Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bringing in Hay

The spring before we moved to our farm was an unusually wet one along the Front Range.  Since there were no livestock living in the pastures of our new place before we arrived, the grass was about 2-3 feet high by the time our moving truck pulled up the gravel driveway.  Knowing we would have plenty of use for the hay all this grass would provide, we quickly found a local farmer willing to cut and bale for us.  Being from the suburbs, we had never actually watched this process before and we were enthralled each day when the farmer showed up with a new piece of very large farming equipment – cutting the first day, letting it sit for a day to dry, then coming back with a contraption that looked like a series of pinwheels, which would fluff up and flip the dried grass over into what were called wind rows.  This then sat for another half day, before it was dry enough to run through the baler.  In the end, we had about 75 bales of freshly cut hay dotting the back 3 acres.

Now the challenge was to figure out how to get the hay into the barn.  Being new “farmers”, we hadn’t acquired a pick-up truck yet.  We knew we could probably pay one of the neighbor boys to move the hay with his truck, but we really liked the idea of doing it ourselves so we set out to consider our options.  We figured we could load it into the back of our minivan, but that sure didn’t seem very farmy.  The only other vehicle that could assist in the job was our new John Deere riding mower which we jokingly called our tractor.  We decided to hook a little wagon up to the tractor/mower which would allow us to move about five bales at a time.  This was terribly inefficient, but also remarkably fun!  I got to drive the mower while Brian loaded the bales, and the girls had a great time running and jumping and hiding between the bales, and taking turns sitting on my lap steering the John Deere. 

When it was all said and done, we were hot, sweaty, itchy and tired, but it felt really good.  The joy of doing a concrete job together as a family while laughing and playing made it well worth the exhaustion.  I commented that by next year, we’d probably have a pick-up truck to bring in the hay and the girls said, “No!  It’s much more fun doing it this way!”

Life Lesson:  Make the Most of What You’ve Got!

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