Monday, June 15, 2009

Haying Time

It's time to make hay in our valley.
A few freakish hailstorms over the past couple of weeks laid the hay down in the fields under wet conditions, a bad omen for feed prices at the very least. Luckily the storms were followed by weeks of sunshine and the hay recovered and stood tall... to be laid down again, only on purpose this time.
Under sunny skies the straight lines of cut timothy, alfalfa, field grass lie waiting for the baler. Later today they'll stud the field in golden cubes like stored summertime. Teams of shirtless men will be instantly tan and sweaty (reminds me of that old Diet Coke commercial where the office secretaries plan their break around watching construction workers) from the hot day's work of lifting 90-pound bales from ground the truck bed. They'll buck the bales by thin orange cords that cut into their leather gloves. They'll lift them over and over until their muscles burn and the hay's all in.

I love haying time with a passion borne mostly of the fact that I rarely have to buck bales. I can count on one hand the bales I've had to lift, actually. My husband and his dad or sometimes a buddy will collect the bales from a large storage barn at my neighbor Linda's, moving two tons or more in a load, restacking them in our shop bay.

Then our system at home is to roll a bale to the trailer of the lawn tractor, moving two bales at a time. The girls and I mostly take care of this. Madeleine is better at driving the lawn tractor that I am. The confidence of youth. We move hay down to the little horse barn from the big bay where the hay is stored in six-ton stacks of golden green beauty. I have to say our system is not nearly as sexy as the big ranches'.
One thing we have in common with the big boys is that it is strictly verboten to climb in the hay. It breaks the bales and spreads boot muck that might invite mold, and also, that's 20 feet in the air too high for little children to be without a harness or a railing or some other helicopter-parent protection device.
Nevertheless I'm constantly finding evidence in the top of the stacks. A colored pencil. A Breyer horse and tiny truck and trailer. A Nancy Drew book.
I can't say I never hid in the haystacks, or worse yet used them as a huge jungle gym, when I was a child. Because that would be a lie. Following naturally on this confession is the fact that I don't really care if the girls hide up there with their books and art projects. I think it might be an essential part of becoming a farm girl.
I love haying time.


Anonymous said...

... I smelled mint mixed into a mowed field last night... Smelled so nice.


HP said...

I love haying time too! My sinus cavity on the other hand, does not. I remember climbing in the haystacks as a child too, I also remember and incident with a roll of barbed wire - that was not as fun as the haystacks. Good times.

Alexis said...

Mmmmmm! I can practically SMELL that field!! I love it.

QuiltedSimple said...

I love haying time. And the kids so enjoy making "forts" up in the hay - and they are always so depressed in the sppring when their forts are gone....