Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘round bales

Grass ‘Splosion

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I was looking at this explosion of natural tallgrass yesterday and it took on the appearance of a bursting firework finale to my eyes.

Do you see it?

Closer inspection of these blades reveals the hazardous serrated edges that can damage flesh. It even cuts itself!

Growth of greenery is at maximum acceleration now. The corn plants in the fields of the surrounding area are gaining about five inches a day. It’s shocking to see the difference a day makes in the height of the tightly spaced stalks that fill entire fields.

Meanwhile, the round bales on our land are starting to droop under their own weight. I don’t understand why these get left in the field so long. At this point, they are just crushing spots that could be growing more grass for baling the second cut.

Also, it just feels so wrong to leave hay out in the rain.

I understand the rain or snow water just runs off the outside layer, but I imagine the bottom portion that is in contact with the ground must get pretty rotten over time.

One of these days, I’ll get around to asking the guy who is renting our fields.

Till then, I’ll enjoy the added ambiance the bales add to the landscape. They can serve as a distraction from all the Queen Anne’s Lace weeds that are having their own little explosion of growth in the time since the fields were first cut this year.



Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2020 at 6:00 am

Just Clinging

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We have arrived at the week with the earliest sunrise in our location and the weather is at its most wonderful summer-est. Our doors and windows are open and the ceiling fans are turning, yet the warmth hovers around the edge of too much. Tank tops and loose shorts, bare feet and a tall glass of ice water put things right.

The cut hay in our fields was raked and round-baled on the same afternoon yesterday. If you look close, Cyndie captured a lone deer crossing the image view as the field became draped in the shadow that was replacing the disappearing sunlight.

For as much as we are forbidden to wrap our arms around our fellow friends and family, we are striving to wrap the summer up in a grandiose hug of epic proportions. Despite the chaos of a political circus, a global pandemic continuing its invisible spread, and citizens bellowing for justice against centuries of systemic racism against indigenous peoples, immigrants, and the entire spectrum of non-white human beings, I am just clinging to the precious moment of a few glorious quintessential summer days for their faint distraction of nature at its finest.

We are doing so without a rambunctious picnic of music and food and a hundred of our favorite people. I am doing so without my annual week of biking and camping somewhere around Minnesota with hundreds of friends and brilliant like-minded adventurers. We are doing so without concerts enjoyed among thousands of similar music-loving fans or sports competitions with hoards of supporters cheering on the efforts of athletes at every level of skill.

There will be no county fairs and ultimately, no Minnesota State Fair. Graduations have already been morphed into sometimes blessedly shorter shadows of the usual pomp and circumstance, and weddings and funerals constrained to unrecognizable whispers of the emotional extravagance they deserve.

Navigating the days that turn to weeks and then months of the COVID-19 pandemic is dragging us all into a marathon of paying heed to the best-practice precautions of constraining the spread to manageable levels despite our preference that it just be a short duration fast-walk competition among friends.

My dentist’s office called and left a message that they are now accepting cleaning and checkup appointments scheduled for the fall. My rather feeble home plaque-scraping exercise since my appointment in March was canceled is now going to need to suffice until autumn. Thank goodness I won’t need to waste a beautiful summer afternoon splayed back in the reclined chair getting my teeth cleaned and inspected.

The best medicine I have right now for the pandemonium of current events is the natural summer surroundings of our little paradise. I love it. We love it.

It helps fuel our ability to nurture and grow that love for beaming out into the great big world.

Here is Wintervale LOVE to all who are willing and able to receive it… <muwah>

Cling to that.



Written by johnwhays

June 17, 2020 at 6:00 am

Wickedly Slick

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This morning the day dawned with an icy glaze covering everything after an overnight dose of wet precipitation. Luckily, we had already aborted any travel plans because of Cyndie’s continuing convalescence from eyelid surgery. The roads are wickedly slick and riddled with auto incidents as depicted by the Department of Transportation map.

No thank you. Unfortunately, Cyndie’s brother and parents had to give up on a plan of driving to St. Peter this morning for a memorial service for Fred’s cousin. We had planned to attend after first learning of the service, but when the appointment for Cyndie’s surgery popped in for the day after Christmas, it changed a lot of our plans.

Yesterday was a very fractured day. Imagine breaking an entire day into 20-minute segments. That was our routine as we strove to adhere to the doctor prescribed routine of icing, then resting her eyes for alternating 20-minute increments over the first 24-hours after the procedure. What better cold pack than a bag of frozen peas?

Today she is supposed to switch to heat pads, four times a day.

I give her credit for being a very good patient.

Too bad she didn’t get out to see the round hay bales in our fields were picked up while we were in Stillwater on Thursday.

Good thing they finished that chore before our roads became as slick as a skating rink. I wouldn’t want to try pulling a trailer of hay in these conditions!



Second Cut

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It’s done now. Yesterday the neighbors rolled up some round bales out of the last cutting of our fields. After a long, wet summer, the harvest was finally completed over the opening weekend of November.

I’ll admit I had my doubts it would ever happen. The weather hasn’t offered much of a break for hay growers this year, so we are pleased to have our renters finally enjoying some last-minute success.

While they were doing that, we were preparing the diesel tractor for winter duty by reattaching weights to the rear wheels. That is not an easy task, as there are two weights for each wheel and each single weight is almost more than I can lift.

That’s probably part of what made it difficult. Since I am able to lift them, even though just barely, I decided to try doing as much of it as possible by hand. When I reached my limit, I coerced Cyndie to help me do battle. After a lot of grunting, huffing, and puffing, we got the weights secured in place with bolts.

It was a heroic effort that we had neglected to take before winter last year, which left the diesel tractor mostly useless during some of the late-season heavy snows. This year we intend to be better prepared.

Just maybe, it will result in us ultimately not needing to use the big tractor. Better safe than sorry.



Written by johnwhays

November 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

Round Bales

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We have a new look to our property lately. After weeks of our mowed hay fields getting wet, the neighbors who rented our fields arranged to have a beef farmer make some round bales out of it. That’s a first for us. It gives the place a different appearance.

Square bales like the ones we used must be picked up right away and moved under cover to keep them dry, but the round bales can be left out in the field. Beef cows are much less picky about what they eat compared to horses, so these bales of old grass that laid in the field for an extended time will still find use as feed.

I snapped that photo from the seat of our lawn tractor while mowing. I installed new blades after work yesterday and tackled two-thirds of the grass before the day started to fade. It’s amazing how hyper-sensitive I can suddenly (temporarily) be about mowing over any potential hazards like sticks, stones, and pine cones in the yard with new blades.

I know from experience that such intense concern does not last. After several accidental incidents of mowing over something I regret, I start to lose my inhibitions and trend increasingly toward reckless abandon. I’m pretty hard on mower blades.

I used to be pretty concerned about hay bales, too.

Not so much anymore.

I kind of like the way the round bales look in our fields. Gives an appearance of at least some level of functional progress. I’m not sure it entirely offsets the derelict impression the paddocks evoke, with the tall grass going to seed like never before, but the bales are a welcome sign of activity in our fields.



Written by johnwhays

July 31, 2019 at 6:00 am