The sky is bright blue with big white fluffy clouds floating by. The wind is blowing through the leaves, the wind chime is "chiming", and the birds are singing. It is another beautiful day on our farm. Today, dad mowed off the last two fields to get baled. (Actually, once those fields are baled all the first cutting is done but when the grass gets taller we will cut and bale it again.) So, as long as it doesn't rain we will be doing hay tomorrow and Friday.
Derek and I worked on clearing out one of the cow paths today. I got the fun job of driving the skid steer and 4-wheeler to haul out the brush. Derek used the chainsaw to cut down branches and would hook everything up for me to pull out. It was actually kind of fun to do. It was the first time I had ever driven a skid steer and I just about had a heart attack! It was like riding a rollercoaster on a see-saw and you don't know how the ride is going to end. It was fun and terrifying at the same time. Would I do it again? TOTALLY! :)
In my last post, I talked about what I was expecting all of us hay help to feel like by the time we were done yesterday. Well, I was right on all counts... plus one. It felt so good to get cleaned up. It is amazing how much dust, dirt and hay can collect on one person!
We did 7ish loads of hay yesterday which totaled about 1,100 bales. We started at 1:15 and finished at 5:45. It was a looooonnnnggg day. It went well though-- there were no break downs, no one got sick from the heat, and barn chores all went well. Our day ended with a delicious supper of meatloaf, sinful potatoes (they are super cheesy), green beans, pudding cake and ice cream. After we ate, all of us "kids" stretched out on the sofas and did nothing until bed time. :) We were tired! The good thing is... now we only have about 11,000 more bales of hay to go!
It is hot and sunny with a slight breeze… perfect weather for doing hay. Dad mowed on Tuesday for us to do hay either yesterday or today. Well, yesterday it rained so we couldn't do it then. So, today is the day. It is supposed to get super hot today (90+degrees), and when we do hay, it always ends up at being the hottest time of the day. So, that means in 90 degree weather (+humidity), we are all wearing jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and some even wear gloves and hats, and are working fast and hard for hours on end. The good part is that after every wagon is unloaded, dad has to go get another one, so about every 25 min we get about a 5-7 min break. We all drink lots of water, and rest in the shade, or we ride out in the wagon and cool off a little by the breeze. By the end of the day, we will be hot, (probably sun burnt), sweaty, smelly, sore and VERY dirty. The good thing is that we will all sleep really well tonight!
Well, actually, this probably wasn't too much of a surprise to the rest of my family, or to any of the farmers in the area... but it sure was to me. I haven't been home to help with haying in quite a few years and I was thinking that it started in mid-July and went to the end of August. When I found out that Ryan had mowed hay on Tuesday and Wednesday to be baled today, I was shocked. Maybe you are wondering “What is she talking about?! What is “haying”?!” Well, let me tell you…haying is a multi-step process. First, the hay is mowed (the mower lays it out into rows), then it is raked (the rows are fluffed up) and then it is baled (a “baler” makes it into small rectangle bales and then kicks it up into the wagon). When the wagon is full it is brought to the barn where the bales are unloaded onto an elevator which goes to a conveyor which is then dumped into the barn to be stacked in nice, tight rows.
As I was saying, today was the first day we started haying. I actually had to work at my other job, so I didn't help but I was reminded of how dirty and tiring it can be when I came home and saw all the "hay help" (my dad, mom, brothers, and two of our friends). They were covered in hay dust, talking about how many splinters they got, and a few of them complained about sore muscles. The question is... do we do this willingly? The answer is... yes. It is a necessary part of farming and one that is rewarding (in its own way). The animals need to eat in the winter, and by storing up hay... we have something else to feed them besides just silage. It also helps insulate the barn when it is cold outside.
It gives us (or at least me) a sense of pride knowing that we worked hard, we are sore, we are tired, but we got a lot done. Now... hopefully, I maintain this positive feeling after we have done it for days in 90 degree weather. :) My mom has figured out that ice cream sandwiches and soda's can be great encouragers/refreshers when we are all tired out. So, yes, it is hard, dirty work, and no, we don't all just LOVE to hay, but, yes we do it (without much complaining) because it is part of living on a farm. It is part of our life.
The haylage silo is now full again! Dad and Ryan finished chopping this afternoon. It is nice to check one big thing off the "to do" list for this spring/summer.
We were all super busy today. Mom had a lot of running around to do again, Jennilea had to go to work, and she also had a job interview, and Derek and I were busy mowing the lawn, mulching, weed-eating, cleaning the garage, and more. We got a lot accomplished today, but I for one, am ready for a Sunday! Not only do we go to church on Sunday, but it is also our "day of rest". We only do the absolute necessary barn chores, which means that the rest of the afternoon and evening is devoted to doing "lazy things" such as reading, watching movies, and taking naps. It is a much needed and enjoyed day!
After I graduated from college I moved down to Pennsylvania for a year to "get away" from the farm. I had a job where I worked 6 AM till 3 PM. So, I had evenings and weekends to do with as I pleased. My Saturdays usually started off with sleeping in, slowly getting up and getting breakfast, eventually I would do some cleaning or shopping, and it would usually end with watching a movie, reading a book, or spending time with friends. Well, when I moved back to the farm, I was abruptly reminded of how a farmer’s work is not only done Monday-Friday. There is no sleeping in and lazily getting up whenever you feel like it.
It is 11:30 AM right now on a Saturday morning and so far, morning barn chores have been done, the house was cleaned, laundry is almost done, cookies have been baked, more pipelines have been scrubbed, calf pens have been cleaned out, trough liner has been fixed, and other odd jobs have been completed. Sometimes I wish I could go back to laying around in my PJ’s all day however, it is a great feeling to be a part of something bigger then yourself. Our hard work means that we have a beautiful and comfortable place to live, our animals are well taken care of, and we are able to sell milk that is then turned into cheese for your consumption. Our hard work means that we can take pride in our home and in our heritage.
Hello, if you are a follower of this blog you will remember that Angela was doing the blogs. Well, things have gotten busy for her and so Stan, her dad, is filling in for now. I am not as techno savy as her so I am not sure how this will work but I am going to try and post on a hopefully regular basis.