Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hey Hay!

Farmer Tom is our cousin over north of Fort Benton.  They have a very busy, family farm that has been operating for four generations now.  Farmer Tom married into the family and into farming.  It's a bit of "new" thing for him, but he has taken to it very well in my opinion.  I am very grateful that Tom and Roger grow some nice hay, put it into nice, small bales and haul it over here for me.

The first load they hauled went like clockwork.  Roger has designed this handy dandy trailer that slides the stacks off the trailer and onto the ground in a very nice stack.

Today was different.... Just as I was heading out to take some things to Farmer's Market the phone rang.  It was Cousin Joellyn calling to let me know that some of the hay had fallen off the trailer en route.  Could I please bring a truck so we could get them off the highway and back onto the semi trailer?  Of course! 
I had the easy part of the job.  The driving along to pick them up, job.  A thunderstorm hit just as we were loading them.  Then it rained....  Jake and Tom are probably pretty sick of stacking bales tonight....
Once they got the trailer out to the farm, the next task was to slide the stack off the trailer.  Unfortunately this was not Tom's day.  The cable that pushes the slide down and therefore the hay off, broke.  So there we were trying to figure out how to get about 300 bales of hay off the trailer any possible way other than by hand.  Lucky us! I have this little backhoe sitting here on the farm....
But our idea of pushing the stack off with the bucket didn't work.  And our idea of pulling the stack off with the straps, didn't work either.  But lucky for us I have this really cool little forklift just sitting here on the farm.... So after we filled up it's big ol' flat tire, we put it to work pushing the stack off the trailer....
It actually worked! Kind of ....
Look! It's a bale-ka-bob!
My very favorite saying these days is, "Good enough is perfect!" That's a quote from my favorite farming guru, Joel Salatin!  The hay is off the trailer!  We'll fix the stack a little and it will be perfect!
Don't ya think?
It was a perfect summer evening in north central Montana.  Tom made the comment that it was waaayyyy better to be out bucking bales on a Montana evening than running on a treadmill in some gym.  I could not agree more!  Now we have just two more loads to go.... wish Tom luck!
To read more about Farmer Tom and his lovely wife Joellyn, go to
Bye for now,

Sunday, September 1, 2013


September arrived today and that little fact makes me smile.  I love autumn. It is starting to feel like it's on it's way, even though it was ninety degrees today..  Next month I am hoping to have some wether lambs that are ready for the freezer.  But before that happens I wanted to be sure to harvest their wonderful fleece.  I plan on having it blended with some of the alpaca fleece.  I'm told it will make amazing yarn!

The young man I bought the lambs from last spring happens to be an actual sheep shearer!  Shearing is very much a dying art and I am so pleased to see a young guy that is still willing to work that hard!  Most of the old timers that used to shear around here are long gone, so I am very lucky that Josh was willing to come all the way out here to give my lambs their haircuts!

Josh Pecukonis, sheep shearer extraordinaire.

We also had Jim helping us again today.  Jim has become pretty much invaluable around here.  Especially since he is a sheep whisperer!  It was his job to wrangle the wooly buggers and hand them off to Josh.
Then we'd shear each one and I'd gather up the good parts of the fleece and bag it.


Then Jim and I would scoop them up and haul them over to their pasture.  It's sure is easier than trying to drive them anywhere!  They scatter like ping pong balls!

Boy, I'm sure glad I only have nine of them!  They are weighing between 80-100 pounds or so!

Up and over!

Of course we did have some spectators! 

When we were finished we had some of Prairie Granny's awesome homemade pizza and ice cream!  The best part of a tough project is the dinner afterward!  I'm very grateful to have help in that department or we'd be eating at the local bar and cafĂ© on a day like this.

Special thanks to Josh's mom, Anita for taking the great photos for this post!  It sure takes a village to make everything work some days.  Thank God for the village.

Bye For Now,