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Loophole: Hay

Garth Brown |

After the last few weeks I'm ready for spring. I'm going to sing a little incantation over this photo from balmier times and hope for a warm March. This shows what our hay looks like when it's all put up. This is pretty coarse first-cut hay - really only adequate feed for mature cattle because it's so lignified and full of tough-to-digest fiber that young stock don't grow well on it.

One of the goals of the my year long experiment is to throw into stark relief where it is my food comes from by producing it all myself. In a very real sense I am what I eat and I'm what I eat ate. In other words, I now have elements coursing through my body that were once part of my hay field. Before slaughtering her, I fed hay to the cull cow I've been eating this winter. If I were into PR I could easily spin a long yarn about how incredibly self-sufficient I am - I'm growing all my own food for crying out loud! So if the winter feed for the cows and pigs comes from my land, how is it that I consider it a "loophole"?

I don't own any hay making equipment. I hire a local family that owns massive tractors and haying machinery to mow, rake, bale, and wrap my hay. The grass grows here, but the real work of putting it up for winter is done by custom operators. Since they own really big machines their cost per pound of hay baled is much lower than mine would be if I tried to do it myself with my medium sized tractor. They also can work really fast - they take one day to do what would take me several full days. By outsourcing that piece of work it frees me up to focus on other aspects of the farm like selling meat and building other pasture infrastructure.

Maybe I should extend the hay making principle to the garden and let Garth do all the work. Since I'm part owner of the land I could still "eat only from my land". Ha!

And one housekeeping note - Many people have complemented the quality of the photos we post. I have little or nothing to do with them. Most of the images come from Normandy Alden (my wife) and Alanna Rose (Garth's wife). A few come from the camera of a friend, Amy Gray. I am going to go back through the posts up so far and edit in photo credits, and from here on out I intend to properly attribute photo credit where it is due. If I forget please remind me in the comments.


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