Sunday, July 3, 2011

Building a Hay Stack

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh mown pasture grasses...except of course the smell of sheep on pasture. So sweet, so earthy, so ancient. Our ancestors, when they first domesticated animals, then had to learn how to keep them through the winter. The hay stack is a method for keeping hay for feed during the long winter months. Our first attempt is experimental. It's hard to learn an old-fashioned technique simply by reading about it. Like all farming, it's best learned by doing.
Here's how Vanessa did it:
~ First, she cut the field with our mower.
~ Then, she selected a spot close to the edge of the pasture, out of the wind to place the stack.
~ Then, she placed a center pole and tripod poles, with branches coming off them.
~ Next, she placed cut boughs and branches as the base to allow airflow under the stack.
~ Then, with a modified rake, the hay was raked up into long rows.
~ After that, the hay was spun up with a pitchfork and stacked on top of the boughs.
~ The hay stack grew taller and taller around the center pole.
~ Last, she will comb out the hay to allow it to shed water.

Laura rakes the hay into rows

One pitch fork full at at time

Pitching the hay onto the stack

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