Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hay There....

AT LAST! The weather this week has decided to co-operate! It has been DRY all week (well....up to Wednesday night...), so people have been haying and cutting wheat while they can.

We managed to cut some hay down for a neighbor on Sunday. It was THICK Brome, with a few other goodies mixed in (like Red Clover...).

We knew from the git-go that it would take three to four days to dry, due to how tall, thick and full it was. That's why we had been stymied for so long on getting it cut.

I ended up with several nice flat rows out of the haybine:

Rows


Since it was going to be in the 90's, and even a little BREEZE, I left the hay dry until Tuesday afternoon, when I raked the haybine rows over so the bottom could toast in the sunshine.

By noon on Wednesday, it was ready to bale.

I Hitched up to the baler, and headed north. That's when I hit trouble....

The baler has a "movable" tongue. You pin it to the right for "transport" mode, then move it left for "field" mode. Usually, I have no trouble with moving it either way. THIS time, however, it decided to fight me. I positioned it so I'd be pushing up hill, then blocked the tire with a 4x4 block.

Unfortunately, the baler decided that it would ride over the 4x4....

After going around in circles a couple of times, it decided to stay blocked and gave in. The tongue moved to field mode.

The hay was in single windrows, but still pretty thick, so it was slow going on some of it. I just let the baler "chew" the hay inside, then moved ahead. It was a small field, so it didn't take a LONG time (it always seems like it takes longer then it does, though....).

We weren't able to use the bale basket, because it was such a small field (1.5 to 2 acres), so I dialed the baler down to make the bales small and light. The neighbor helped us load until he had to leave. As it turned out, the bales were nice and "crispy" dry, and easy to work with.

All-in-all we started baling at 1:30 pm, and the hay was in the barn by 4:30.

The man cutting wheat didn't get to the two fields I will bale for straw yet, but he will next week. At least straw is (usually) nicer to work with then hay. We don't know how many straw bales it will yield but, it won't be tons. I'll need about 25 bales for winter - it will be enough for that, and I'll have the rest to sell.

I love baling hay. I am always thankful when it's done - and spend the next 2-3 days in pain - but it is one of my favorite things to do. The loading and unloading of the hay rack is a "back killer", but what has to be done, has to be done...

It always seems that the day you choose to do hay, the weather turns out HOT, HUMID, and NO WIND.

Last year, we were over at Deb's parents house when her dad had some hay down. Naturally, the weather was normal for haying. After baling, we loaded the bales onto a low trailer, and headed for the barn. Her dad uses an Allis-Chalmers Rotobaler, so the bales were small.

(an interesting side note - the original design for the small round baler was drawn up by a man from Seward County, Nebraska - in 1910. He sold the rights to Allis-Chalmers in 1940)

At any rate, when we backed up to his barn, I couldn't believe my eyes!

There, in all it's glory was the most INCREDIBLE thing....

SHADE!

I made the comment to Deb's dad and brother that it was the first time in my life that I had unloaded hay into a barn in the shade. It is usually 102° and nasty hot.

Somewhere along the way, I - sarcastically - made the comment that "it's just not right to load hay in the shade, you have GOT to cut down those trees."

Unfortunately, her dad took it seriously. The trees came down last fall...

Yup. I really enjoy haying. My favorite part is probably raking, them baling, and third, mowing.

Now - if I could only find a couple of nice strong High School boys who would work for food.....

Another side note....
Happy Birthday to my niece, Bonnie! She's living in New Jersey and was born on July 4th!

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