Monday, June 01, 2009

Hay Day 2009

Friday night, after work, we decided to drive to the Gorge power station at Newhalem. There is a waterfall behind the powerhouse (reached by a sturdy new footbridge) called Ladder Creek Falls that is supposed to be backlit by colored lights after dark, and also a really strange rock garden full of water features. Unfortunately the lights weren't operating when we got there, and the garden is being rehabbed. It was still fun to poke around the tiny company town and the interpretive "Trail of the Cedars" as night fell.

Here's one of the old water features, not running, but still funky. Some kind of miniature waterwheel/mill that looks like a gnome hut.

In the background is a remnant of an old cedar tree with a cave-like area in the stump. The hanging moss & vine maples lended a spooky feel to our walk. The trail has all kinds of interpretive signs, but sadly describes a much wetter forest than is the case today.

Right beside the highway through Newhalem is this impressively restored locomotive engine. It was used in the 20's to bring supplies and workers up from the Skagit Valley during construction of the dam & power station. Newhalem is one of the country's last true company towns, with a lot of history and fun things to do and learn, including a boat ride up Ross Lake, tour of Diablo dam & chicken dinner!

Saturday was all about getting our hay in for the year. This place is only a few miles from us and the owners took advantage of the lovely weather to make hay. Here it is, freshly mowed and drying in the sun.
The big tractor-looking thing to the left is the mower, and the green and orange machinery that looks a bit like mechanical spiders are hay tedders. They are attatched to a tractor, and spin through the downed hay, turning and fluffing it to get it thoroughly dry before baling.

And all the nice little bales in the field, as we headed in to pick them up.

The trailer can take 25 bales with ease, more if we stacked it crazy-high. Since we really liked the quality of this hay, we decided to get 95 bales, which meant 4 trips. Each bale was around 50lbs. so after the first couple trips, the sun felt hotter and the bales felt heavier.....

But we persevered, knowing a few hours work would mean good food for cows & pony until next season. Here we are, toasting the hay castle we built in the garage. We still might pick up more hay later in the season, but this is like money in the bank as far as livestock are concerned.
Another weekend chore was a hive check. They still aren't ready for the honey super, but you can see the queen busily inspecting new cells to lay eggs in.

A well-earned dinner...chicken grilled over applewood, with Stew hopefully hovering in the background.
And below is a movie of the busy busy hive. Even with Mark yiping and a neighbor's car in the background, you can still hear the buzz of all those bees coming & going.

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