Country Air Conditioning

I have begun to feed hay out to the animals now. There is a little feed left in the fields but they are grazing very low to the ground now. And my fields are very young. There are lots of dried off tops which I have left to shade whatever legume may struggle through from below. This is no time to be topping. Too hot and dry.  My plan had been to feed the animals in the fields until November. Hmm. 

Without rain that is not going to happen. Feeding hay in the summer is like sitting on a thorn.  

We were very naughty yesterday and put the sprinkler on the roof to make some cool pretend rain.  And to test my theory that it would cool the house. 

It watered all the front gardens beautifully and inside the verandah the hot breeze was morphed into a cool breeze as it wafted through the pretend raindrops. 

I turned it off  once the waterbarrels were filled from the gutters. Fun as it was we cannot waste water now. The well is not bottomless and I have heard of a few people running out of water already.  Still it was fun for a few minutes.  

After work Our John went out and cut the alfalfa field.  Much to Big Dogs dismay, it is his favourite field to lie in. 

Now the green hay needs to lay on the stubble and dry for about four days. No rain now please. We are going to be feeding the animals hay for longer than usual this year, due to the lack of growth in the fields, so we need to get this hay into the barn at its highest nutrition level. It is too short, so there will not be a lot, but see how it is already flowering. Once it starts to flower the protein levels are dropping.  It is only two acres of hay, but we do not feed our animals corn so I do not settle until I have two hundred bales of some kind of hay in the barn. We have about 130 bales of hay so far plus I am feeding out already.  So fingers crossed.

Good morning. As I write this morning it is raining to the North but our crickets are still loud and dry and the morning doves are calling out in the dawn dark, so we are safe for the moment.

Have a lovely day.

celi

On this day last year .. I had just returned from an overnight stay in Chicago. Utilitarian to Utopia. I love the grandness of some of the old buildings up in the big city.

66 thoughts

  1. I’m keeping my fingers crossed too Celi that all goes well and the hay is neatly stacked in the barn at week’s end. And what a creative way to enjoy a brief rain shower, water the plants and collect water in the rain barrels! I was looking for a picture of you, Our John and the Tall Teenager all dancing below the sprinkler though!!! XO

  2. That hammock looks like it could have been a hotly contested seat 🙂 Hope it was yours! Go make hay while the sun shines. Laura

  3. You were able to last longer on pasture than my two uncles in North Arkansas. They’ve been haying for a month now, and took some of the cattle to market early…
    I employed the Air Conditioner trick last Friday while I weeded…plants (in the beds without soaker hoses) got a good drink, and the heat was tolerable until almost 1!
    Good luck with the hay!

  4. The best of luck to you during your struggle with the water situation. I read your posts with bated breath. I hope that you have rain when you need it, and none when you don’t…but we’ll all see what Mother Nature has in store. In the meantime, seems that there’s a lot of love at your place, holding man and beast together.

  5. I wonder if you could install misters around the porches? It would do the same thing and they use much less water. We’ve had perfect weather here…in the mid 80’s. Once it hits the 90’s it’s much too hot. How scary that a well could run out of water! What then?

    Hope you stay cool today! ~ April

  6. My parents always put a sprinkler on the roof to cool down the house when the weather was extremely hot. We had a well also, and it would start spilling sand through the taps when the aquifers were too low. I’m glad that my mum doesn’t have to worry about such things now that she’s moved into assisted living accommodation. She doesn’t even have to cook anymore!

    We had rain this morning but it’s been dry for a few hours now. Time to hang a few shirts on the line to dry I think.

    Good morning to you all, and best wishes for a happy and calm day. xx

    • I have become worried with the amount of dirt coming up through the taps, it is even getting into the bath, there is nothigng we can do but cut down even further on water consumption. to start buying water from town would be outrageous! This week we do not want rain, by next week we will be begging for rain.. c

  7. Hay season already – I was at a farm in Rhode Island last weekend, and they were starting to dry hay as well. It’s a bit cooler here this morning, but who knows with this weather!

  8. We used to hose down our stucco house early in the morning on hot days to get the evaporative cooling, as well as to close and cover all windows. When the temperature dropped or a breeze came up we’d throw all the windows open for cross-drafts. After many droughts we gave up the house-cooling practice, but our thick lathe and plaster walls keep the house cool on most days.

  9. Clever idea with the water and none wasted either! some people here in the glen too have been without water after their springs have failed. No rain in Scotland? it’s what we’re famous for!!!!
    Christine

  10. Minnesota is one of the few states which has had adequate rainfall, although not in all regions. Some hay brokers can’t meet the demand for hay coming in from other states. I remember when my father had to buy boxcars of hay from Montana in 1976 to feed his dairy and beef cattle due to a drought in Minnesota. His very livelihood depended on keeping his animals alive to provide an income for his family.

  11. I was talking to my neighbour, Patrick the dairy farmer, this morning before photographing his old tractor from yet another angle at his father’s request. I was asking him how much hay each beast might eat in the winter – the answers are irrelevant as you know the answers. The upshot was the talk of the rise in cost of grain due to the dry weather in America and Russia which your post bears out. I can’t believe how light you make of such a tough situation. Respect:)

    • yes i know the answer and we are still counting. Soon we will start to cut down on the stock numbers and graze them in the freezer!! It is likely to get tougher..But we have chosen to live without a canopy, so we have to roll with the weather punches. i am planning for a hard winter.. or at least a lean one.. c

  12. I love the sprinkler on the roof pretend rain. ( it did cool the porch for a bit).
    Last year here was tough for herds because of the fires destroying pastures – and drought this year will run up cost of hay once again – it’s so early to be needing it.
    They cut a nice batch of hay earlier in the NASA compound – and they do bale some along roads and at airports in across the state. Hope the rain holds until after you get yours in…and then showers welcomed.
    I always enjoy the dovie calls – sound like they are trying to sooth the world

  13. The doves are lovely, maybe i will put a wee bit of seed out for them.. though i don;t think theya re short of grass seed this year, everything has gone to seed.. c

  14. ugh…as much as you need rain i sure hope it holds off for you. what a neat idea to put the sprinkler on the roof. my roof is way too high to do that but it sure would be fun.

  15. when my real mother was alive and living in Arizona. they didn’t have central air like we do here. there was a filtering system wrapping itself totally around her home, and through the pipings was water. the water system kept the home as cool or cooler than our central airs……….

  16. Ah, I hope the rain will hold off until you can get your hay baled and stored. This drought and heat is not for the faint hearted this year…but I do love the idea of the sprinkler on the roof, what fun! An amazing shot of the detail architectural work on that building in Chicago last year. For some reason it reminds me of Ayn Rand. Hope your day is a good one!

  17. When I lived in the south, I can remember reading an article on keeping the house cool in the olden days – I believe that people hung wet sheets around their balconies and it worked. I’m not sure how much cooler it was though 😉

  18. I read your post. I read the comments from your dear friends. It is of grave concern. My goodness you have a lot on your plate Celi. We are thinking of you and all the sweet animals on the Farmy. Virginia

  19. I can remember my mother-in-law cooling down her house with the sprinkler on the roof…I hadn’t thought of that in years and it just brought back a very happy time in our lives. We lived on the same property when we were first married. I am always very interested in your discussion of the relationship between the dry weather, hay, feeding the animals…and the balance between all three! It’s an amazing science, and I appreciate being reminded of how delicate that balance can be! I have been thinking of your bees, and hoping they are doing well with this prolonged heat! oxo Debra

    • The bees seem to be doing fine, i don’t like to break in too often as they have it pretty sealed up to keep the heat out, but hopefully later this week i will see if there is any honey for me.. c

  20. Our second cutting of hay was a loss…it rained every day it was down. I hope you get rain in a week or so…to lose hay now is not good.

    Third cutting of hay will be in about four weeks, we will do hay and then start on harvesting our pinto beans. Summer is fast moving to an end. With all the heat the idea of fall is nice. But being stocked and ready for winter summer seems to be moving way too fast.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

    • Hmm, cross fingers.. I have only just started stocking food away, lets hope the end of summer is not too soon. We are already pushing it cutting this field a second time so fingers crossed. c

    • As John keeps saying.. it will rain eventually.. I wold not like to be farming in your part of the world.. a drought here is nothing like a drought over there.. c

  21. How quickly the weather changes by you, we are lucky in NZ without any extremes of temp. I love your homemade rain shower!

  22. It must have been a treat to have that pretend rain for a short while. Do hope you get the hay safely in. You will have to do a sun dance (no rain dances for a week). It looks so green and healthy. Here we are drenched in rain, buffeted by wind and nipped by cold.

  23. This reads like a Steinbeck – though not so grim, of course. Mid Western farmers have been farming now for – what – a century or so? Your work is incredibly impressive, Celi: and it leads me to go back and read about farmers in your part of the world. If they ever had time to write, that is…I wish you rain.

  24. Love the idea of this! For some reason I am really struggling to connect to your blog in particular so apologies for not commenting much (and then the other comment I left seems to have been on a post for last year – strange things are a happening!)l Anyway, good to be reconnected, if only tenuously 🙂

  25. This summer whenever we get a thunderstorm it splits in two before it gets here, delivering scant to no rain, so we’ve been irrigating. One of our three wells has started to suck air. It is the most shallow one and does this every year, but this on top of reading about your water shortage (worse than our region’s) reminds me how dependant we are on water, and how easily we take it for granted. I am sending good thoughts your way for no rain until the hay is in, and then a nice, gentle all-day soaker.

    • I know what you mean, we watch clouds come all the way to the boundary, do a three point turn and zoom off in the other direction.. unless of course you have cut hay!! c

  26. Weather, it’s always topica,l and here in the city we use it to make conversations in lifts, complain if it’s too hot or too wet outside our airconditioned bubbles, but in your world, it’s critical & immediate. I hope you get a break – you have a lot of mouths to feed. Oh, BTW I read last year’s post… I now have a loop of “Carwash” & “Brick in the Wall” running in a loop through my head – thanks 😉

  27. OMG, reading this somewhat late as ‘local lfe’ has to be lived, can’t believe I’ll be planting spring seeds and annuals after another 4-5 windy weeks here!!! Inexperienced as to country living au naturel that I am, your natural ground feed looks nowhere a bad as what we get in dry seasons here in Oz!

    • No.. we really do not have anything to moan about, except that we are not set up for long periods with no water, also my fields have just been sown so i cannot let the animals crop them too hard, I do not want to be resowing again next year.. one paddock is definitely a goner tho..I just don’t look at it anymore! c

  28. Zia’s area of Michigan got some much-needed rain and the fields I saw didn’t look as bad as I’d feared they would. Then again, zipping past at 70 mph doesn’t give one a precise look, either. Well, I hope the rain will hold off for a few more days for you, Celi. After you get your hay bailed and stored, let the rains come if, for no other reason, than to fill your rain barrels and well.
    The year after Mom passed, that area got running water. Prior to that, everyone had a well and the water usage was closely watched. August & September are relatively dry months in that area and many years their wells ran dry by the end of August. The “water man” was called and he’d fill the wells. Mom’s well was the worst, so, the man would fill hers and the remainder would be used to top off Zia’s well. Mind you, the well water wasn’t fit for drinking. They had to fill gallon jugs with water at a nearby city’s water works for drinking water. That was a fun car ride!

    • It’s interesting to read your memories John.
      In our area there is no running water, we have enough storage for four months without rain…after a decade of drought we have had to become much more frugal with our water usage………..e

      • We are so much better off than we could be. John has been saying that the droughts of the 80’s were so much worse than this around here.. we are actually doing better than most! c

  29. It must break your heart to have to feed hay already. Fingers crossed that you get a second flush of growth. Our week-long summer has gone walkabout again, and the laundry is hanging in the garage!

  30. Oh no!! I’m reading your posts in reverse to catch up.. I see now that the rain was unwanted.. oh dear. Now I will pray for drier days ahead. Did the sprinkler on the roof help cool the house?? I remember being in a restaurant with a mister all around that would have had the same breezy effect.. but without the added benefit of catching the water in barrels. Great invention c!! xx Smidge

  31. “…our crickets are still loud and dry and the morning doves are calling out in the dawn dark…” Thanks for these harbingers of weather – LOVE this kind of info -I shall add them to my collection.
    BTW, your Alfalfa is beautiful! (Our second cut here is only a pitiful few inches tall and very thin):

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