June 29, 2011, 6:35 am
Filed under: June 2011
First cutting drying in the sun

June 29, 2011

     I guess these days I am a haymaker. I have several acres drying in the sun. Unlike the knockout punch I reference, this job is mostly painless. The hardest part is waiting, watching the sky for rain, worrying if it will get dry, then scrambling to get it all baled and into the barn.
     This job requires help. It can be a fun job if you make it that way. I like when the family comes to help. They all tease me about dang near everything I do. It is all good-natured teasing and inspired by the master teaser … me 😮 I have been known to poke fun quite often …usually every time I open my mouth.
     I think I got my teasing and joke telling genes from my dad. His corny jokes and smiling eyes live on in my memory. I don’t remember him ever having a cross word for anybody. I am not that easy-going, because I have used cross words and even a haymaker or too in my younger days. Although now I see that my dad had it right all along.
     One of the greatest feelings each year, is when the last bale goes up the elevator into the barn. The round bales too are all done and put away and the hay making season is complete. I like to have a picnic celebration with as many family members as can come. It truly is a great feeling knowing that the job is done and the winters feed is stored away.
     The horses help with haying. They rake much of it and this year will even pull the baler. My new power cart will get a workout as its engine supplies the PTO power to run the baler. This makes it all worth it to me. Farming to me is fun and haying with horses just makes it even better.
     The horses and my ways of doing things are sometimes a great source for my children’s teasing. They poke at me for being slow and old-fashioned, but the cameras flash away and cell phones click as pictures are stored to mark the fun we have. … or perhaps it is to document that I actually do work.
     This year will be the first hay season since the new “slow down plan” has been put into place. I have half of the hay down and drying with just two fields to go. We will make fifty-five acres less than the last several years. I can’t say that I am disappointed either. The help, I am sure, won’t be disappointed.
     My newest granddaughter will be able to help some this year. She is four years old, just right for training to begin. She will think it is fun and beg mom and dad to come do more. That is wonderful because I have a two-year old grandson that will also soon push his parents to help grandpa. The next generation of haymakers are coming on fast … and they bring mom and dad with them… yes more help 😮
     I have been making hay on this farm for nineteen seasons. I have gone through kids, grandkids and neighbor kids. I have sorted out what works to motivate them all. Mostly the kids want purpose and like to be praised. They learn teamwork, hard work and fun work. They make memories to last a life time and they learn many corny jokes…and every now and then, perhaps a new cuss word, when the baler doesn’t want to tie the string.
   I would bet that any of the kids that worked for me would do it all again … what am I talking about? They still are , it’s just that they are adults now! I think they may come out of pity now to help and old man. Well, that is where the joking starts anyway…perhaps I should introduce them to a haymaker 😮

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When I was a little girl, my dad paid me 10 cents for every load of hay we brought in from the field. (I thought I was rich.) It was loose, not baled, and I drove the old John Deere while the hay went up the loader and onto the wagon, where dad rode and worked it with his pitchfork. Then we put it up in the hay mow with huge tongs and a pulley system. What fun! It was never work – not to me anyway. And then once it was all in the barn, we went up and played in the hay. Great memories!

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