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It’s hard to believe that in just one day we mowed, raked and baled 188 large round bales of hay, with 160 bales coming from our south field. In short, the first photo on the left turned into the two photos on the right. Look how high the grass is in the first photo! Now it looks like a golf course, so green, so smooth, so beautiful. Thanks to all our help – Fred Bartle mowing and moving bales, Holden & Brad Goulet raking, John Lafayette baling.
Turn out day!!!! Finally, the green stuff on the other side of the fence is accessible. Bob and Joan lead the cattle down a lane to the open field where they will begin the grazing season. As they go through the “gate” to the field, they may casually stroll in, charge in, or even throw in a little kick or jump. Then we just listen for the “rip/tear” of the cattle shearing off the grass to gorge themselves. We wonder whether the cattle appreciate the view of Lake Champlain, as we do.
So what is “bale grazing”? It’s a practice of feeding out bales of hay on the frozen fields where the manure and hay leftovers will be welcome soil amendments in the spring. We do this only when the ground is frozen, to avoid soil compaction. The metal ring around the bale is to prevent the cattle from using it as bedding. January 5 was the start of this winter practice for us here in South Hero.
Calling the cattle to eat the bales of hay.
Our herd eating four bales of hay on our frozen pasture.
The next day, we check up on them.
During the winter bale grazing, we feed on alternate days. But of course, we check up on the cattle daily, as well as making sure their frost-free stock tanks in the hoop barn are working properly.
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While viewing this photo, listen to Kate Eggleston’s song GO TO THE WATER (at https://kateggleston.com/music.html). Enjoy!
What a gift and a joy when grandchildren come to the farm to help. At 14, Cole is a big help — driving us around, refilling the mineral feeder with more salt and kelp, setting up fencing and water tanks. Cole yearns to interact with the cattle. Slowly, he builds their trust and is thrilled when they allow him to touch them. The chickens are more accessible;-)
Vincent commandeered my camera from the world beyond to create this image to his liking.
May grazing… When the grass is fresh and lush and growing like crazy.