1. Know when you are at your best. And my best is before breakfast. I don’t know what it is about me but the moment I eat I want to have a wee lie down, (though I am never able to have that wee lie down) so I never eat breakfast until the heavy work is done. And I always work best at dawn. So dawn is when I decided to unload the last of the hay. There was rain gathering too. Rain looking down on your lovely dry bales is quite an incentive.
2. Faced with a big job, when you only have two skinny arms to work with and would really rather be up in the bucket of the tractor looking at the view, break your job down into little groups so as to avoid the WHAT? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! Gag reflex. Take out a corner at a time. Finish it then go to the next corner.
So I climb to the top of the hay stack still waiting for me on the hay rack and throw down a line of bales to be carried in. Never ever doubt that you can carry all these bales of hay down from the trailer they are stacked on into the barn and up again into the new stacks. If one tiny bit of ‘I can’t ‘ creeps in you are doomed. ‘I can’t’ makes you feel like you are slogging uphill. You CAN do it. Now stop your whining and get on with it.
3. Do not wish for all the fancy gadgets other farmers have to bring their hay in, like that escalator thing. People with the escalator thingy do not get the pleasure of using every muscle in their bodies to climb up and down the stacks, heft the bale into their bellies using their considerable spider sized arm muscles. They do not get to bounce the bale up off the knee and onto the top of another stack, then do it again up the staircase of hay bales you have made so you can get right to the top. Then throw the bale even further up seeing it hit nice and square.
4. If you can easily stack five high. Go to six. Then seriously think about seven bales high. And if you go seven you will find yourself so close to the loft that you can just hurl a few up there for good measure. Just because you bloody well can. (Later we will get out the iron grabby thing and winch each bale one by one right into the loft. But that is a two man job for another day. I cannot hoist bales up on a winch like that. On more than one occasion I tried to pull bales up to the loft by myself with that thing and only swung out across the chasm like Tarzan swinging on a rope, bicycling my legs in mid air and the bale does not move an inch off the ground. No, that job is for today with Our John doing the lifting and me attaching the grapple) Yesterday I needed to get the bales in out of the weather. One thing at a time you see.
6. Know where you are taking the bale before you carry it in. I know this sounds simple but a hesitation toting a 50 pound bale is not funny! There is a lot of swing and balance in carrying a bale of hay. Confidence is your own ability and direction is a huge bonus.
9. Cross hatch the bales for strength (and good shading) . You remember those lego houses. If you pile bales one on top of the other without cross hatching, the pile will fall. And you will fall and roosters will laugh! ( Ha ha ha ha – like that!) Though they will be polite enough to make sure you cannot see them tittering behind their hands that are wings.
10 My Dad never said’girls can do anything.’ He said ‘You can do anything.’ And so I can. It took me just over an hour to haul 90 bales into the barn. I did not hurry and I did not stop to rest. Thankfully they were not too heavy and it was not too hot but nevertheless I was pleased. Nothing can take from you that feeling of a job well done, after challenging oneself to a lone race and winning.
We need four hundred bales in the barn this year. We are hoping for another cut of hay in about five weeks. We need a little rain now. This stand is old enough to deal with four cuts if we get the rain. Losing the first cut was a terrible blow but we are going to buy a hundred bales of hay to make up for it. I think we are half way to our goal.
Have a lovely day.
Good morning. We did get a little rain yesterday, just enough to settle the dust. And today looks fine and warm. Today we will deliver the hay rack back to the Hay Man and then start to raise the bales into the loft of the barn. Amongst other jobs of course. Our John has the day off. And I have decided to raise a flock of real pasture raised chickens for the families freezers over the next three months. This will be a new venture for me. More on that tomorrow.
Have a lovely day.
Your friend, celi