When I was a kid my grandfather would use this line to try and amuse us. It only worked once or twice but it stuck in my head. He had a resort in the Lake of the Ozark area of Missouri. Highway 5 ran past the property and it wasn’t unusual to see loads of hay go by in the summer while we were visiting. Not being a farm kid, it was always interesting but I never gave it much thought. That is until now.
Last week we cut hay. There is not a lot of planning to this event. I call the guy who is cutting and baling to get on his list and then we wait. Where I end up on his list and the weather play a big part in when we get the hay cut. This year the weather has been very unusual. Everything from wildlife to crops are out of sync with the calendar. Hay season started 3 weeks earlier than it usually does. To make things even more interesting, the month of May was extremely dry.
Our tentative date to cut hay was the first part of June. We waited, praying for rain so the hay would not burn up in the pastures. Of course, all the places where the hay was cut and waiting to be baled they were praying for no rain. The “no rain” group was winning out; until the last week of the month. We received 2” of rain over several days that week. You could almost hear the grass sucking up the moisture. Just that small amount would help as we continued to wait our turn.
June 5 the tractors arrived and started to cut. We had 4 days of clear skies, sunshine, lower temperatures and 0% chance of rain. This was going to be a good week for haying. I called the hay crew and let them know we were baling on Thursday and they should plan on a long day. The crew arrived and consisted of 5 young guys from 13-21 years of age, and myself, a 120 pound, upper 50s, grey-haired shepherd. All the crew has to do is to keep up with me. Sound fair enough?
My weakness is having limited lifting strength over my shoulders; hence I became a stacker. The crew did keep up and we put away 1330 square bales in 12 hours. It was a long, hard day but no injuries or break downs. Lots of sore muscles but they will work out with more chores. The harvest was more than acceptable and we are set for another year of winter feed for the livestock.
It is a great feeling to see the hay barn full and to smell fresh hay. The freshly cut pastures look green and perfect. It’s now time to sit back on the deck with that glass of wine that has been waiting for me. Life on the ranch is good!