Monday, 2 July 2012

Hay harvest 2012; 5 days of intense work

Stacking hay in the Hotel Wild Flower Meadow

Last week we cut, dried and bailed both of our hay meadows in 5 days of intense work. As you are dependent on good weather for drying the hay it is necessary to cut it when you think there is going to be a period of good weather for drying, with no risk of rain which may spoil the hay. This means there is often a lot of hay to be cut in a short period of time, or put another way a lot of hard work when it is normally very hot. We also have the added inconvenience that many parts of the farm are not accessible with machinery so we have to cut by hand and then rake this hay to areas which are accessible to machines. Cutting by hand takes longer so that’s even more work. There is a local saying ;“La hierba no sabe ni siesta o fiesta” which translates as hay doesn’t know parties or naps and means when its hay time you have just got to get on and do it

Cutting the lower part of the Castañarina meadow with an alum scythe

Cutting in between the rocks in the top part of the Castañarina meadow

The hotel meadow is the smaller meadow we manage for flora and here we cut the hay by hand and once the hay has dried we take the hay from this meadow to the Castañarina for bailing. The Castañarina is the largest part of the farm that we manage specifically for flora and fauna diversity. It is divided into two parts; the lower part which is accessible to machinery where we cut the hay with an alum scythe and the upper part which is rockier, where we have to cut the meadow by hand. Once the grass has been cut it is left to dry and turned a few times and then all the grass from the upper part is racked down to the lower part. 

Racking the grass into long strips

Baled hay

Next the dried grass is raked into long strips ready for the tractor to bale it. Nino from the next village bales our straw. He works about 18 hours a day when straw has to be baled as all the small farmers want their hay baled at the same time, that is when the hay is dry and before any chance of rain. After the hay has all been baled Juanra our neighbor came with his small tractor and helped take all the bales to our stable ready for the winter. It’s a lovely feeling when all the hay is in the stable and the hardest job on the farm has come to an end for another year. 

Bales of hay on their way to the stable and a sigh of relief for another year

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are most of the hay meadows in Picos already cut now? O


Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.