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Page 7 - Sowing Oats and Hay

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/12/1 (927 reads)

Sowing Oats and Hay New fields of oats and hay are rarely sown by hand anymore. And yet, even in this, there is traditional method to be observed. We had a field that hadn't been plowed in twenty years, and we asked Dan Murdoch Mor? rison to come and sow the oats and hay. The field was plowed with a tractor and then Roddie Hector MacDonald went over it with his horse-drawn spike-toothed harrow. Then Dan Murdoch came. The problem, of course, is how to sow some? thing as fine as hayseed and get it evenly spread. Dan Murdoch's method was to mix the hayseed in with the oats • the oats coming up tall and serving as a kind of nurse crop to the much more delicate hayseed. The oats will be cut in the fall and the hayseed will come into its fullness in the next . spring and summer and be cut the first time that fall. Dan Murdoch figured the field would take about a bag (100 pounds) of oats. To that he added between 3 and 4 pounds of hayseed. First he wet the oats very slightly, mixing the little bit of water throughout the oats. He didn't want the oats to swell and he didn't want the seed to stick together in clumps when thrown • he wanted just enough water to have the oats moist enough for the hayseed to stick to them and, literally, go for the ride. He sprinkled water on the hayseed and knifed it down into the oats with the ends of his fingers. Then he began reaching deep and raising and mixing hand- fuls, scooping it up and stirring, stopping now and then to look at the seed. He did
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