Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

    The best friend and worst enemy of the farmer is the weather.  We pray for rain,  long for dry weather, hope the rains hold off in time for hay to be cut and gathered.  It's a complicated farucca with tempo shifts and changing moves, this dance of the farmer and the weather.
     Thus is was with us last week.  We were late getting the hay cut this year, as we had been out of the country,  and the rain came daily upon our return.  We finally got a break, and got some of the pasture cut, then we got the hay rake hooked up to our old Ford tractor, only to have the tractor randomly stall and need half an hour to cool off before starting up again.
  The next day we were ready to bale. Ancient bailer hooked up - check.  Knotter working - check.  gas in the tractor - check, check.  My husband started bailing, and it clogged - our wind rows were too wide.  So we raked them out into thinner  rows and started again.
  Aa-aa-nd the  tractor stalled.  We needed to wait until the following day to try again.
    Things started to go well, then another issue.  This is when things started to change. Other farmers are your bullpen in tricky times, or so we have found.   A friend (the gentleman who helped to build the barn) just stopped by because he was in town, and he and  my husband  greased the bailer and suddenly it worked.   Another friend - the one who created our pond on the farm - also just popped by.  We were all watching the thunder clouds rolling in, so once the bailer started working, we were all throwing bales into the back of our truck, and Brian's truck, and Tom's truck and getting them down the hill to the barn.  Still, there was a lot of un-baled hay when the PTO on the baler broke. Without this part intact, no baling happens.  Our ancient tractor has parts that cannot always be picked up easily at the Tractor Supply Store, so we had to come up with some other way to get the remaining hay in.    Call to the bullpen.
        A neighboring farmer, whom we had never met, but wave to daily as he drives past with his huge newer tractor and round baler, happened past, and my husband flagged him down.  He pulled in and after some "getting to know you chat",  mostly about equipment,  he agreed to get his "baling guy" to swing by at the end of the day and  bale up the rest of the field.  No charge, no trade, just a neighbor helping out a neighbor.  So we had four round bales in the field that evening, and managed to get them in the barn before the rain came.
     If you want to make friends, buy a farm.  Seriously, when the chips are down, farmers have your back.

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