The Recipe for Hay


This week’s Heads or Tails topic is:  Recipe

When I saw this posted last week, I figured I was going to share a boring (but delicious) recipe for Napa Cabbage.  But that will have to wait for another day.  Today I decided to share the recipe (at least in part) for Hay.  I know there have to be people out there who are dying to know how to make hay, but who just haven’t found the recipe.  Let me help you out. 

Here’s what you need:

One Misty Morning.  If you swing around to look behind you, it might look like this:

Throw in one tractor – with mower contraption attached

For good measure and a little excitement, try fighting one of these. . . INSIDE the tractor cab.  I mean right by my face.

If anyone knows their spiders, maybe you can help out with identification.  Here’s a better picture (BTW – I stopped the tractor to take these marvelous shots, in case you’re wondering)  I didn’t crop the picture this way – the spider was crawling out of my range, and I got it just in time.  Right before I took the dust pan to fling that thing out of the window.

Okay – back to the recipe.  Sorry for that little diversion.



After you have a field, a morning, and a tractor, oh, and a reluctant (or not) farm chik, add time. A lot of time.  Like 8 hours, maybe.  With some crazy people who just happened to show up for work today to build the barn.  Or no, maybe just to watch the crazy chik in the tractor.  How many times will she get hung up on a fence line?  And how will she maneuver out of the fence line?  And I wonder what she’ll do if we walk across the field toward her to ask for 2-cycle gas because we didn’t bring enough.

Okay – those are the ingredients for this step.  Now comes the procedure.  Brace yourselves.  I know – you can hardly stand it.  Me either.

Go through the motion of getting everything started.  Luckily the key in the ignition with a turn brought about some rumbling.  That might be a good sign.  Let the motor warm up. 

Don’t move any of the mower adjustments – they’re exactly where they should be (as per Prince Farming). 

Start the mower motor (PTO) by lifting up the yellow knob and turning it.  No, turn it the other way.  Okay. 

Speed up the tractor motor (also the PTO then, since it’s engaged) to 2,000 thingys (whatever that term is).  You know that’s happened, because the needle hovers over the 20.   Good grief. 

Then put the one gear lever into "B" range and shift the other one into 2nd.  Or 3rd.  Whichever you can handle.  (WHAT can I handle?) 

Take your foot off the clutch.  Then hang on.  For dear life.  And be careful around the corners. 

And watch the mower.  Don’t run over anything (I’m assuming other than hay).

And if you hear any funny sounds, turn it off.  Or slow down. 

And if the belt seems too loose, then tighten it one turn (Okay – there’s a whole ‘nother blog entry called "if the belt seems too loose")  HOW will I know if the belt is too loose?  Will it jump off? 

And, by the way,  the thing always makes a funny noise.  If I turned it off every time there was a funny noise, I’d spend the day turning it on, and then turning it off. 

And watch the mower. 

If one were to watch the mower, how would one know where to steer?  And what exactly would one be watching for, if one were to keep one’s eyes glued to the mower.  Theres a thingy that spins around and around at an alarming rate.  And there’s something rubbing on something else that makes an alarming sound.  But one can’t be exactly sure about what one is watching.  Back there.  One should rather keep one’s eyes facing in the forward direction with a possible, but only occasional, backward glance through the rear-facing window.  (Don’t tell Prince Farming.)

Here’s the bottom line:

I mowed for 8 hours.  All that I missed were 2 huge fields, one tiny field, and a part of a field around a pond/swamp, which I studiously avoided so I wouldn’t get stuck in the mud (did that once before – last year – had to wait to be pulled out of the mud by Prince Farming’s dad. . . who happens to be one of my all time favorite people in the entire world – and not just because he pulled me out of the mud.  Without negative comments.  And only a few snide remarks.)

So today will be the rest of the fields.  Actually I think I’ll tackle the two big fields.  That’s it.  And not even the one whole big field, because that field is on a precipice.  And tractors, me, and precipices don’t mix so very well.  Not friendly at all.  Nope.  I’ll just do the flatish parts.

After mowing the hay, it has to be fluffed (not by me – I’m not allowed to touch the fluffer – aww shucks!).  Then it has to be raked (which to me, takes more skill than fluffing, but I’m allowed required to do that).  And then baling.  Not by me.  Then hauling.  By me.  Maybe I’ll post some of those pictures on Friday.  Ooi, this week is not going how I planned it to go.  Which is just how farming is.  You farm when the farming needs to be done.  Just plan on it.

This is the 2nd cutting of hay.  The first was much better qualify.  Tall grass, lush clover.  The 2nd cutting has more weeds.  But it’s also more pretty.  Here are a couple of things I shot through the window before I plowed over and mowed them flat.

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