Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

A Day in the Life of

Another day, the opportunity to make more hay comes up, and we jump on it. A friend of hubby’s cut his tall, native grass fields, and offered it to us. Who says no to such a generous offer, certainly not us. The girlchild’s boyfriend headed off with his old, Oliver tractor and somewhat newer, yet still vintage baler, and we weren’t far behind.
Though blazing hot out, there was no time to waste simply sitting around, contemplating life. There was work to be done, before the baler arrived, and we had to get at it. The girlchild and I busied ourselves straightening windrows of fragrant, green hay, while hubby jumped on one of his friend’s tractors, to do a bit of raking. It’s not hard work, yet it certainly can be tedious. The intensity of the heat and sun beating down, is rather exhausting, and it wasn’t very long, before sweat was wandering down, as one’s body attempted to cool off. Perspiration may be the bodies way of cooling off, but it sure does make a lovely coating of hay chaff stick really well. Not only do those little bits of hay and dust stick rather uncontrollably, they also sift down through your hair and into your top.
Between breaks to grab a drink of water to soothe a dry throat and mouth, watching to make sure the resident, old dog didn’t jump into the path of the equipment, and moving bales out of the way, it was a busy few hours. The old dog was a lot harder to keep an eye on than it should’ve been. Doddering about the field in the heat, that black dog hunted mice and checked for dog cookies with equal enthusiasm. More than once, I had to catch it around the neck, lest it chase a mouse right into the working baler.
The sight of the tractors moving here and there around the field was satisfying, especially as one lovely, green bale after another, chugged out along the windrows. One after another they dropped with a satisfying thud, until it was time to fetch the truck and trailer and begin loading up. Picking up bales that sweetpea had stacked in small piles here and there, I was pleased at what we were getting off the few acres. Sore finger from the near amputation or not, I still managed to load a good many by myself. It wasn’t that great for the cortisone shot I’d recently had, but when there’s work to do, there’s no shirking allowed. Everyone pitches in.
Away to the back the girlchild and I went, like on a scavenger hunt, or better yet, treasure hunt, as hay is a treasure in a bad year when it’s scarce. By this time, there was already a couple of layers of hay on the trailer, and it was a decent toss up. The inevitable result of tossing up a bale of hay, is a faceful of itchy, scratchy chaff. Nevermind a faceful of the stuff, it went everywhere. Descending upon me with a thoroughness that was predictable, I couldn’t tolerate the unpleasantness that had been building with every bale I lifted. After a quick look around to make sure sweetpea’s beau wouldn’t forever be scarred, I swiftly began to sweep away scads of chaff and, to my horror, a grasshopper. Now, anyone who has read my ‘Tails’, will have picked up on the fact that I’m not a fan of bugs. Sure, I like butterflies, dragonflies and a few others, but grasshoppers aren’t a part of the acceptable list, or maybe it should be the tolerated list. Anyway, I couldn’t get that grasshopper out of my top fast enough. It was looking at me, I swear it’s true. How I managed to keep from losing it out in that hay field is beyond my comprehension, but somehow, I managed it. Of course the girlchild rolled her eyes and sigh. Of course she did. She’s not the one who gets freaked out by bugs. She actually doesn’t get freaked out by any critters, big or small.
By the time it was all said and done, we had near a hundred bales of quality grass hay. Sweetpea had helped load most of them, then off I went to pick up some random bales on the other side of the yardsite. This time, hubby and I threw the bales up atop the three tiers together. On the count of three, and sometimes one, we managed it with a good deal of laughter. We’re certainly not what we used to be. Another shirtful of chaff, yet another grasshopper (honestly, it’s a conspiracy), and this time, hubby had a good chuckle at my swift reaction. Still, I bravely carried on loading hay, despite the grasshopper horror.
Along came sweetpea and just like that, she tosses those bales like they didn’t weigh a good sixty pounds or more. Oh to be young and strong like that again.
Heading home with a trailer load, is a wonderful thing indeed. The horses appreciate our efforts as well. What’s not to like? Almost free, beautiful hay, is just as tasty as the expensive stuff, grasshoppers notwithstanding.

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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