Yesterday was hay day around here.
That’s when Farmer Rudy, the fellow who tends to our hay field, shows up to mow down the hay. The sight of a newly mown hay field is wonderful. And the SMELL is absolutely glorious.
Farmer Rudy is a local good ole boy, who owns a nearby farm and raises cows. He is probably in his sixties and yesterday, while managing a GREAT BIG wad a chewing tobacco, told us about the orchard grass blight and how his plan to let the field go to seed was working.
It’s all fine with us. For the most part, we worry about the hay because of 1) aesthetics and 2) the agricultural tax credit. Because of the tax credit we only pay a pittance on a good portion of the property.
Here is Maryland there’s a point system for maintaining your ag tax credit. We have to get five points. I’m probably not getting it all absolutely right, but the point system goes something like this.
-A point for each acre that is farmed
-A point for each cow or horse.
-A point for three sheep
-A point for 20 chickens
You can mix and match your points. So you can farm three acres and have two horses. Or you can have forty chickens and three cows.
For a while I toyed with the idea of raising chickens to help out with the points. I read books about chickens and visited the Calvert County Fair, where I ALWAYS enjoy the chicken barn the best. But frankly, 20 chickens is WAY too many chickens for our little family of three. I’m not about to open a roadside stand to sell eggs. And although Harry and Ben would probably enjoy the chickens at first, I can guarantee that they wouldn’t like them once they had to pitch in with the feeding and cleaning while I traveled for work.
So we figure that farming five acres of hay is easiest, at least as long as Farmer Rudy’s around.
We do worry about Farmer Rudy’s health, as he’s in his sixties, has diabetes, melanoma and COPD (lung disease). As he explained yesterday, farming is “fun,” but the hazards of the sun and the chemical and diesel fume exposure will eventually kill a farmer.
Today, Farmer Rudy is supposed to be back to bale the hay. Actually, he rolls rolls the hay into these uber-bales that sit at the edge of our woods until his cows need them.
I’m thinking of painting cheery and silly faces on them to greet us when we go up and down the driveway. I wonder what Farmer Rudy would think about that?