Haymaking makes my Skinny Girlie Arms Ache.

A good ache though. Yesterday I made an electric fence run out the North side of the Barn for our slinky swine. This is primarily so that the pigs can root in the dirt. They get a lot of their essential minerals from the soil.  

Daisy and I went through our twice daily routine again. We seem to go down into a zone of calmness in the clean waiting milking parlour. Just brushing and chatting about the day.  Getting her ready for her big role as the mother ship for the farmy.  The giver of milk.

Once Our John got home he picked at the hay for a while, broke bits and twisted bits and decided to bale. He hitched up the second hand baler with much anticipation,  it clanked and whirred and chugged along. The baler caught up all the hay, stuffed it into the barrel, made the shape, and popped it out the back with all the knots UNTIED.  We got one good bale.  ONE!  The rest were just piles of hay.

The language deteriorated, the sighs began.  He stalked  about, stared at the machine, poked at it. When he went for his tools I decided that the best place for a woman when a man is having trouble with machinery is in the kitchen. So I made a cowardly exit and walked back to the house. Food is the great balm for failure and I did not see how he could possibly work out this mysterious problem with his limited baler knowledge. 

But lo and behold about 30 minutes later I heard the machine wind up and begin its slow journey about the tiny field again. I put lids on the pots and turned the burners off, then very, very gently and very quietly the dogs and I drove the truck down the fenceline to the back field, hoping for bales to load. But ready to reverse back behind the trees if there was nothing but a temper still flying about.  And there they were. Our first bales of hay.  All lined up. Tasty winter feed. So I began to take the bales back to the barn. It is important to get the bales off the ground and into the dry as soon as you can.  So I worked until my arms and back were good and tired. Load after load. 

One of the bales fell apart as I was stacking so I called Queenie over to eat the evidence which she was very happy to do.  They are stacked on the ground floor of the barn, on their sides with plenty of air between. I felt the fear.  Because we are still learning. However it passed all the old timers tests, so once again we will cross our fingers, and leave it where I can see and smell it every day.

But our knowledge grew in leaps and bounds again yesterday afternoon. And the feeling of satisfaction from having 48 wonky, badly baled, loosely tied, roughly  stacked,  gorgeous sweet smelling bales of hay in the barn is enormous.  From now on we can only do better!

Good morning.  I hope you all have a lovely day.  I am off to see the Old Codger this morning with TonTon.  It is Friday!  Strawberry Daquiris for Dinner Day!


76 Comments on “Haymaking makes my Skinny Girlie Arms Ache.

  1. I can smell it from here. In fact Jenny and I must be the only 2 people out of the 8 in the hamlet who don’t bale hay so I may well be smelling the hay that peeps out of every surrounding barn:)

  2. Bravo! It feels so good to learn new skills, fixing machinery, baling hay, . . . . I always fall asleep with a great sense of satisfaction on those days!

    • Daisy won’t nurse the calf for long, i will milk her and bottle feed. Sadly this is the fate of the dairy cow.. we need quite a bit of milk! c

  3. Daquiris for dinner?
    I’m in!
    (I’m in total agreement with you about where to be when the Frustrated Swearing begins….At least this time, it seems to have produced results! 😉 )

    • It is frustration and that is an emotion best left unshared.. If I cannot contribute anything it is best to let a person just get on with it and leave the space..Now I had best go out and pick more strawberries.. the birds are sharing which is sweet!?.. c

  4. We have a similar experience with our baler every summer. Unless the twine is threaded just right, it burps out messy globs of hay accompanied by much swearing and tinkering with the guts of the machine. It’s like threading a sewing machine! So glad for your nicely stacked bales! You are definitely weeks ahead of us. We haven’t even planted our outdoor tomatoes and peppers yet!

    • wow, you are chilly over there, John’s goal is to pick a tomato on the fourth of july, i think this may be one of the few years that he achieves his goal.. I told john that it looked like a sewing machine, shortly before I scarpered as everyone knows about my sewing skills!! c

  5. as you said, it is all uphill from here! and i totally get the achy arm thing. using just one hand these days my one arm is like popeye and the other like olive ole!

  6. O ye of little faith …. 🙂 I am so impressed with with the hay bales I could have done it myself. Well done! Daisy really has the softest moo-cow eyes. Trying very hard here not to become attached to those Plonkers, but they are cute. Laura

    • Its OK, soon we will have Sheila and you can get attached to her. Whick reminds me I must call the swine herd next week! c

  7. Wow how those piggies have grown! Yippee for the hay bales. Just thank your lucky stars that the baler is not the kind that produces huge cylinder bales that not even Atlas could lift! Have a nice time with the Codger.

    • O hate those big ones, they are not user friendly and take a big tractor to lift them. I am much happier with my little ones..they are still heavy but i can do it myself.. c

  8. I can’t believe how fast the pigs are growing, wow!

    What a relief that John was able to get the baler working. I love to learn new things and I can see why you’re excited to have that hay all baled up in your barn!

    Strawberry daiquiris sound marvelous! Have a nice day and rest those arms a little~ ~ April

  9. I could smell the freshly cut and baled hay as I read your post…….dreamily brought back alot of good memories. Thanks and have a nice day C.

  10. I agree, men and machinery should be left well alone when things go wrong! That also applies to men and plunging rods/septic tanks in my experience! Those bales look truely professional though! Those regular visits to the milking shed/brush are turning Daisy into a glossy beauty queen – but don’t tell her I said that or she might get all prima Donna-ish!

  11. Slinky swine and a stalking husband…my, life on the Farmy can occasionally take an interesting turn. I wish I could share hay baling knowledge from my farm days. But it was just one of those field tasks my dad and uncles and brothers did and I did not pay attention to details. However, they pulled a flatbed trailer behind the tractor and baler and the bales were stacked onto the trailer and then moved into the haymow. They always stacked the bales tight. That’s about all I remember except that later I had to carry those bales and feed them to the cows and cattle. Sounds like you and John are managing fine.

    • We always helped with the hay BECAUSE the local farmers sons would be helping too!! I will start stacking tight when i have a little more faith in my product. !! morning Audrey! c

  12. Well, what could have been a most exasperating day ended quite nicely. Congrats to you both for a job well-done. I hope your visit today goes well, Celi. I bet the folks over there are already hustling & bustling, preparing for the mighty TonTon. Have a great day!

    • There seem to be more and more people out in the corridors lately.. I think the nurses make sure the wheelchairs are well placed for a lick and a pat on the way past! c

      • Of course there is, Celi. Many of these people have few, if any, visitors. You are doing them a world of good, giving them something to look forward to every week. Even if it’s only to see TonTon pass in the hall, that makes today better than most for some. What you’re doing is truly wonderful.

    • Morning Lori! There is a lot to be figured out that is for sure. i grew up on a BEACH!! and helped out the country people in the holidays, however i think common sense answers a lot of questions!!

    • She stood in her milking parlour having her brush this morning, yanking and munching very happily at her fresh hay. Not that she needs it with her fields of clover, but i could not help myself!!

    • I did all the picking up from the field and stacking in the barn. John sat on the tractor doing the ‘important bit’.. but dark was coming and you have to get it in on the same day.. I can feel my muscles this morning though! Morning smidge! c

  13. The mother ship… laughs and giggles and congratulations on your badly tied bales – no mean feat. I was barrowing compost bags and generally VERY heavy things up and down my plot the other day and I can still feel the muscles now, a bit more of it and I could go and get a job on a building site and go un-noticed.

  14. I was surprised how heavy hay was when I loaded a truckload of bales a year or two ago. But I sustained myself with mind’s-eye images of tan, shirtess farmboys – now I know how they got those beautiful arms and shoulders.

  15. What a great job you 2 did! I grew up on a farm..I still love the smell of fresh cut hay..I always helped my Dad..I rode on the hay rack and helped stack bales. Although I liked to help, like you, the boys helping were an added plus! We raised hogs too…when we had babies the runts always came into the house..were put in a shoebox on the oven door where it was warm and fed milk with a baby bottle. Have a great day at the Old Codger’s Home…let me know when you are ready for that restful evening and cappuccino…

    • Connie is that you?.. you got on! excellent.. I am always ready for a sit down.. pop in after work one afternoon! c

  16. That reminds me – time to pick my Friday night drink of choice as well. Happy Friday. And I love the word “wonky.” It has to be one of my favorite words on the planet. Glad the hay worked out and I love that you stalked off to go cook up some comfort. I should learn to do that. Instead I tend to get my nose in things and try to help…cooking is a better idea. LOL.

  17. Appreciation for the rewards of hard work is what it’s all about. Your land and critters are an extension of you. As beautiful as hay bails look in perfect pictures of perfect fields under perfect sunlight, they must be far more majestic when it is hay you have grown and tended yourself. These thoughts cross my mind as I read your account of the day. Not bad thoughts, huh!?

  18. Aaah Queenie – always coming to the rescue 😉
    I can not even imagine the amount of work involved in hay making though you do paint quite a picture!
    Good on you for persevering 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  19. I would not know the first thing about fixing a malfunctioning hay-baler. Good for John. My Dad used to swear a blue streak when he worked on cars, the boat and other machinery. Then he would scrub his fingernails clean and come in smiling, “It’s all fixed, hon.”

  20. Wow! Your words illustrated many memories and hauled out some funny stories. I married a farm girl. We lived on the farm for 8 years. City boy had a few things to learn. Keeping up with her, much less her brothers…actually I did manage to keep up with her brothers, she was the the challenge. I had lessons in hay, corn, okra, onions, chickens, goats, big horn sheep, making steers, potatoes and more. I messed up and brought her to the city. I often wonder…

    • You know what they say.. you can take the woman out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the woman.. one day .. maybe one day she will take you back to the country.. why do you say you messed up though.. c

  21. Oh yes, I remember those roped hay bales (thanks to the pictures – I had no idea how they are called in English). Had been earning a bit of pocket money in school holidays, putting them on a fork and lifting them up to someone on the trailer, many levels high. No fun.

  22. I dont know much about farming but it sure seems like an excellent work out 🙂 Sounds like you had a productive day and daiquiris for dinner are surely deserved!!

  23. Coincidental, as my wife and I spent most of yesterday out in a field gathering hay. But there were thankfully no problems with the baler. Mainly because we don’t have one! Instead we worked most of the day hand-raking the (4 acre) field into piles, then another couple of hours hand-loading the piles onto a large flatbed trailer. Later this morning we’ll then hand-fork the hay off the trailer into the barn. So…we, too, are still learning…but mostly about how it feels to be back somewhere in the 16th century. 😉

  24. What an achievement – to bale your first hay. Congratulations, and may it all turn out to be the tastiest treat in the state.

  25. Yey! bales. I bet you are both chuffed. I think you were wise to retreat to the kitchen 🙂
    Regards Florence x

  26. Noble Queenie. Yes it’s a hard and fine line between being on hand with sympathy and beating a retreat to a safe distance. But food and drink is always a balm to the soul. 🙂

  27. I think I could have a serious Hippie Party with this: fresh bales of new-mown hay and strawberry daiquiris! 😀 In any event, it sounds tremendously rewarding and perfumey all at once!

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