Last summer I spent quite a bit of time telling you about the process of doing hay. For city people, it’s quite an education. I am still learning – in fact every time I get on the tractor, it’s like learning all over again. Well, this year I learned something new. It’s a bit embarrassing, these lessons of mine. But I feel like you need to know. I mean, if you ever get thrown onto a farm (willingly or reluctantly) I want you to have the knowledge that I wish I’d have had before this process. It’s like the parent who wishes their kids would learn from their mistakes and not let their kids learn from personal experience. It doesn’t always happen that way, but at least I’m doing my part.
One day I was in a store – can’t remember which store. I saw this, and thought it was a sort of gag item. Something that might have been sold around April Fool’s day or maybe Halloween.
Doing research for this post, I happily stumbled across this:
Let me ‘splain. It’s been hay time again. And while I’ve helped fairly extensively in past years, there’s always been reprieve. Prince Farming’s dad and his help have come over, and Prince Farming has done at least one of the processes himself, so my time on the tractor was broken up. But this time I had to mow, fluff, and rake three huge fields. Normally I mow with a tractor that has an air-conditioned cab. But on my way down the hill when I tried to raise the mower arm, there was a hydraulic hose in just a wrong spot, and the hose got pinched and broke, rendering the hydraulic system useless. With very little time to spare (rain in the forecast), I parked that tractor, and rode over to Prince Farming’s dad’s farm and borrowed their mower, which was already conveniently attached to their tractor. An open cab with a canopy. No worries, I can handle an open cab. Never mind that this tractor has to be started, not with a key, but with a loose wire that you hold to two spots and it kicks on. That’s another post though. So I got started mowing, and only an hour later than I’d hoped. The shade of the canopy was good, but it was still hot. I was in shorts and flip-flops, and figured I’d probably get a bit of sun, which couldn’t be a bad thing. First day – all the mowing was done.
Second day – on to fluffing (or teddering, for those of you who can’t stay on the farm when the word fluffer is used). This time I could use our own tractor – but not the air-conditioned cab one. The little cub cadet – also with a canopy – was the vehicle of use (not choice). I don’t love this process because I can’t see where I’ve been as clearly as when I mow or rake, but it’s a necessary process to help in the drying of the hay. I got all the fields teddered, and went to bed exahausted. Spending 6-8 hours on a tractor might sound like a lazy day, but my body was sore and my mind numb. I woke with a start at 2am. It was POURING RAIN on my freshly cut and teddered hay. That means that instead of raking first thing in the morning, I had to go over and fluff all over again. So there I was – on the open tractor. Let me paint a little word picture for you. It’s HOT. The fields are BUMPY. On the sides of hills, you can barely keep yourself from sliding off the seat. And you’re SWEATING. The combination of wet, sweaty shorts, very bumpy, slidey riding . . . well. Here. This might give you a better idea.
This is what spending endless days on a tractor leaves you feeling like. I’m not kidding. Prince Farming came home from work when I was just done with the teddering and suggested I take a break. I was SO relieved. I really didn’t want him on the tractor much – especially on the bumpiest of fields because he hurt his back a few weeks ago, and I didn’t want him to aggravate the injury. His dad came over to help bale. I’m not sure how the conversation went between them, but Prince Farming made it known that I needed a break from the tractor seat for a while. He finished raking and his dad did the baling. And my butt got a break.
It took a couple of days to feel totally better, but I was able to go back out and load the hay bales onto the trailer and bring them to the barn before too much more time went by. And I wasn’t on the open tractor for long enough to aggravate my injury.
There. Consider yourselves educated. And warned.