Hay. It fuels the cows and horses, and it improves the soil.
There are about 30 acres that are dedicated pasture or hayfield here. The cows are used to rotationally graze some of the pasture as a means of improving the soil. The hayfields are soft soil that has quite a bit of standing water in the winter. That doesn’t affect hay production. In fact, because of the high water table some areas are what is called ‘Sub-irrigated.’
Our hayfields are habitat for a number of critters – including the “Oregon Spotted Frog” which is an endangered species. The OSF thrives in hayfields and pastures, a perfect habitat for them. Wild ducks and geese spend most of January and February in the ponding on the fields eating what we would consider to be disgusting things. Hawks and Eagles and Coyotes do the same when it is dry.
And frogs. February has the loudest chorus of a frog chorale you have ever heard. They love our farm.
All of this is why the farm is important.
And, if you crave hard exercise with a clear accomplishment (The barn is full, the hay is up) – well, have we got a deal for you. Check up in June/July/August when we start trying to guess how long it is dry enough to bring in the hay the old-fashioned way. There are only about 1500 bales…