Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Making Hay While The Sun Shines

First of all,
I have to tell you....
I am blessed.
Blessed in more ways than I deserve.

One particular blessing of interest in this post,
is the blessing of wonderful neighbors.

I have never lived in a place, before moving to the farm,
where neighbors were so ready and willing to lend a hand...
whenever needed and for whatever.

People who live in the country are like that.
they just get it.
They get what life is all about.

Case in point....

Last week we received the news that the fellow who used to cut and bale our hay
was no longer interested in the job....too far to travel to do the work, apparently.

That left us with little or no time to find help...
with hay long and thick and in need of cutting.

Becky (Hubbs' sister) and I talked about this issue and decided that we would like to try to
make our own hay this year....with the exception of cutting (as we have no hay-bine.)
A farmer from a local dairy offered to cut our hay and did so on Saturday.

It promptly rained.
And rained.

Sunday we let the hay air dry.

Monday we got to work.
With much gratitude to our neighbor, Barry, for lending us the equipment...
rake, tetter, and baler, wagon, and elevator....

Becky and I set out to do the work ourselves.

The next batch of gratitude goes to our closest neighbor, Jim (who graciously gives me
my one day off each week).
Jim got all of the equipment ready and showed us how to use the tetter and rake.

Then he spent the rest of the day getting the baler greased and ready...
while Becky drove our 1953 Ford "Tin Lizzy"

with the rake attached
 and I drove "Alice",

Barry's 1950-something Allis Chalmers, and "fluffed".
(Have I ever mentioned that I am in love with antique tractors???)

Back and forth over the rows of mown hay...

over and over,

flipping the hay,

raking it together,

so that the sun could dry it.

We actually tried to bale some in the late afternoon, but the hay was still a little damp.
That's Jim driving the baler.

Tuesday morning brought more of the same....raking and "fluffing",
in an attempt to get the hay dried, baled and stowed into the barns
before the predicted thunder storms.

We rained....right when I finished "fluffing."
And although I sound calm now,
I wasn't calm.
I swore.
I cursed the weather.

And an hour later the sun came out again....
so back to fluffing I went.

Weather is the one major wild card in farming.
Weather can make you
or break you.
Weather makes us "farmers" a bit crazy....
and causes us to work like maniacs to accomplish tasks quickly.

If the weather cooperates and the hay is dry, we will get it baled and into the barn
God willing.

Without the graciously offered help of wonderful neighbors,
we would be hayless.
To Barry for loaning us all of the necessary equipment....Thank You!
And thank you Jim, for the hours of preparation, guidance, and patience.

Keep your fingers crossed for us....
that we finish this task today.
We are burnt, bushed and bug bitten....
but it feels great to make our own hay!


  1. We're not farmers, but I grew up in Iowa... TOTAL farm country and remember how farmers would gather together to help other farmers in need. It's just what they do because they've all found themselves between a rock and a hard place at one time or another in life. It's a hard life, but a good one. I'm glad you took the time to learn to do this VERY large task by yourselves.... So proud of you!


  2. I wish I could come help you fluff! You are one hard worker girl. Thank God for good neighbors - we've got them too.

  3. That is indeed a huge job! The weather is always a bugger when it needs to get done! What a fantastic accomplishment for you...I can even see the muscles on your arms for all your hard work at the farm! You go girls...girls! Lucky you...wonderful friends and neighbors!

  4. We've had similar troubles with hay on our 9 acre lot. We currently have 2 cuttings from last year stacked and rotting because the haycutter we used didn't give us any notice as to when it was being baled and thus it was rained on as soon as they finished. Very frustrating! Sounds like though you guys might end up making this work. I've got my fingers crossed for good weather for you.

  5. I hope everything goes the way you want today. We are having sunny and HOT weather. Maybe you will be getting some of that.

  6. Did you ever bring back childhood memories. I loved haying season and driving the tractor. I still have a love for old tractors and dream of owning one someday. I know, I live in town but I could drive it to get the mail at the post office, hee-hee! Thanks for my morning smile with coffee!

  7. Sending warm, dry thoughts your way. I know what you mean. Our person who does our fields wound up drinking too much and never got around to it last year. We have similar plans to yours. We hope to hay in about 2 weeks. Best of luck. Remember, stay off the bottle. ;)

  8. So that's whee all the rain went...we have had much as I love gardening I dislike watering daily and I dislike even more this heat..People say winter is confining..To me, this is worse...I'm glad to see that you had a hat on..I wish I could find one that shaded my mouth as well...Great job with the Hay..I hope it is soon baled and done with...Bet you do too...

  9. What an awesome accomplishment for you and your sister! Helpful neighbors are truly a blessing!

  10. How fun that you got to do it. I grew up driving the tractor for my dad, loved it. Farmers have a chancy life never knowing what the weather is going to do!

  11. Love your "Tin Lizzy"! She is just a year older than our '54 Ford Tractor. Those older tractors are really indestructable and at 60 years still going strong. I will email you a pic. We also rely on a farmer friend neighbor to cut our hay. Love that feeling of a barn full of hay in June all ready for our cold PA winters!
    Heather in PA

  12. Somebody needs a hug ~ goodness what a day, but the joy of having your own hay that you did your little old selves will make you smile every day you open a bale up. Debi

  13. I hope you have good luck to get the hay in. It's always a race with the weather it seems like. My hay is about ready to cut, and we're entering a rainy patch, so who knows when it will get done.

  14. Bev I'm so impressed that you and Becky did all that yourselves...good for you!!! You're right about the weather...we've been in a drought since last winter and the last week or so we've been in the triple digits and the harvest is ready. Late last evening the farmer who owns the fields around us brought in his combine and was cutting well past dark. I saw lightning in the distance so I understood why he was there so late. All we got so far was rumbling and a few drops of rain but now we've got a 30% chance of rain for the next few days. You're right...the weather can make or break you. I'm glad you got all your haying done ...dried and now stored in your building. Time to celebrate! Pats on the back to you and Becky.
    Maura :)


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