Making Hay
Week of August 20th, 2006 | The weather was sunny and mild.

Julia with her horse.

Julia with her horse.

I knew I had to go outside and take care of the horses. At the moment the breeze of the fan blowing against my face as I sat on the sofa felt so good, I didn't want to move. But then I thought of the horses standing in the baking sun with a temperature of 100 degrees, and I slowly stood up. I had already been for a nice swim at a beach in town, and I knew the horseswould enjoy getting wet as well.

I hopped on the golf cart and drove to the horses' paddock. Today the horses' paddock was far away, but some days I don't need to drive to get there. Every day to every other the horses get a new paddock; that way the grass has time to grow back after the horses have eaten it. Before the horses go in a paddock the cows go in first, and get the nice sweet grass that makes the milk taste so good. Then the heifers come through; they don't need the rich grass because they are not producing milk yet. Then the chickens and horses go through, because sweet grass is not good for horses. The chickens come at this point as well, because there are plenty of cow pies for them to compost and they eat grass too. So continuously the animals rotate through the land. This is a natural way to feed animals, because we can compare it to animals that do it own their own in the wild. In Africa the wild animals do the same rotation.

When I reach the horses, I tie them to the back of the golf cart and drive them back to the barnyard. It's too hot to ride. When we are finally back by the barn I put Tasha and Tex in a small fenced in area where I ride if I'm not going on a trail ride. One by one I take them out and spray them down with a garden hose. Tex just stands there as if there is nothing better in the world at this point. Tasha, on the other hand, makes a fit about running water, but after she feels the cold water running down her hot back she relaxes.

When I have finished hosing them down I bring them back to the pen and they walk into the shed to get some shade.

On hot days like today we always move the cows to a shaded paddock with lots of trees. When they come into the barn to be milked we run two huge fans which the cows happily stand in front of and chew their cuds. When they are waiting to be milked they stand under a huge sprinkler; it basically rains in the barn! As nice is it is that it can rain the barn, it would be just as nice if it could rain on the earth. We are very dry, and need rain to make hay so the cows can have something to eat in the winter.

On days like today, you can't see much of the pigs! They bury themselves deep into the straw where they stay very cool. They have the coolest spot on the farm. The chickens stay in their coop on hot days; some don't even lay one egg because the heat is so stressful. The cows give less milk as well. But as a herd we wipe our brows, and work through these hot times, making the best of what may seem the worst.

Stay cool!
Your Farm Friend,
Julia

Farm Fact: Pigs can't sweat. Pigs have no sweat glands, that is why they roll around in mud to cool off.

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