Today, I was raking a field that, because of the sunshine and warm winds dried perfectly. We did not make hay, even with the sun shinning, but instead harvested the grass and packed it into a stack to eventually, after it ferments, make cow silage.
The reason farmers say "make hay while the sun shines" is because wet, soppy grass will rot and spoil and will need to be thrown out, which was a waste of effort in the first place. Wet grass, just like when you are mowing your lawn in the rain is difficult to work with.
machinery and when the struggle finally ends at the stack? Well, consider the cows that will need to eat it at a later date. It will look and taste like spoiled lettuce.
Even if you have the sun shining when you cut, as weather goes, it may rain before you collect the grass. To avoid the above unpleasantness, it needs to be aired out. In these instances we will use a hay tedder to fan out the windrows of cut grass and, like laundry strung out on a line, it dries.
However, to pick up this grass it needs to be put back into a windrow and today I raked those into being. Thankfully, not by hand. We have a tractor attachment that does the grunt work I just need to a keep my hands on the wheel and make as straight of a line as I can, across the field.
The rake has two rotating drums which have steel tines and, like your average hand rake, rake the surface of a field pulling the cut grass, from both the left and right sides, into the center. Tines sometimes fall out due to age or snagging something in the field like a rock and a new one needs to be bought and bolted back in...and then we slip a dollar under the rake's tire when it is sleeping. We call it the Tine Fairy.
I really enjoy raking, especially in a nice field (rather square, not too bumpy) because you organize a seemingly chaotic mess and bring it together into neat, straight lines. And if the job turns out good I have just made everyone else's life easier.
Those are all the details. I don't think I left anything out because I raked and raked my brain to make sure--or is that racked?
What happens after we pick-up the windrows? Click here to find out!