Terry finished up the last of the hay bales this morning…driving the tractor pulling the hay baler in around 5:00. He went out as soon as the dew started settling down in the wee hours of early morning…I think around 2:00. I was asleep when he left. (It’s around 7 in the morning [now] and he’s all tucked up in bed resting.
He started baling yesterday morning around 7, the dew didn’t set on until then. He finished around 9 when the sun had finally burned all the dew off the plants. He likes to bale with the dew as it keeps the little alfalfa leaves still attached to the stems. If you don’t have the dew the baler will knock the leaves off as it picks up the dried alfalfa and smashes it together forming a bale, then you are left with just a bundle of stems. If there is too much dew or it is baled to green the bale will mold, or worse yet heat up and combustion will occur.
Making nice quality hay is a art.
I must brag a bit —I am married to a hay artist! 🙂
This making of good hay has always been a strong interest of his. When Terry was 10 he was in charge of the cutting and baling of his Dad’s 80 plus acres of alfalfa. Terry’s father farmed 160 acres and milked cows for the Clymer’s Dairy in Grand Junction, CO…I think he had somewhere around 50 head. Terry’s Dad raised all the feed–corn, hay for the cows, plus Red Clover for seed and pinto beans, maybe other crops.
By the time Terry was 12 he had a small hay making business (with the help of his Dad and his Dad’s equipment) — he made hay for his Dad’s Dairy, and several neighboring ranches.
I think his love of making a nice, high quality hay bales started way back there. The example set by his Dad, his Mother’s drive to create something and to create it to perfection.
It still holds true today.
So he creates the hay bales and then it’s the dog’s and my turn to go help. While he is loading the hay with the stack wagon….a wonderful invention that took away the ‘hay crew’ (a team of young men, usually high school age, and the farmer…and possibly the farmer’s daughter to drive the tractor. So what you had was the tractor driver, a young man to heft and swing a 50-80 pound bale onto a moving trailer/wagon on each side of the trailer/wagon and a young man on the top of the trailer/wagon to stack the load as high as possible. Once it was HIGH the whole load and the people headed into the stack where the farmer (usually) was waiting. Backing up the trailer/wagon the four men started stacking the hay bales creating a huge hay stack. By noon–the hay crew arrived around 7 in the morning–lunch was ready. This consisted of a HUGE meal—the farmer’s wife and if she had a daughter or two at home, spent the whole morning creating a giant feast! For instance—Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, corn bread or biscuits or homemade rolls, with some rich dessert to top everything off. Large pitchers of ice water, or iced tea, or lemon-aid helped wash the whole thing down. As soon as the meal was over it was back to the field. Everyone received their paycheck after the last bale was stacked, maybe two days or so later.)
He is unloading at the stack right here.
Boomer sees it his duty to check out what is happening all over the farm. (He is that tiny black and brown and white dot clear at the end of the field.)
(See Boomer in the brush? 🙂 )
Fuzzy and I go up and down making sure the bales are straight so Terry doesn’t have to get off and straighten the bales; helping them slide right in and up into the stack on the wagon.
After I get done with straightening the bales, I take the loose hay missed by the baler and load it into a little cart attached to the four-wheeler…once more going around the field–forking the yellow sweet clover into the high grass at the end of the field for the deer to munch and the loose hay into my cart. As my cart fills I haul it to the last row still to be baled. It’s hot work.
It’s important to get all the hay off because it will smother the alfalfa underneath and plug up the furrows not allowing the water to flow to the end of the rows.
My arms are strong so it doesn’t take me overly long.
But today is Sunday. Today we rest. Although, Terry had to bale when the dew was perfect, we will finish the work tomorrow. Today we only do what MUST be done, like irrigate. Also two of the grandchildren are coming to spend Sunday and Monday and part of Tuesday with us since their parents are going to Craig to look for houses.
You have a nice Sunday everyone…it’s always good to have a sort of day off once a week.
You Farm Friend,