29 June 2017 – Partly cloudy and a high of 70°
We have been cutting a lot of hay. We have 400 bales in the barn so far, and more to cut and bale. I think we were all thankful for the forecast of rain yesterday that gave us a little reprieve. We are expecting storms again this evening so we likely won’t start cutting again until tomorrow or the next day.
We finished loading up 132 bales on Tuesday just before a YUGE gust front came blowing through the property. Rapid City reported gusts of 70mph, and I’m sure we got that at least. Dave and I were scrambling to get the garden covered and the chicken coop shut up before the storm hit and the wind came roaring out of Wyoming so much that it blew over rain barrels, lawn chairs, pallets, and nearly everything that wasn’t nailed down. The beer can in the beer can tree remains.
Fortunately, we didn’t get any hail, but unfortunately we barely got a sprinkling of rain. We need to work on our rain dance and get some water going up here!
Back to haying. For those of you who have never participated in this particular activity, let me offer a few pieces of advice from a novice in case you ever find yourself presented with the opportunity to cut, bale and stack. For the rest of you readers that are seasoned hayers, I hope you will just get a laugh from my perspective.
Haying is fun….well, not that fun. Once Cowboy Dave was finished cutting after hours and hours of driving around in circles and making windrows, Pilot Dave got to follow his tracks and spent hours and hours driving around in circles picking up the windrows and spitting out bales from the baler. This is the part where Linda and I got to rake hay out of the corners that didn’t make it into the windrows. Raking is fun…..well, not that fun. Also, we had to ensure that the bales were not in Pilot Dave’s way so we did a bit of running and moving them out of his path. Running is fun….well, you know!
Next, Cowboy Dave brought out the hay wagon and we went to work stacking. Pilot Dave heaved the bales up to the wagon and Linda and I tried to stack them so they wouldn’t fall off the wagon. Also fun. Then we unstacked the hay wagon into the shed and the barn.
The worst thing about moving hay bales is they are prickly! The first day, Cowboy Dave said to me, “You didn’t wear a long sleeve shirt?” It was pretty hot and it hadn’t occurred to me to do so. I learned quickly why this is important. My arms were torn up after stacking from all the prickles and stickers and just the hay in general. Later that day I was talking to my Dad on the phone and telling him about our first day haying. He said, “I hope you wore a long sleeve shirt.” Thanks, gentlemen. Information that would have been useful before starting!
Other tips. Take your allergy medicine early and often. There is nothing more frustrating than sneezing 239 times in a row, barely being able to even shout, “Damn it!” in between sneezes. Also bring Kleenex. Make sure you wear sunblock and a hat. Oh, don’t forget the long sleeve shirt.
I have decided I’m going to invent a new article of clothing for haying. It is going to be an easy to don garment like a surgical gown, only tough material that would prevent the stickers from getting through your shirt. You would put your arms through and just have a strap to throw over the back of your neck, and a tie in the back like an apron. This way you can stay semi-cool and protect your arms and torso. I would add a loop to hang a hay hook and a pocket for allergy medicine. I’m going to name my new invention the HAYPRON.
Pilot Dave said, “No farmer is going to wear a haypron.” And then after stacking bales all afternoon he said, “I could use a haypron right now!” Anyway, working outside in the sun all day causes you to come up with some wacky ideas.
We are back at fence building today. We hope all is well out there in the civilized world.