end of the four days rain was coming. So you can bet your life we were busy haying. Will got his last neighboring field round baled on Saturday and we planned on doing our oats/alfalfa field, which had been cut on Friday, on Sunday. But after making one round with the square baler, it was evident the hay was too green to bale. And it was supposed to rain on Monday. We had no choice; that hay would mold if baled so we had to wait and pray for dry weather, despite the weather forecast. All the rest of Sunday it was partly cloudy and breezy. We checked the field mid-morning Monday and the hay was drier but not quite enough. Peeping at the sky, we said a few more prayers while we watched clouds building. Just before noon, the hay seemed dry enough. Will loosened up the tension on the baler a bit so it wouldn’t pack the hay so tightly and hit the field. I followed on the four wheeler to check the bales. They were perfect! With gratitude, I watched awhile as Will continued baling.
Finally, in an hour, there were 160 bales of hay on the ground, but clouds were building up, dark and threatening, to the south. Will hooked the new hay wagon he’d built to the Ford tractor and I drove to the fields. With Will putting bales on the wagon, then hopping up to stack them, we filled the wagon quickly. But then came unloading — manually. At the hay elevator, Will quickly threw off a good stack then headed for the mow to receive them as I placed them on the elevator. In this fashion, we managed to get all 160 bales in the barn, except for some which were heavy, possibly too green. These went into the training ring barn, in a single layer so they wouldn’t heat up. We didn’t want to chance burning down the barn due to stacking too-green hay, which can catch fire. Shortly after, it began to rain. But we didn’t care then; the hay was safe. Let me tell you, we were tired puppies for a couple of days!
I dug the rest of the garlic, which turned out so well. We’ll have plenty to eat over winter and also to replant this fall.
Now I’m working on beginning to save seed from our 150 varieties of tomatoes as they ripen in the garden. Some, like Mia’s Italian Paste are old favorites. Others, like Gargamel, are new stars in our lineup. I sit on the front porch with a newspaper under a coffee cup then cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters, then with my thumb, I squirt our the seeds and gel from each seed cell. I write the variety’s name on a coated paper plate then bring the cup with the seeds in it into the house where I add half again as much warm water. The cup is then set on the paper plate, on the counter to ferment for three days. After this time, I dump the contents into a wire sieve, held under warm running water, and with my fingers, I smash the remaining tomato bits through the wire while rinsing. Finally, only the good seeds remain. I shake the sieve well, then dump the seeds out onto the paper plate. This plate is then put on a wire rack so the seeds can thoroughly dry. I’ll do several varieties of tomato each day.
Our gardens are doing so well now that it’s unbelievable. (Please God, no frost!) The Seneca Round Nose corn has huge cobs and the Yukon Supreme is ready to eat. I’ll be seeding peppers real soon as we have a terrific crop. I’ll also be making plenty of Cowboy, Cowgirl, and Vaquero candy from them, once the seeds have been saved. I can’t wait!