Making hay with the Freese family | Living the Country Life
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Making hay with the Freese family

Betsy Freese and her family spend a good share of the summer making grass and alfalfa hay.
  • Farm in the city

    The Freeses produce small, square bales for their own sheep and goats, and to sell to local farmers. Good quality grass hay can be sold to horse owners. They also make big, round bales, which are preferred by cattle producers. The Freese home was once in the country, but as nearby Indianola, Iowa, has expanded, they find themselves raising livestock and baling hay right on the edge of town.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Cutting alfalfa

    Once the alfalfa is ready, the trick is finding a few consecutive days in the weather forecast without rain. Here, Betsy's husband, Bob, runs a mower through one of the family's fields.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Time to bale

    After the hay has been dried and raked, it's time to bale! Here, Grandpa Freese drives the tractor while Bob and Caroline ride the rack and stack the small, square bales.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Quite a workout

    Here, Caroline works on her muscles by stacking small, square bales on the hayrack.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Labor saver

    If the hay is going to be stored in the Freeses' barn, these handy hay baskets can be used in the field, so no stacking is required. They have a two-tiered hay elevator system -- one elevator runs from the ground to the hayloft, and the other is up inside the loft to help stack the bales high. <P>

    Watch a video of the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26TdxHlav9g" target="new">elevators at work</a>.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Big bales

    Cattle producers prefer large, round bales. Here, a neighboring farmer bales some of the Freeses' hay, which he'll feed over the winter. Since the farmer is doing the baling himself, he'll spend less for the hay, and the Freeses won't have to spend labor and machinery time baling. Everybody wins!

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Moving bales

    Large, round bales must be lifted onto trailers with a big tractor equipped with a hay spear. Then they can be taken off the field and stored. Here, Bob and Grandpa (operating the tractor) load hay so it can be taken to a large storage shed on the family's nearby crop farm.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Do the hay dance!

    When the hay is mowed, raked, baled, and stacked, it's time to celebrate! Caroline can't contain her excitement and busts into a hay dance!

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Enjoying the fruits of their labor

    Here, Warren feeds some of the hay to the family's sheep. Feeding in bale rings like this minimizes waste, since it keeps the animals from walking all over it and lying down on it.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
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