Spring and summer come and go quickly when farming—the season’s first calves are dropped, breeding is in full swing, routine vaccinations are undergo, and all of a sudden you are knee deep in hay.
While the second portion of my internship with Valley Valor Farm still revolved around cattle, this time my hours were focused on sustaining herd health through the future winter months—and yes, I’m talking hay. I never truly realized how much it rained until my schedule revolved solely around the weather. Working from daylight to dark on the pretty days and crossing my fingers the hay could be mowed, dried, raked, baled, and hauled before mother nature decides its time for a shower.
Hay season has taught me three valuable lessons. One, never trust a weatherman (sorry not sorry). Two, have allergy pills on deck at all times. And three, always be prepared to break down because it happens A LOT. Whether it is slipping a belt, getting a flat, or clogging off your equipment be prepared to cuss and fix it. While hay season can be unexciting and frustrating, it is also strangely peaceful.
Being able to physically see all the work accomplished within a few days and knowing that there’s feed for winter is weirdly comforting. Long hot sweaty itchy hay days are not for everyone, but they are for people stubborn enough to farm and love it.
Autumn Meade, 2020 FARM Intern
Valor Valley Farm, Pounding Mill, VA