I apologize for not keeping up on the farm questions as well as I should but I have been super busy the last few weeks. My cripple mule is still improving but I didn't think I should put her to the mowing machine just yet. As a consequence, I haven't been able to get any hay cut until now, so I'm taking my first and second cutting together. As they say, "It'll beat snowballs." but not by much. I had to scramble to find haying equipment for the tractor and was fortunate to run across a good roll baler from my neighbor. He sold me an 848 new holland that his grandmother had bought for the family 30 years ago. It had been barn kept and was in really good condition. I was able to find a mower in another friends barn, but the jury is still out on it. It's a New Holland 456 trail mower with a 9ft bar. Apparently it's had a hard life and seems like I spend about as much time working on it as I do mowing. I suspect the cutter bar needs rebuilding and someone as rigged the tilt mechanism to the point it doesn't work any longer. That will need to be overhauled as well. Any mouses nest or clumps causes it to choke and it wants to slide out of the grass on a slope. It's a slow go, but it makes me appreciate my mules and the number 9. As my grandpa would say, "It builds character." Of course he would also remind me that "poor people have poor ways." and I reckon I'd be inclined to agree. But, I like the feeling of independence and I keep chipping away at it. Making hay, seemingly foot by foot though, is enough to make a deacon cuss. The deer got the Floriani Red corn and that seems to be an exercise in futility. I resolve next year to be my final attempt and I plan to try a high, electric fence around the field. I ended up running the cattle on the few stalk left standing and the hogs can follow them. The tobacco is in the barn and nearly ready to strip. We had our organic inspection last week and all went well. The neighbor who sold me the baler had two tractors down at the same time and had hay down. I went over and baled for him a couple of days and was able to get his hay up before the rain. Though it's started off to be a dry fall, we got just enough rain to sprout my cover crops and the winter oats and clover are coming on good.