As the weekend comes to a close I am reminded again (for the millionth time) how hard farming or having livestock is, but also how rewarding it can be. This weekend we spent the entire weekend putting in hay. We’re not finished yet, but should be tomorrow. Every year about this time, we put up around 1,400 bales to feed the herd through the winter. One by one, every bale is plucked from the field, stacked on the truck, taken up the road to the farm, unloaded at the bottom of the barn and put on a conveyor. Each bale makes the trip up to the loft to be handled one more time and stacked to perfection inside (stacked by Mr. Captain Farm Boss of course!)
Every bale weighs about 50 to 60 lbs. Add to that, the heat and the dustyness of the fresh cut grass and you can see why it’s not one of my favorite things to do. But when it’s all done and in the barn, it really is a great feeling.
However, when it comes to hay I really can’t complain…. This time last year I was recovering from back surgery. Long story short, I got out of doing hay last year– obviously for good reason! This year, not a chance of that. There was no way I could milk that excuse again, haha! But… My help with hay is not what I described above and the real reason why I cannot complain. While Jace and our hay crew are out slinging bales and sweating like the hard working men that they are, I have the luxury of being the driver. I get to sit in the pick up with the windows up, air on full blast keeping me cool and my co-pilot by my side to keep me company– isn’t he so cute?!
My job is to drive the truck from stack to stack so the guys don’t have to do it and keep things moving right along. It is definitely the more glamorous part of the job and someone’s got to do it, so why not me? JK. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been the driver and left the heavy lifting and stacking to the pros. Except this one time…
It was about five years ago… We had gotten a bunch of bales up to the barn that still needed to be put up inside. One of our friends, TJ, was on his way to help Jace put them in. While he waited for him, Mother Nature started gettin’ all sassy, acting like she wasn’t on our side. The clouds rolled in and looked like they were going to start dumping on the hay. Like anyone else who might stress out about this, Jace was clearly getting anxious. If it had rained, our hay would have gotten ruined and all he could see were dollar signs and hard work before his eyes going up in flames.
I had just gotten off the treadmill at the house and ran down to the barn to see what was up. I noticed Jace’s worry coming through (it was kind of easy by the choice words coming out of his mouth! Haha!) and decided I would help him until TJ arrived. Mind you, I just got done with a run so I was wearing shorts and running shoes– not quite the right attire for the task. ‘Whatever,’ I said. Anything to help my guy out, right?!?! I found a pair of his Muck Boots at the barn and put them on to help cover my legs a little more. They were HUGE. And it was hot. Ankle socks in huge, hot Muck Boots…. Gross. And, not the greatest feeling. Ugh. I know, I’m from Hawaii I should be used to the heat, right? Wrong! I’ve become quite the heat sissy since living in Oregon- hah! Anyhow, one by one I start slinging these bales onto the conveyor up to Jace. You guys– it was a shit show, seriously! First off, if you don’t get the bale on the conveyor right it will slide back down, make the chain rattle and cause Jace to yell down to you. “Flip it over!!” Imagine that happening for just about every other bale. Secondly, my outfit was a joke and totally inappropriate for the job.
I was thinking I’d help Jace for about a half hour or so and sneak out before our friend arrived. Talk about things not going as I had hoped… About 30 bales in and here comes TJ strolling in before I could sneak away and not expose how much of a dweeb I was to anyone else besides Jace. Of course, he was laughing at the scene he pulled up to (and probably thinking WTF Flyin’ Hawaiian?!?!).
You guys– my legs were alllll cut up! The next day they were seriously on fire from all the tiny little grass cuts because my crazy self decided it would be fine to put hay up in shorts. Jace and TJ still bring that story up and I’m sure they will never forget it. It was a total ‘Wannabe Farm Girl’ situation. Thinking back, it was funny (and painful). I’ve never worn shorts to put hay up ever again and definitely learned my lesson. There are other ways for me to be helpful on the farm or during hay season. It’s one of those things that is just easier if I don’t try to get too involved with, and I’m ok with that. I’m definitely ok with just being the driver.
For next year, you know where to find me during hay season. Come ride shotgun with me!