Hay: Plan A, B, C, & D

28 Jun

I have to have hay to feed my animals this winter.  We planted a buffer strip around most of the corn field, we have the waterways, and we want to make hay on one or two of the back hills.  We have this underway, but we have the issue of how to get through the corn field to make the hay.

Plan A

This was our first plan.  It is very simple.  Put a driveway from the gravel road to the start of the buffer strip just north of my yard.    The hay strip is right there.  Good plan.  This would also be a wide enough drive to get the combine into the corn field this fall.

I want to do things properly, so we filled out our application with the county engineer mid-March.  I talked to the engineer in April, and he wasn’t sure we’d be able to do it.  We’re supposed to have 500 feet between drives, and we didn’t.  There was a culvert right next to it.  He’d have to check and see how far down the road was visible, and he’d get back to me.

Finally, this morning I called the engineer back again and they finally came out to check the sight distance after I called.  The sight distance wasn’t the required 500 feet.  You can only see 350 feet.  He did however mark a new location where we could put our driveway.

The red flag is the center of his proposed drive.  Ours was down by the tree line.  We’d just have to take out some of the corn to reach the hay.  Also, we want to mow tomorrow, so Plan A is on hold until next year.  Then we’ll extend the hay strip to reach the driveway.

Plan B

Since we were waiting so long to hear back from the engineer, we came up with an alternate plan.  It is a two-part plan:  one for corn, and one for hay.  To get to the corn, we would go through the existing drive up the road from where we proposed our new drive.

The only problem with this plan is how to get from the drive to the corn field.  That requires us to remove the trailer.

Think the combine will fit otherwise?  Nope, it will go through right where the trailer is sitting to the right of the cedar trees.  The other half of plan B makes us go up to the corner and take a left to the first drive.

This drive goes into the corn field, but it isn’t wide enough for the combine.  We can get everything through to make hay.  The only problem was an entire corn field before we got to the hay.  To solve that problem, we extended the waterway to come all the way up to the drive.

You can see the tracks where I’ve driven through there with the Ranger to go back to the pasture to work on fence or up to the orchard.  This waterway connects with another and the buffer strip connects to it also.  This is a great plan if we hadn’t had nearly ten inches of rain in the last month.  There is no way we could get a full hay rack out this way.  It will probably be August before it’s dry.  This means Plan C.

Plan C

Plan C starts the same way as Plan B.  There is no difference for the corn.  However, to get to the buffer strip, we start by driving in my driveway and going into my barnyard.

Then we open the gate into my little pasture.  Oh, I have to lock the boys in their small pen, so I can keep them and the girls separated.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with the girls.  Maybe I can put a panel back and have them in the little pasture.  Then we open that silver gate and go into the other side of the barnyard.  Something of a tight turn, but hopefully we can make it without getting stuck or sliding on the hill.

The barnyard is still quite rough from where we put the water line in.  Jeremy did come back and fix it up some, but there is still more to improve.  This should be fun with a tractor pulling a hay rack.

Then, we go through the next opening.  Remains of a building and junk on one side.  Remains of a gate and fence on the other.  Looks like we might have to remove some of the junk from where they replaced the fence and stacked the junk.

This part is also very rough.  Just one more turn.  Remove the post in the middle, remove the panel that makes the lane, and we’re in the hay buffer strip!

See all that grass and oats in front of the corn behind the panel.  It’s begging to be cut and made into hay.  For the first time since April, we have six days or so without rain in the forecast.  We have to make hay this week.  Tomorrow, Jeremy is planning on coming out and mowing a small area around the building up north, the buffer strip, as much of the waterways as he can, and part of a back hill, all to be turned into little square bales for my animals.

Plan D

Another year of buying hay instead of making my own.

I’m hoping I can stick with Plan C because I really don’t like Plan D.

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