Monday, November 28, 2005

Hayway to Heaven

I dig farm equipment. Especially the old stuff.

This sign is so cool, it tells you everything you need to know. I have no idea how old this hay elevator is, but it works; we use it at least once a year to put hay in the barn

Doesn't it look like you could climb up and pull a cloud out of the sky? You can't really. We park the elevator on the barn bank, with the top in the haymow door. Then the hay wagon is parked at the bottom of the elevator. Somebody strong and tough, usually my old man, goes into the hay mow to stack up the bales when they drop. I would like to say that another strong person stands on the wagon and heaves the hay bales onto the elevator, but it's usually me and I am neither of those things. It's great when Jethro helps out. He's all brute strength.

It's not an easy job, especially in hot weather which is the time the hay's ready. You have to wear jeans. Don't even think about shorts; the hay stalks are sharp on the ends, and you will scratch your skin. You'll suffer. Only denim and canvas will protect you. I have to wear gloves because of my soft townie hands, but Dad has hands are like leather so he doesn't bother.

It's a hell of a workout! You work you whole body! If the bales are below waist level you have to pick it up by the twines, do the old weightlifting move to get it up to you waist, then flip it onto the elevator. My mom really freaked me out one afternoon a couple of years ago. She got home from work as we were into this job, got out of her car with a big smile on her face, and remarked that she hadn't done this in years. Since they aren't profitable farmers anymore, she doesn't really do chores unless absolutely necessary. So there she is in her uniform, my soft, clean mother, throwing bales around like she'd been doing it every day since. And man, she had the moves down! She flipped those bales onto the elevator perfectly straight. I'd been at it for about an hour and I was still dropping them crooked and they'd fall off. Then as I stood slack-jawed, (kinda normal for me actually), she pleasantly announced that she was going into the house for a rest and then start supper. What a woman. I can only aspire to such amazingness.

My kids aren't big enough to help haying yet. But they will. If you want to have cheap board for your horses, you will sling hay bales. I feel kinda sorry for kids who don't get opportunities to feel this dog tired after a job. You ache, but you feel like you accompished something. And you know what? There is nothing like the smell of hay.

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