harrowing experience

It’s happens every year…during THAT particular time of year… okay, maybe a little early this year.. but generally it happens at the time of year when the ground is drying up and the fields or pastures are in need of being tidied up. Especially where the cattle were fed and maintained over the winter months.

What is ‘harrowing’? Online definitions state to ‘pillage and plunder’, frightening or disturbing. Well, maybe… but in our case it is more closely linked to ‘disturbing’ as to use a piece of equipment that has tines or hooks that sort of looks like a large chain link fence that is pulled behind the tractor across the field. All the bits of hay and manure need to be busted up and worked about the field otherwise those spots with the most concentration would have a difficult time of recovering…. the grasses would be shaded or covered by all that stuff and would either not grow or grow a little more slowly. It also breaks up the frost heave, crust and the dead layers of grasses. We also use it in our irrigation ditch to break up the frost heave, rip out dead grasses and reset the fines and bentonite so that when the water runs the little tiny grains of dirt and bentonite will settle back into the pores created by drying and heaving of the soil.

The ol’ John Deere B drags the harrow back & forth across the fields, breaking up the clods of manure and distributing the bits and the old hay all around about as evenly as can be done. The birds, insects and all the microscopic creatures will work their magic. Wouldn’t it be a blessing to get some rain now? So far it has been a dry spring.

The sections of harrow blankets are linked up and attached to a drag bar that will be towed behind the 1949 John Deere B. This tractor has a historic connection to this farm. It was originally purchased for and put in service on this property, moved to a family members home when the parents passed away and is now back on the ranch doing what it was designed to do. Work.

Soon the temperatures will warm up, the grasses will pop and with it all will be nesting birds like the killdeer, curlews, mallards or sandhill cranes. That is the main reason to harrow now and not wait too long. These birds are beneficial to the health of the pastures, too. Sometimes the paths taken end up being a detour around a nest. Like the killdeer who decided she was ready to nest in the field. And she was so kind to let Mr. H know she had a nest near his activity, flailing about feigning severe injury. He looked for her on the next pass and then seen where she was nesting. The white markings gave her away. She will hopefully have offspring this year if the coyotes or magpies don’t steal her eggs.

But the pastures look much nicer. Pray for rain!

Until next time…..

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