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That Contraption is a Hay Sweep?

It was here when we bought the place, just like many other pieces of equipment. It is big….and it wasn't until this last week that I was told what it even was! But today, it paid it's rent out in the hay field !!

 

We were eating breakfast the other morning and Kevin had his attention in a local farming paper that is published weekly. He grabbed the IPad and started searching for something, then he said – “look at this!”

It was almost the same looking contraption that we have – and it was hooked to a skid steer and picking up hay bales. Looked like about twelve at a time. Kevin's eyes twinkled as I could see the wheels turning in his head! Now, he just needed to figure out how to mount our big contraption to the skid steer and maybe put it to work.

Away he went, and later in the day, I walked down to the shop to see what he had accomplished. He had not only been inventing a hay-bale picker-upper thingy, but he had a wheel off one rake, guides off the swather, and a belt to something laying on the cement. Four pieces of equipment backed up to the shop in a pie-shaped fashion so he could reach them all with the air hoses and power tools. He had so much going on that I wasn't sure how he even knew what he was doing – but anyone that knows him would agree that he had it all in order. It was time to cut hay and he was in high gear.

Well, I had brought us each an ice cold drink, so I proceeded to relax against the equipment and enjoy the end of a very productive day. Glancing around, I noticed that this big hay equipment had a faded name on it….Meyer Hay Sweep. It looked old, so I grabbed my iPhone and googled the name. Come to find out, a gentleman by the name of Alvin Meyer invented the sweep way back in 1956. And to think it had been in use for all these years!

Didn't take him but a few hours and a couple of modifications and our Bale Sweep was out in the field. It will pick up 12 bales of hay by simply tilting the forks down and sliding them on the rail. Kev made many, many trips with it – our first cutting of hay in that field was twice – almost three times – more than last year. He could keep the skid steer at full throttle and slide the bales into place.

The previous owners of our old homestead must have had a little smirk on their faces up in heaven….. as they watched their old bale sweep out in their fields. I can guarantee you, I don't think anyone in our neighborhood has one of these contraptions!

 

 

 

That Contraption is a Hay Sweep?

It was here when we bought the place, just like many other pieces of equipment. It is big….and it wasn't until this last week that I was told what it even was! But today, it paid it's rent out in the hay field !!

 

We were eating breakfast the other morning and Kevin had his attention in a local farming paper that is published weekly. He grabbed the IPad and started searching for something, then he said – “look at this!”

It was almost the same looking contraption that we have – and it was hooked to a skid steer and picking up hay bales. Looked like about twelve at a time. Kevin's eyes twinkled as I could see the wheels turning in his head! Now, he just needed to figure out how to mount our big contraption to the skid steer and maybe put it to work.

Away he went, and later in the day, I walked down to the shop to see what he had accomplished. He had not only been inventing a hay-bale picker-upper thingy, but he had a wheel off one rake, guides off the swather, and a belt to something laying on the cement. Four pieces of equipment backed up to the shop in a pie-shaped fashion so he could reach them all with the air hoses and power tools. He had so much going on that I wasn't sure how he even knew what he was doing – but anyone that knows him would agree that he had it all in order. It was time to cut hay and he was in high gear.

Well, I had brought us each an ice cold drink, so I proceeded to relax against the equipment and enjoy the end of a very productive day. Glancing around, I noticed that this big hay equipment had a faded name on it….Meyer Hay Sweep. It looked old, so I grabbed my iPhone and googled the name. Come to find out, a gentleman by the name of Alvin Meyer invented the sweep way back in 1956. And to think it had been in use for all these years!

Didn't take him but a few hours and a couple of modifications and our Bale Sweep was out in the field. It will pick up 12 bales of hay by simply tilting the forks down and sliding them on the rail. Kev made many, many trips with it – our first cutting of hay in that field was twice – almost three times – more than last year. He could keep the skid steer at full throttle and slide the bales into place.

The previous owners of our old homestead must have had a little smirk on their faces up in heaven….. as they watched their old bale sweep out in their fields. I can guarantee you, I don't think anyone in our neighborhood has one of these contraptions!

 

 

 

The Best Weeding Tools

There's surely no doubt that the market is flooded with weeding products. One trip down the aisle of any hardware store will score dozens of products to apply. Here at our house, we try to avoid the “quick fix” of the chemical and rather go by some simpler approaches.

 

Our farmstead came with lots of implements when we bought it. The smaller ones were hanging on this old shed – seriously, all these things were hanging here on the day we came here.

 

The building appeared to be a blacksmithing/tool shed, and evidently – it was easier to find “just the right part” from the walls than rummaging through a bunch of shelves. There was a forge and a can of coal, there were old leather belts fashioned into tool holders. Old sardine cans hung as trays. Traps, pitchforks, and sand points for a water well. More than not, I had no idea what a lot of the things were – but there are a few that have become my favorites in the garden!


This old hoe looks ancient and I don't know that you would readily find another like it. (Believe me, if you do see a hoe for sale like this – buy it!) It has a slightly angled blade at the bottom of it that you can slide under a weed and slice it right off! Normally in my garden, a whole slurry of baby weeds seem to pop up, all at once, a week or so after putting in the corn, for example . This hoe is fantastic for slicing the top off the invaders without having to work up the soil again and I am able to work a section of the garden plot quickly and efficiently. You can also turn it on end and open a new row to plant your seeds in. Because it is not the typical “V” shape, the trench doesn't get too deep for many of the smaller variety of seeds in your garden.

 

I found this next gem at an auction last week. So much of my gardening is in a raised bed where soil compaction is at a minimum. By designing your raised beds to be narrow enough to reach 1/2 way across them, you will never find yourself standing inside the bed reaching for that carrot! Soil prep is a snap with this hoe!

 

So before you reach for a bottle of weed killer, take a look around for some simple tools that will protect our environment, your health, and your children's health. Not only are the best weeding tools in your hands, they are your hands!

 

Gardening – for a “Less Stress Life”

No secret around my family …. I am most happy when I am digging in the dirt! So I am very excited to undertake a new project this summer.

In keeping with our old homestead, I hope to make a beautiful garden using our old windmill as the “center piece”. When we moved to the property in 2004, I was totally enamored with this windmill. Didn't matter if it had any water pumping from it or not. For me, it was just what I wanted to look out onto from the bedroom as I arose in the morning. It seems to just stand there, year after year, watching over the old farm.

I have spent hours snapping pictures of the windmill – in the early morning or as the sun sets in the evening. Through winter months and summer. We have some lovely yellow rose bushes planted nearby that were supposedly hand-carried here by the original Scott family. Their blossoms, with the windmill in the background, are amazing,

 

In December, the windmill doubled as our Christmas tree.

 

Now that the holiday season is over, we have spotlights that come on at dusk just to say “hello” in the cool, dark air.

 

So, why not make a garden around something I enjoy so much?

There were numerous old pieces of farm equipment left on the place when we bought it. I guess many people find relics of some sort on a lot of old abandoned farms. One was a Minneapolis-Moline tractor. Kevin figured he could fix it up one day, so this one was spared a trip to the steel recycler. It still has the old “crank” on the front of it!

 

We also kept the old “planter” from the 1920s era.

 

My first order of business was talking Kevin into dragging this heavy old tractor, with the flat front tires, through the field to rest happily by my windmill. His first response was, “Well, I am going to fix that up someday” – to which I promptly replied, “you can have it back when you get ready to do that.” (I lied – I think I am keeping it).

It looked so cute in it's new parking spot, that Kevin suggested moving the planter over next to the tractor.

Next came a birdhouse that had been 'specially made to look like our old barn. I liked that! I will need more birdhouses and lots of flowers. A friend suggested pampas grass, sunflowers, and a couple of pumpkin plants. I have all those plants started and will plant them as the weather warms.

 

 

I have oodles of flowers started in little peat pots to brighten a wood bark walkway to the windmill from the house….or perhaps maybe a “dry river bed” look with stones leading you down the path. At any rate, lots of flowers and lots of cheery birdhouses. These two birdhouses were a special Christmas present from Aspen and Blake, my two grandchildren. They are going in the garden for sure!

 

I probably won't know for sure what it will look like until I actually start digging, but, with the help of a little computer software, this is the look I will be searching for.

Bright, cheerful, inviting. Something to sit on the deck and admire….raise a glass of wine. Cheers!!