Our Life

“Oilseed” becomes “Haybale”, or…

Hayble - Oilseed July 2008
Haybale - Oilseed Community, July 2008


There I said it.

Many of us “Oilseeders”  have been musing lately about the past (and future) of Oilseed Community. The original order with the cosmic waiter, as I understand it, was for our small community of three houses to demonstrate the feasibility of growing an oilseed crop as an accoutrement to country living rather than another golf course.

And so a crop was planted near the pink cinder-block house, over on the other side of the 83 acres. Matt, Lyle, and Kim (among others I’m sure), planted an acre of canola after tilling the pasture grasses under. Unfortunately, this trial helped support the notion that a single tilling of pasture grasses won’t keep the aggressive ones from coming back and choking out your canola. And so it was….

Then, without really knowing how it might relate to the initial goal set forth, that of coaxing an energy crop out of the red North Carolina clay, Greg contracts with a local hay farmer to come and bale about 75 acres of pasture grass, because as we learned above, that’s what grows well here. Oilseed has a hay crop taken off, dozens of 950 pound bales that provides part of the biomass required to produce beef and milk here in Chatham.

Soybeans - Oilseed August 2009
Soybeans - Oilseed Community, August 2009

And a year passes by. And another hay crop comes ready for baling, and again Oilseed provides biofuel for Chatham cows and goats.  And this is why I’ve been thinking lately that Oilseed should change its name to Haybale. Clearly, growing hay has been a winner for our community – very little work on our part – and tons of hay roll off the line every year.

But now, a newcomer is emerging on the Oilseed scene, pushing its way up in the red clay, liberally amended with Amanda’s worm castings. This year I followed my first wheat crop with a crop of soybeans in two varieties.

So with an oilseed crop coming along this summer, that  puts the current iteration of our community’s name at Hayseed. And I for one, think it fits.

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