Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Roasted marshmallows and watermelon bubblegum

The first hay crop of the year is done. Hallelujah!

Despite the lack of rain this spring, we had a decent crop of alfalfa to put away. We decided not to chop any haylage since (1) the silo unloader really doesn't care for haylage, (2) we would have a hard time keeping up with the face on an ag bag, and (3) the emergency baleage we made last year worked out so well that we decided to try it again. Along with all those, I have a selfish reason for wanting to make baleage: I would much rather smell baleage than haylage.

Last fall, when we were still feeding haylage from the silo, I had to close the silo room door when the haylage was coming down because the smell made me nauseous.

Then we started feeding the baleage. I was outside doing chores one afternoon and couldn't figure out what smelled so yummy. I sniffed around until I found myself standing in front of a half-bale of baleage leftover from the day's ration. It took a couple more days to put a label on the smell – watermelon bubble gum. Man, I thought, no wonder the cows like it so much. If I were a cow, I think I'd much rather eat baleage than I would haylage. Glen just thinks I'm nuts.

So now we have several rows of watermelon bubble gum waiting to be chewed up by the mixer this winter. And if it ever rains, maybe we'll make more. As it is, the fields are so dry over by the baleage that the wind has coated the bales with dust. When you drive by, it looks like somebody shoved a whole bag of marshmallows onto a stick and roasted them to golden perfection.

Perfection. That's what baleage is – forage preservation perfection.

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