Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Never Dreamed

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A few years ago, I had no clue about how much my life experience would be changing by the middle of the year 2014. Yesterday was the culmination of a possibility that bloomed after we bought our new property in the fall of 2012. I found myself out driving my tractor in our field, pulling a rake to create windrows for baling hay. What a kick. A very humbling kick that I never dreamed I would be experiencing.

DSC03238eFor the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to make this raking work the way I wanted. My instructions from George were pretty basic, and he rode with me as guide for about two passes, before heading home to trim some horses. He’s a farrier, you know. One big challenge with the rake he brought over is that you aren’t able to back up, and it keeps raking while you reach the end of the field and have to turn around before the fence.

Turning around was a trick, and the goal of creating straight, single rows repeatedly evaded me. It will take a few tries to figure out how to manage the shape of this field. Ed, the man who cut it for us last week, had never been on the field before and just picked a pattern which suited him. George and I started down one fence line and then he suggested I just continue that line, but it ended up putting me across many of the rows Ed had cut.

The result of my “student driving” exercise made for a pretty crazy sight, but George was kind and soldiered ahead with his baler to make it work, despite many areas where the hay had been tumbled into piles instead of rows.DSCN2123e

The problem with the piles is that they would plug the intake and George would have to stop and climb down to pull grass out or kick the piles into place as prevention.

We both feel our system will improve as we figure out an optimum way to work the odd shape of this field. There is more to it, though, than just the irregular shape, because it is also not flat. Navigating up that hill becomes an increasing challenge as the hay wagon gets heavier and heavier with bales.

As always, needing the field to be dry enough to work is a primary factor.  George got stuck several times, and I needed to push the back of the hay wagon with my tractor to get him moving again. The one that surprised me most was on higher ground, where his back wheels sunk into what must be a ground spring where water pushes up near the surface. It seems like an illogical location for a soft spot.

Now, after days of stacking purchased hay in our shed, we have two more wagons full of bales that need to be stacked. It is a LOT of work, but it is a labor of love.

Especially for the horses. They love having us stock piling all these bales where they can see and smell them.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2014 at 8:13 am

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