What does it take to give every visitor a hayride to see the pasture? Start with a driver… Our amazing daughter has already given over 200 hayrides this season. In a normal year, we take a big group out in the pasture, stop the tractor and have a Q&A time out in the prairie.
During covid, with only 3-4 families on the wagon at once, she has been driving without stopping throughout the day, sometimes 25 times in one day, in order to get every visitor a ride.
If you’ve had a ride from her, how about a round of applause?
She wishes she could have leisurely chats and answer all your questions about cows! It will have to wait until next year. For all those who have suggested in your feedback that we take our time and talk more, it’s not because we don’t want to, it’s because we want everyone to have a ride.
You also need cows. We’ve had varying numbers of cows over the years, sometimes up to 40. But they need a lot of grass, both summer and winter, and during these dry years, we couldn’t keep them all. So now we only have a handful.
To keep the cows fed in summer, you need a pasture. That requires land with a fence around it. That fence may (or may not) need many hours of building and maintenance each year. Cows tend to gradually push down fences, or deer knock down the wires, or the wires touch the ground and stop conducting electricity.
To keep the cows fed in winter, you need hay. You can buy hay (if it’s available), but since we are surrounded by grass on government land, we make our own. We get a permit from the province to cut the grass in ditches and on the dike system that is just south of us. To do this, we need a tractor, mower, and baler. It takes many hot hours and just the perfect weather to get the right number of bales for the winter. We need about 400 round bales for our cows, sheep, goats and horses.
The tractors, wagons, and equipment for haymaking all require maintenance and fuel, as well. It’s just a normal part of farming. Mr. Farmer doesn’t seem to mind working with machines, and he loves the heat! And each of our kids gets two years of experience pleasing the public with a hayride. It’s a win, win, win situation!