Hay Y’all

This morning I’m going to roll a giant round bale of hay out of the bed of my truck and onto our primary pasture.  It will be the first time I’ve ever put out a round bale.

We used up a lot of hay during our polararcticvortexfreezeblasts and I’ve been worried that we might not have enough to make it till spring.  This big roll should last awhile, and if I roll it out all the goats should be able to eat, rather than just the bullies who dominate the square bales.  If all goes as well as I hope it might be the beginning of a new hay paradigm around here, as we transition away from making our own hay.  That would be nice.

In other news, it was over 60 here yesterday (after having been near zero a couple of days ago).  I was very happy to see our bees out and buzzing around the hive.  I thought for sure they were goners.


Our goat Sharona had triplets a few weeks back.  Barbie had a single. Somehow Barbie ended up taking over the mothering of one of Sharona’s kids. Sharona raised three through the winter last year, but this year I’m sure she’s happy to have Barbie share the load.  I don’t recall a kid ever switching mamas like that before.

Barbie and her kids.  The one on the left is adopted.

Barbie and her kids. The one on the left is adopted.

Finally, on Thursday evening I pushed the send button and sent my thesis off to my advisor and reader.  There have been plenty of times over the last year when it seemed like such a mountain to climb that I wasn’t sure it would get done.  I still have to format all the cites and footnotes and prepare a bibliography–tedious and time-consuming tasks–but those are just details and I have until May to get them done. Sometime between now and then I’ll have to defend the thesis, but I’m feeling pretty confident that the substantive work is nearly over.

And just in time for the farm work to come roaring back.

13 comments on “Hay Y’all

  1. Bill, I’ve not had any experience with goats. I do know that cows will accept the calf of another cow but it is a human intervention switch. I’ve never seen a switch on their own. I guess it takes a village to raise a goat. :-).

    I’m glad to hear the hard part of the thesis is over. What will you do with all that academia knowledge? The two year degree in electrical technology that I achieved at a major college in Iowa helped me get started with a 41 year career that I absolutely enjoyed. It was the best thing my parents ever did for me. It’s quite a God thing how I ended up with the career. I was just looking for $15 dollars a week more when I started the job but God knew the plan all along. It’s an amazing thing how God takes care of us even when we don’t know it. It was an intense study for two years. Twenty one credit hours every trimester. After two years of that, my brain was fried.

    Have a great homestead day.


    • Bill says:

      This degree is just a bucket list thing for me. I’ve often thought I’d be a lot better off if I just had back all the money I’ll have paid to earn it. But it feels good to have the final project substantially complete.

      It’s great that your degree launched you on a happy and successful career. My son is struggling to get a good start right now, in part because his history degree isn’t opening any doors in IT departments.

      21 hours per term. That’s just crazy. Shows a lot of determination that you pulled that off.


  2. Bob Braxton says:

    Our (couple) trip to Kenya starts this afternoon (Monday) so should not be hearing from me next until after 1st March.


  3. Farmgirl says:

    Wonderful to see that everything is “buzzing” along well on your farm. These temps have made me worried about the animals and I will be happy to see Spring arrive. Congratulations on your thesis. What an accomplishment!


    • Bill says:

      Thanks. It was a great relief to see that the bees are alive. I was pretty sure they’d died in the freezes. I went out today and bought some food for them and will put it in the hive the next time it gets over 50. Maybe we’ll have some honey next year after all. But we still have a ways to go…


  4. Jeff says:

    It’s been quite a few years since I was in college, but I remember using Nota Bene when writing papers. It was a bit of overkill for the short papers I was writing but for your thesis, it might be worthwhile checking out. Of course, the learning curve for the program might take as much time as what you’ll spend accomplishing the task with the software you’re using. And then, there’s the cost of the software. Just a thought. There may be cheaper alternatives.


    • Bill says:

      Thanks Jeff. The frustrating thing is that had I kept notes correctly as I did the draft it would be a breeze to finish it up. But I didn’t do a thorough and accurate bibliography as I wrote it and now I have to go back and recheck nearly every cite.

      I might invest in that software if I had more of these to write, but I can’t justify it just to finish this one last paper.


  5. shoreacres says:

    First, congrats on the progress on the thesis. After reading Jeff’s comment, I realized I never have written an academic paper with a computer. Back in the day, I was cranking them out with an IBM Selectric. What format do they want you to use for your notes, bibio and such? MLA? Chicago?

    Round bales seem to predominate around here. I had a Chicago born-and-bred aunt who once stunned my mother on a trip through the country with her assertion that round bales are what you get if you let Shredded Wheat biscuits grow. She truly believed it. My dad was with her when she met her first cow. He and his brother used to drag her around to county fairs and such, just for the entertainment value.


    • Bill says:

      I have to do it all in Chicago Manual style. It’ll get done, however slowly.

      I learned to do research papers using 3×5 notecards, then writing it all out, then banging it out on a typewriter. Even as a broke college student on one or two occasions I hired someone to type the paper for me. Now with word processors it’s so easy compared to then. Still, I was spoiled by 26 years with a secretary.

      When I left home for school round bales didn’t exist. I grew up doing square bales and when I bought our equipment I bought a square baler. I’ve come to understand the attraction of the round bales.


  6. El Guapo says:

    Sounds like you timed all your projects well!


  7. Congrats on the thesis. I love that feeling of being able to check a major project off of the list, but the sense of accomplishment that must come along with something of this stature must be priceless.
    Speaking of priceless, those kids are so darn cute! And glad your bees are alive and well – at this point, every little bee counts.


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