Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

The Neverending Hay Story

In all the years of putting up hay, I never hurt myself, until now. Sure, I tore some suspensory ligaments and other such nonsense once, but that was from hopping down from a pickup truck tailgate onto uneven ground, and doesn’t count … not really. Another time, a friend was helping me move two thousand small squares from a field to my farm, and though a city girl, she was somehow able to work more steadily than I. It was so weird, yet for as accustomed as I was to hard, physical work, I could only move a few bales, before I would have to sit and rest. It wasn’t until a few more weeks went by that my lethargy made sense. I was carrying my first child, the boy. I suppose that’s as good an excuse as any for slacking, at least a little.
Many bales of all sizes and weights have been moved over the years, some have been loaded then fed by hand, and some were loaded, hauled and fed by machine. It was all very necessary, and an unavoidable part of keeping animals like horses. They need to eat. It’s as simple as that, and they need good, quality hay in quantities that they will thrive on. Never one to feed grains and supplements, unless required because of very old age and compromised health, or the growing needs of the very young, I prefer to feed horses, as they’ve been designed to thrive on. Thousands upon thousands of years, of adapting to feed and environment, makes more sense to me than the latest feeds, supplements, oils and potions.
There must be some method and sense to my madness, as we’ve never foundered a horse, though we’ve certainly owned several over the years. The horses don’t suffer from ulcers, colic or any of the other many afflictions that seem all too common nowadays. It seems to me that people have been led to believe that all these extras are absolutely necessary to insure a healthy horse. I say it takes a good quality, clean hay, and enough of it. Shiny, healthy plump horses that generally live to be very old indeed, back up this statement, but I digress. This story is about hay, and the risks of making it.
All the years I made hay, even from my teen years, I was well aware of the risks. There were any number of moving parts that could maim, dismember or injure in some way. I made sure to shut down moving parts before climbing off the tractor. Kept my hands out of harms way, and was very careful around pickups, tines and augers. A second of carelessness, a single mistake, could create an injury of regret. This is what recently happened to me.
I wasn’t out making hay, but I was assisting with the multiple breakdowns. When using old equipment, some of it eighty to a hundred years old, as a matter of fact, breaking down is a somewhat common and expected occurrence. The ancient, sickle mower we’ve been using, has given more than it’s fair share of grief. Thank goodness for a husband who is a true, Mister Fix it. That man can fix and repair most anything, most of the time, to better than new. I’m the holder of this and that. The runner for tools as well as this and that. I am, to all intents and purposes, the gopher. I go fer this and run fer that, to assist the man who does the repairs.
The last repair I assisted with was also the occasion of my first real injury. Though I had been mindful of where I was putting my hands, where my fingers were in relation to the cutting knives, I made a momentary mistake, and could well have lost the end of one finger. As my hubby said as he drove me to the hospital, I’m getting old, but my bones are still strong. The knife of the mower was halted by a finger bone. Not that it initially felt like it, because for a few moments there, I thought one digit, had surely been shortened.
Buying hay can be expensive, and making it dangerous, yet not if you’re careful and never complacent. I learned a painful lesson, and hope my experience keeps others safe.

  1. How’s it looking now??? Stitches out??? I ask you a long time ago if you still did hay or if you bought it you said buy????? And are you buying this year???? Are you off AHW( aging horse woman)❤️❤️🤠

    • We buy but are making some this year. There’s such a shortage, so we decided to bale the small amount extra we could. Still on the group, but having Facebook issues.

  2. Wow that looks painful !!

  3. Feel better soon

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB