Friday, October 9, 2009

Hay Day!

The day came, bright and sunny. The tractor was already working its way around the field when I got the call from Field Owner. My excitement at finally seeing bales was "dampened" by the color of bales. It was a little sad to see what had been a glorious green field, packaged up into brown bales. The brown-ness was only on the top layer; as the hay was lifted into the baler, you could see green underneath. And I began to be more confident that the Hay Guy had done the right thing, letting it lay in place to dry.

Although Neighbor Rob was worried that it was still dampish...but his worries were for naught. Hay Guy's plan saved what could have been a complete debacle and earned my everlasting loyalty. (He later told the field owner that had I not called him all the time, he might have blown off the job altogether! Score one for tenacity.)

Neighbor Rob owns a couple of older hay wagons and we asked if we could hitch one onto the tractor/baler combo. Hay Guy didn't want to wait for us to get back with the wagon, but we assured him he could keep going.

At this point, Handyman was about 15 miles away putting in a window with my dad. I was feeling overly conscientious about having men putting up my hay, who had no vested interest in it, i.e. the gracious Field Owner who owns not one horse. He had already given me the field, for free. It was hay he could have made money on, but gave it to me as a thanks for driving his "punkins" to Awana last year. No big deal to me, at all.

And now there he was, putting up hay for the first time ever, while I'm burning up the cel phone to Handyman saying, "Are you comin?! Are you done yet?!" Now Handyman is not one to be budged, especially when a job is coming to its rightful completion. So we continued on.

I had offered some of the hay to another neighbor across the street from me, since they had graciously hauled Reno home two summers ago, for free. Reno, the free 24 year-old horse, had refused to get into the first trailer I "borrowed" and I had called them, on the verge of desperation, since they had a stock-type trailer, thinking he might consider that bigger. I was right. And I wanted to pay them back in some way.

So they came with their old tractor and wagon and kids on the back. It made for quite a little traveling party as we all circled the field. Field Owner was meeting new neighbors and experiencing what he'd missed in his cushy-suburban youth. Handyman did show up in time to pitch-in, and #1 got to drive our SUV pulling a trailer around the field. The highlight of her summer. She took her responsibility very seriously. And I was too busy to shoot even one picture! So bummed. It was such a pleasant afternoon.

At the end, there was 297 bales. Not bad for a 2+ acre field. We are so fortunate to have another neighbor with an elevator, free for the borrowing. But first Handyman headed over to Neighbor Rob's to help throw 95 bales up into his loft. The elevator doesn't fit there, as he has a lower slope and lower loft floor, so it was hand tossing, just to keep the old pecs in shape.

Then we loaded the elevator out of the neighbor's loft, hauled it home, set it up and Neighbor Rob's wife, Chris, my dad and I were on the receiving end of 75 more bales. It's always rewarding to labor, and it's so much more fun with friends.

My mom had made a big pot of spaghetti for everyone, but we were all in and separated by the end of the evening. Field Owner ate with us, at 9pm, but it wasn't quite the party I had envisioned.

Second cutting, here we come. In the Hay Maven's world, it ain't over yet!

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