Farmerjan's journal - Weather

farmerjan

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Up to mostly cloudy again, 61 to start and maybe 70. The sun was out for a little bit and it hit 80 on the recording thermometer when it hit it... but quickly dropped back as soon as it went behind some clouds. I am going to have to find another place to hang it I guess so it doesn't get the direct sun on it.

I have a miserable headache this morning. Had to have slept wrong. Right up the back of my neck. GRRRR
I wanted to get out in the garden for a bit this morning, in case I have to go back to finish up that hay, but with the clouds, it won't be dry enough along the heavier outside rows... DS will have to just bale all that is ready and since he keeps the baler right there, it can get finished before he goes to another place. I probably will try to rake it tomorrow if we don't get the possible showers this afternoon. We'll see.

I have to test this afternoon. At least there is no set up or anything. Just walk in and test. I am going to eat something and then maybe it will calm down so I can get out there in the garden for a bit. Would like to try to get in another row or 2 of potatoes...and see what is trying to come through the ground. And get the tines on the tiller so I can use it, down the rows I want to plant since there is so much little green trying to sprout.

Let's see if eating and a couple tylenol will help...
 

farmerjan

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Okay, I think I may have explained this but here goes... When a mower cuts the hay, it is laid down in a swath... The old type sickle bar cutters would let the hay fall right behind it in the whole width of the sickle bar so the hay was spread out over top of the whole piece that was cut.. there was a grass board at the end of the sickle bar, and it laid the grass over just a little along the edge to make it easier to see the cut edge of the row and where to start the next row. The more spread out the hay the more area to dry it.
Then they went to haybines... which has a sickle bar along the front of the bottom.... same idea, same type of V blades and guards and such... BUT the hay is channeled through a set of heavy hard rubber rollers which "crushes" the hay stalks and allows it to dry faster with some of the moisture more exposed... AND it is fed through the back into a more condensed row... so there is more "space" between the cut hay laying on the ground. They can be adjusted with the fins on the back of the haybine to be wider or narrower... there are reasons to have the cut hay come out in thicker/narrower rows for chopping and such. Then they came out with discbines... which do not have the sickle bar running the length of the mower... but has several round "heads" that have very sharp blades, that rotate at tremendous speeds, to cut the hay... Again, the hay goes through the rollers and the hay is "stem crushed" to make it more open to drying. Also just as a side note... hay/grass will "respirate.. so it is losing moisture through "breathing" it out of the leaves/blades of grass, also...
ANYWAY... because the hay comes out the back of the mower in more compact rows... the stuff on the bottom takes longer to dry. That is where the tedder comes in... It is 2 or 4 "wheels".... it reminds me of a whirly gig... that spin around and picks up the hay off the ground with the tines/teeth... that are set to barely touch the ground and to only pick up the cut hay... and spins it out behind it.... it fluffs it up, mostly turns the bottom stuff up as it throws it out behind it... This is tedding... also known as fluffing hay... to get air under it, mix it up so the wetter/heavier stuff underneath gets exposed to the sun and helps to get it to dry faster.
We tedd some hay and so far this last weeks hay we have not done any tedding because of the strong breezes, and NO HUMIDITY which draws the moisture out of the blades/leaves faster also...

So then you go along and rake the hay into windrows... also they are fluffed up some, and it is better for the baler because it will feed into the chamber with the teeth again picking it up and feeding it in... without heavier rocks and sticks and stuff to some extent...
Raking will also turn the bottom hay "up" to the air and breeze and sun, so if there are any "green spots" or anything... it will also allow some more drying..
When we only rake, like I did last week, there were some "green spots" and it got them up and exposed to the sun and the wind and it helped them to dry out. Tedding is something we do alot of when it is humid out as the hay does not respirate as fast, and the humidity causes it to take longer to dry... same principle as hanging clothes out on a clear, dry, no humidity, breezy sunny day; compared to a humid, hot day with no breeze...the clothes will dry twice as fast in the first case... Think how you sweat and a humid day it does not evaporate on your skin so you feel damp and sticky...and you use a towel to dry it off only to sweat again.... same with the hay... the moisture does not evaporate out of the stems when it is humid...so the tedding gets it fluffed up and exposed more to get more of it in a position to dry more...

Ideally, our hay making was about perfect last week with sun, breeze, no humidity....
Tedding is a great tool.... BUT.... it is also one more trip across the field... takes time, another piece of equipment, fuel for the tractor as well as wear and tear on it... adds to the cost of making the hay. It does allow you to get it made in a shorter window by making it get exposed more to drying... Where laying the hay down and letting it dry for 2-4 days on it's own under perfect conditions .... tedding works the hay so that it will dry in a shorter period of time because it is manually exposed to more air going through it. If we have a 3-4 day window with possible clouds on day 3 and rain on day 4... we can cut and tedd the next day when it has just wilted... and sometimes we have tedded twice... so we can get it raked and baled before the forecast rain coming.
We prefer the no humidity scenario.... even if the hay gets raked and the bottom turned up is a little green, it will dry on its own in a raked windrow also... the air going through the windrow, with no humidity, will just dry it out nicely.

Sorry to write a book...
 
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farmerjan

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Just a note on my less than productive day... I went out in the garden for about 15 minutes... the sun of course came out when I did. I got in 2 different varieties of cantaloupe, and some striped crenshaw "pumpkins" ... also replanted some of the green beans since there were 3 that had already been eaten off at the ground level that just came up... Ground hogs I am pretty sure... or deer... but I will set traps for groundhogs and the netting will have to be gotten up soon.
Looks like the "old" butternut squash seeds are all coming up..... wow....
The tomato plants are getting real dark colored... so I am hoping that means they are starting to put out roots into the soil... I really really need to get on the mulching too. Need to take out some water and soak the salvaged sunflowers.
DS never called me about going up to rake more... and although my stiff neck thanks him, I was sorta left in the dark... He had texted me that he would be back to change the tire and put some hydraulic fluid in the tractor after noon time. I told him that I had to work this afternoon, but would have had time to rake before that....I think I saw him go down the road in the tractor with the mower... but I never heard a thing from him. I ate a sandwich and left for work about 3... had to go down and trade cars since one of mine is at the barn/field where the rake was yesterday when I went and got it. I had the red forester so I could fill the buckets and feed last night... and I needed the outback to go to work. Never heard anything from him after I got off either... :idunno:idunno:idunno:idunno:idunno:hu:hu:hu:hu:hu. Guess I will hear something tomorrow????
By the time I got home there wasn't enough time to go out into the garden, although that is definitely the best time to work on getting these potatoes planted. Maybe tomorrow... I really need to get them done. Did not even work on getting the blades on the tiller either.
Testing went fine, but my back/neck/head all felt it. I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS RIGHT NOW... I need to get the garden in and mulched... :he:he:he:he:th:th:th

Guess there is always tomorrow. Going to bed... maybe I can sleep a little better tonight.
 

farmerjan

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Long day again.... but productive. 69 to start, only up to 76... not very warm overall... Part sun and clouds all day and quite breezy but comfortable out overall... It was nice enough that I was out in a short sleeved shirt all day.
Got on the tractor and finished raking at deb's... he did get the tire changed and then had jim take hydraulic fluid up to it. I thought maybe he had finished raking but he hadn't. He did get all the hay I had raked, baled at least.

So finished raking there and then took tractor and rake about a mile to the fields he had cut on Saturday. With the dry air, even with not hot sun, and the very breezy conditions, they were quite dry. These fields are "free"... and one is not very good grass as they built a house and we did not put down any fertilizer this year since we were not sure if we were going to get it again...... but they do not want to mow all that "lawn".... Plus the house next door, where the people used to live, we had never seen or talked to the new owners, so didn't fertilize it, in case we didn't get to mow it. But DS met the lady this weekend and she said they were not going to move out here full time for about 2 or so years, when they retired, so they were very pleased to have it mowed and made for hay... so we will probably do some fertilizer next week. There is less than 20 % chance of any precip for 7-10 days they say, so not going to do any nitrogen until it looks like rain or it will all just "evaporate"...

Anyway, I did the "lower field" with the 2 houses there... and then went up to the house and acreage above it, and raked that. It is quite a hill, and we mow it "along the hill" since it is very long... but you feel like you can slide off the tractor seat on some of it... DS came as I was making the 2nd trip around... and stopped to talk a little... and I said, you know, I haven't checked the fuel... He looked and it was EMPTY..... I had to go get a 5 gal can of fuel to get the field done... and the angle it was sitting at when we stopped to talk... it was the downhill side of the fuel pump and all... so naturally it sucked air into the injectors... so DS had to bleed the injectors for the fuel pump to "pick up the fuel" and pump it into the injectors. I wouldn't have gotten 20 ft up the hill and would have lost power and the engine would have shut off... so it was good it happened that way. He had left one of the trucks there yesterday I guess... so at least I had the truck to go get a can of fuel and he baled the 2 outside rows while I was gone.

Worked out good. Then I got to raking and he was baling behind me because he was going to bale the lower field that I had already raked, with the smaller round baler. The guy we make hay for, has had to buy hay from us the last couple of years on top of what we custom make of his own hay.... and he only wants the 4x5 bales as his smaller tractor cannot handle the bigger 5+ x 5 bales we make to feed out.

So we got the top field raked and baled, I left as he was finishing up the last row and brought tractor and rake to the fields he cut Sunday.... to probably rake tomorrow. He came and picked me up and took me to the car at Deb's where the tractor and rake had been, and he got the smaller baler and pulled it with the truck to the field to use and I then went and got the red car with the feed in it, and went to feed the calves and all. I did not try to get the ones in since with the baling he would not get done in time to get anyone moved.. Then I went and got the green car (outback) and went and picked up my meters at the farm that had borrowed them as one of my farmers called me and he wants to test since it is supposed to get alot hotter the end of the week and next week. So we settled on testing tomorrow night and Wed morning... he tests 2 milkings. I will go to the farm (they are only 5 miles or so away) and set up in the morning like I usually do, then they can run their wash system and all... I will go rake hay during the day, and then will go back to test them Tues eve. They don't start until 4:30 or so in the evening, and 5:30 in the morning... I should be able to rake with no big deal, during mid day... probably 3-4 hours or so I think. With all I did today, it was about 5 1/2 hours on the tractor.

Nice thing was, it was not hot because there were alot of clouds across the sky. In fact, it got dark and we got about 20 drops while doing the upper field.. but it passed. However, it started to rain a real get you wet shower while I was getting the meters and I was praying he got the lower field done. I talked to him a little later and he said he was going way too fast on that uneven ground but got it all done, as it was sprinkling.... The hay was very dry so it wouldn't hurt it with the little drops, but it would have not been good to have it get "wet". The thing of it is, it rained more the 3 miles south where I was getting the meters, at the farm, than it did at the field... LUCKILY....

And I did manage to get the 2nd row of the same variety of potatoes, planted this evening before dark. I HAVE to get the tiller tines put together though.. there is getting to be too much "green" sprouting up ... I want to till down the rows where I am going to put the stuff... and then smother the inbetween walkways.... the ground is already getting dry too...
The netting is going to have to wait til I can get it mowed again... and that is going to take backseat to the hay this week... plus testing. I need to do the 500 cow herd... it is a morning... and we are both too busy right now to do it. Going to take the trap out there and set it with some fruit to see if it is a groundhog though...

I did see quite a few of the butternut squash seeds have sprouted in the row where I put them.... but it was getting too dark to see much by the time I finished the row of potatoes... the tomatoes still look pitiful, but they are all upright and not wilted and turning dark almost black, green. If I could get them watered once I think it would help. Maybe towards the end of the week I can get a soaker hose or 2 out there for them for a little bit... especially if there is no real chance of rain in sight for a week. Plus, I need to get some cardboard down and that roll of hay I want to go get... and get the ground mulched and conserve the moisture. Part of this is there is so much constant wind. We never used to get wind like this. Yes, it is PERFECT HAY MAKING WEATHER, with no humidity, and the constant breeze... but it is hard on the soil and the plants. So getting the soil covered will really help.
Wish @Baymule could send some of her rain up here... I know she would be happy to have LESS right about now...

Jaw and "empty space" are not as tender... can't hit it with cold liquid... drank some tea earlier and forgot and it was a rude awakening... just wow... so that is overall good.

Time to get a shower and go to bed.
 

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I’ve had several days of sunshine. But got an inch of rain yesterday in a fast moving thunderstorm. I went to Lufkin, it was pouring down when I got there. The storm moved west, by the time I made several stops, rain had moved on. I “followed” it home.

Houston news is saying possible tropical low next week and heavy rains. They love hurricanes, they get everyone all worked up, panic at the gas pumps and grocery stores.
 

farmerjan

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CHILLY 53 this morning... I watched the temp drop last night on the recording thermometer before I went to bed...BRRRR... but it isn't going to last. Forecast if for it to be in the 90's by the end of the week and much more humid...
Scattered odd pop up showers possible but basically nothing much for the next 7+ days...

DS was going down the hill (5 miles) to probably mow all of Dennis's ... 10+ acres of orchard grass, and 3 other fields of mixed pasture grasses... where we used to keep cows until a few years ago when they decided they needed to "plant deer plots".... like really????? Anyway, last year we noticed a difference in the grass since the cows are no longer there over the course of the winter to fertilize the 2 fields that are within what used to be winter pasture.. Yield was lighter... and I definitely expect lighter yield this year too. Oh well...
Then if I am not mistaken, we will have 2 places left to make hay. It will be so nice to be this far ahead this year... Yield is lighter, partly because we are earlier making hay, quality is better because we are getting to them before they have headed out... but also we have not had the spring rain and they are just shorter. Maybe we will get some rain to help them to grow now.

Got to go set up at that farm in just a little bit... They need to be done washing down the parlor before I go in there. Then going to go get on the tractor and start raking at the field where I left the trator and rake at. Guess I need to go get another can of fuel, don't think I will make it on what we put in it yesterday since I raked for an hour at least after we put it in there...

I am going out to look in the garden for a few minutes then get the day going.....won't get any garden time this evening... DS wants me to see if I can get the 2 cows and calves in this afternoon before I go to work...he wants to get the bull in at the pasture where he moved a few cows, and will put the other 2 from the nurse cow pasture..plus a couple more with calves that are at the farm... and then the bull can go in the nurse cow pasture and he is going to move 3 more heifers up there to get bred too I think.

Sun is out and it is already up to 74...
 

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