Hay Season 2012

It’s that lovely time of strong sun early summer. Things are still green bright with newness. Although we’ve had crazy weather for a few months, it’s very summerlike this week. So much so that the inevitable had to happen.

Carl called me up to announce he had felled the grass on “First Raspberry” and the “Wedding Field” – two of the hay pastures at his farm in Weston, Bush Hill.

I’m on the list to get these calls since he knows I am the only guy who will help him out on this dusty, sweaty, prickly, lovely work. Well, not the only only, but one of the few and the brave. Friday was the right time, as long as things stayed dry, to bring in the hay.

So I showed up in mid-afternoon to get the second tractor going and hitch up the old wagon. Most of the equipment seemed to be running all right. The rake was a little ornery, so we’d bale without windrows. Seemed to work out pretty good. Maybe left a little more hay on the field than usual.

For those to whom this is new, haying is a multi-step process. Cut grass. Let dry. If needed, fluff it up (“ted” it). Then rake – gathering the spread-out cut grass, now dried as hay, into “wind rows.” Bring the baler over to gobble up the wind rows and pack it into bales of hay.

Here we are on First Raspberry – the green swath at the center of the photo is where there used to be quite a good bed of raspberries, which has now been let over to blackberries, fox grape, and a lot of weedy stuff. To the right, the not-yet-baled hay. I’m driving the old Ford, hay wagon attached.

Carl is on the other tractor, the new Ford, the one online poker casino with power steering, in the rear here. The hay smells wonderful. The tractors, nostalgic.

Kevin is the neighbor who comes over when he hears all the clacking and racket. He’s great help. Works for the town doing GIS. Enjoys these workouts. Sometimes his kids come over to watch. One day, we’ll have them bucking bales as well! Nice toss on this one, Kevin, all the way up!

This is a seven-level stacking job. I’m happy with it. Mostly, it’s because the bales were uniform and good density (nice work Carl). The talented bale-stacker may have had something to do with it. I’ve been bringing hay in on this wagon for more than 20 years. Hard to believe. I guess I’ve gotten the hang of it.

Then we putt-putt up the old farm lane toward the barn. Didn’t I say it was lush green out there? And not too hot on this fine day. Didn’t lose a single bale even going over the lumpity-lumps. Nice stackin’, dude!

We sidle up to an improvised “dock” at the horse barn and set the conveyor down, right there next to the wagon. Kevin loaded, I unloaded up above. Carl was lost out in the fields doing laps. He came back later to help stack in the barn.

As it happens, I got so worked up and excited to be stacking, I forgot to take any pictures inside. It’s a bit dark and dusty anyway, so not the best for photos. I’ll try to get some of the finished stack so you can see, for next time. This time of year we should be bringing in hay a couple times a week, as long as there’s good dry weather, three days at a time. This day’s haul was about 160 bales.

The beer tastes great after that!


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