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Hay, scythe, bailing

 
Posts: 66
Location: moscow ID
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In the inter-mountain west here... hay prices suck (double or more from last year)... tried to get my neighbor to cut and bail for me, he went on vacation. found another guy to cut and bail, but his wife decided to have a baby :) ... but he let me borrow his scythe. My first adventure cutting hay. 1/2 acre done, half bailed, and another 1acre left to cut that hasn't lodged. Fun times.

cutting
laid out to dry
wind rowed with a hand rake
and then an interesting way of bailing... done thunk it up my self. laid two strands of used bailing twine in some plastic trashcans. hand packed in layers and then tied them up. worked pretty well. made it easy to transport out of field. Looking at other options next year. We have about 4 acres that could be well productive hay ground... if I hadn't waited so long in the year.  Still, going to buy a scythe, read through a bunch of former posts, talked with Botan at something scythe revolution...
Lots of fun and I'm losing weight and looking not so pale
Decided to bail it for transport, but then my butt got in motion to get it done when my wife saw a huge Bull Moose eating it (full rack) dont have a pic of that.
Patrick

Hey @Mike Haasl, do I get a BB for this... and for cooking at PDC? and others I'll send you a note. Cheers.
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Patrick Rahilly
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Location: moscow ID
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I suppose I did have a point, a take home message...
don't count on neighbors or friends to be able to do your work for you (even if offered $$$ to do it). don't count on availability of products even from folks you have long been purchasing from. Buck up. Buy a big scythe and get just stuff done yourself.
With love. happy homesteading!
edit... but always create those special bonds with neighbors and friends and offer a helping hand as much as you can. those relationships are invaluable.
 
pollinator
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Nice job.

I have daydreams about easy ways to bale without fuel, but they never work in real life.

In the end, I ended up with a very similar system, but rectangular built from scrap wood.  The trick was to use truckers hitches to really get the twine tight.

 
pollinator
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I like your bailing method. Clever!
 
Patrick Rahilly
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thanks.
I did see the shiny wood built compression bailer at Paul's Place (wheaton labs).  my oscar the grouch type last minute bailing option (trashcan) was just a "get the job done". I've got a bunch of solid oak pallets kicking around, if anyone has a good design for a portable swing arm bailer, that'd be cool. ... with wheels. If I find some time, I'll probably just build one, designs or not, got the concept.  will see. more grass to cut at the moment, and then it'll be apple/pear harvest. oh...and more projects...always more projects.
Cheers.
P.
 
Patrick Rahilly
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2 things... ok 3
1) I thought it was funny the "cut and bail" because I had two folks bail on me with their fancy machines. I like double entendres
2) I was looking through past posts in the permies forum on how to bale and one from 9 years ago, a chap from scotland having problems with his scythe, and I was thinking to myself, it's just the same stroke as swinging a golf club...
3) my note on "losing weight and looking not so pale" ... buck owens song I've got a tiger by the tail... it is work and getting my "covid 50pounds" off and the sunshine is lovely.
I suppose good jokes don't need a description. but there you go.
HAHA.
Love.
 
Patrick Rahilly
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ok... just came across this.
https://guidetograssandguns.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/russian-style-manual-hay-baler/
...maybe
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I love your descriptions of your farm and your hay baling adventure.  I laughed at your description of Aunt Rona!  
I would love to come help you guys, but I am in Wisconsin, and I have a dog, a cat, some chickens and some ducks.  But I would absolutely love living where you guys are!  I homeschooled my daughter all the way, but now she is in college, and doing very well!!  Yikes, I am an empty-nester!!!  
As for the hay, what about leaving it as stockpile for your livestock in the winter?  You can check out Greg Judy's YouTube channel to find some good descriptions of how he does it!  

I am always interested in talking and figuring out how to help other regenerative land management farmers!!
Have an amazing day!
Brigitte!!
 
Patrick Rahilly
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Thanks Brigitte.
Unfortunately, that system doesn't quite work in our northern clime. we do have quite a mediterranean influenced climate and believe it or not, a bit of a maritime influence up the columbia and snake river gorge, so usually fairly mild even though at 3,000ft. But our hay ground's all low land so snow tends to stick. anything left on the ground or standing just gets buried in snow and become mulch. not a huge snow load, couple feet (enough to ski on :). but enough to rot all left. good concept though.  
always interested in new ideas.
I think I've cut almost 2 acres by now. I'll put up some more pics in the next few days.
and just peen-ed the borrowed scythe freehand.
good times.
Cheers
P.
 
Patrick Rahilly
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Hay almost done...
I think I pulled in about a ton. there's still about 300lbs in the field windrowed, but it started to rain this afternoon. It'll be sunny this next week so I'll go "fluff" it tomorrow and the day after to dry out and feed that out first.
what an adventure. laughing at craziness, but damn it feels good.
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steward
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Patrick Rahilly wrote:Hey @Mike Haasl, do I get a BB for this... and for cooking at PDC? and others I'll send you a note. Cheers.


Hi Patrick, sorry I didn't stumble across your thread until just now.

Yes, that's a couple different BBs you could harvest:

Scythe and bale 1 bale of hay
Scythe and bale 12 bales of hay
Scythe an area >100 square feet

There isn't one for doing an acre or anything cool like that, we're just happy if people give it a shot, which you clearly did.  

Cooking for 8+ people is a BB.   But you have to have done all the cooking and clean-up yourself and have the pics to prove it.  
 
gardener
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Patrick, I think the really important take-away here is that it is quite possible to bale hay without fossil fuel if you keep it "human scale". We need to adjust our brains to thinking this is a "part of life" attitude where things get done in bits over several weeks, rather than a machine doing it all in 3 passes.

We need more examples of that in my area where most of the farms are too small to justify the investment in the equipment, and that "reliance on others" can melt in a heart-beat. There's going to be a serious shortage of hay in this area due to the extended drought, and I expect many people with small flocks/a few horses/a couple of llamas are going to get sticker shock when they try to get hay for them for this winter.
 
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I watched this video and the next one yesterday, and then I see your post today on Permies!

 
Patrick Rahilly
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Ben!
Awesome vid. Thanks. That website I put up as reference earlier in thread has a pretty good how to to build one of those balers but nice to see in in action!
Cheers
 
Patrick Rahilly
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Jay Angler wrote:Patrick, I think the really important take-away here is that it is quite possible to bale hay without fossil fuel if you keep it "human scale". We need to adjust our brains to thinking this is a "part of life" attitude where things get done in bits over several weeks, rather than a machine doing it all in 3 passes.

We need more examples of that in my area where most of the farms are too small to justify the investment in the equipment, and that "reliance on others" can melt in a heart-beat. There's going to be a serious shortage of hay in this area due to the extended drought, and I expect many people with small flocks/a few horses/a couple of llamas are going to get sticker shock when they try to get hay for them for this winter.



These are all really good points! And yeah, around here, this year, hays going for $350 to $500 a ton. I’m having to have to get a supplement (not paying nearly those prices) from a friend that usually exports most his hay, but he’s actually trying to import hay to sell locally. Between the fires and drought, things are tight. For the most part, if you don’t already have hay you’re pretty much SOL. Being able to be self sufficient as possible is going to become critical. It’s nice being in an area of the world where some people put their community above soleless profits. Not against profit, but gouging is not cool
P.
 
Jay Angler
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Patrick Rahilly wrote:

It’s nice being in an area of the world where some people put their community above soleless profits. Not against profit, but gouging is not cool

Yes, it's important to make that distinction. We want permies to make money so they stay in business and have enough money to expand within the permaculture sphere and "care of people" includes building and supporting communities. In my opinion, sometimes there is too much focus on "independence" rather than "group dependence". Making sure you neighbors have affordable hay in tough times is a start. Helping those people find alternatives that are more sustainable than importing hay from a distance, like growing Mangelwurzel to supplement hay use and provide much needed diversity would also be a good approach. Getting a team together to build some of those manual bailers like the video shows, would also be an asset. Sometimes it's the little things that have the greatest impact!
 
Patrick Rahilly
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Jay Angler wrote: Getting a team together to build some of those manual bailers like the video shows, would also be an asset. Sometimes it's the little things that have the greatest impact!



You know... there’s a lot of folks around here on the local homesteading FB page,with an acre or two that were offering their grass to be cut and baled to donate to those affected by fires, but no one wanted to deal with it. I think, jay, you’re onto something. Haha. About putting a few of those balers together, and a hand full of young folks; to help build the bale machines, cut etc. could be a fun project and a quite lucrative one for some youngin’s; much better than mowing lawn business :) You’ve put some thoughts in my mind. Not this year, but perhaps the next. Even better, using reclaimed wood to do it. Do-able! Let me get my first one built first.
 
Patrick Rahilly
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And we’re in USDA zone 6, not sure manglewurzel will grow here, but willows and locust, good supplement.
 
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