We began haying yesterday. And as is customary, “yesterday” when I wrote that sentence was May 28th. Today is June 6th. At this time of the year nothing on the farm (more than usual) stops. My dad barely sleeps and Dave and I have come to call him “the Ironman;” maintaining that his brain should be studied for science. For me, it’s much less dramatic, i.e. I started writing this post and am just getting back to it now.
The first phase of haying on our farm is chopping. Chopping uses a bit of a different set of equipment and has a different feed outcome from straight haying. The timing for chopping is crucial. If it’s rained too much or rained too little, if the fields are too muddy, if the equipment breaks, the cow’s feed and health (and therefore the building blocks for our milk quality) for the entire year are compromised.
And things are not going well so far. The grass is at a nearly perfect stage to set up some incredible feed for the cows and our machinery simply will not cooperate. Murphy’s Law loves nothing more than a farm. It is frustrating and stressful and we all take many deep breath moments. I nearly had a screaming fit in the middle of the field today when the mower refused to cooperate for the fourth day in a row. It’s seriously making me nuts.
And these are the aspects of farming that I see not being as talked about regarding farming. Myself included. It’s far easier for me to post a picture in my Instagram feed (http://instagram.com/tractormom) of a bucolic scene of hayfields or cows grazing or a new baby than to post a photo of me screaming in the middle of the field covered in mud and grass swinging a ratchet and threatening the sky. The latter requires far more explanation.
You know what is always consistent though? Regardless of how many things are going wrong? A cheese sandwich. I’ve been a fan of the cheese sandwich since I started haying at 11 and needed my lunch with me. It’s evolved a good amount since then and is now just the simplest, yet tastiest, most satisfying bite in the midst of a hot and frustrating day. One of the delightful aspects of farming is that despite everything being in flux, nothing consistent, and 98% unpredictable, there is the 2% that never changes. The same fields are mown every season, the cows need always be milked, and that bite of cheese sandwich under the hot summer sun is always satisfying.
2 slices organic bread. (My favorite for quick and easy summer sandwiches is Barowsky’s Organic Oatnut.)
Whole grain mustard (I use Trader Joe’s. It’s not organic, but I cannot for the life of me find a whole grain that is.)
Organic Stoneground Mustard
Half of a ripe avocado
A drizzle of local raw honey
Organic Valley raw milk cheddar
Obviously, this is not rocket science. I’m sure you’ve all made a sandwich. 😉
Bread, smother with one kind of mustard one slice, the other on opposite. Drizzle with honey. Stack avocado, cheese, and lettuce. Pack in reusable (glass) container.
Enjoy in hayfield at your leisure.