July 1, 2014

Hay Season

Nothing brings me back home in my mind like a fresh cut hay field.  As a kid I didn't do much helping my dad with the hay, except for riding around in the stacker with him. So last year when I was in charge of all they haying, you can imagine the fear, and stress that overwhelmed me. Keep in mind I have four young kids to tote along! It's not just the cutting, raking, and baling of the hay that can be intimidating. Don't forget that someone, (me) has to get the equipment attached to the tractor. When I first saw the back of the tractor I was intimidated by everything I saw.

At the bottom of this picture you see some flat iron with a couple of holes. That is the draw bar. This is what pulls your piece of equipment.  Right above the draw bar inside that outline of a box is the PTO, or power take off. This spins around and is what powers your equipment to do it's work. Next is the three point hitch. The two bars at the right and left of the picture are two of the three points. The third is that bar in middle. The three point hitch attaches to some equipment so it can be raised or lowered to adjust the height or distance from the ground. Those little circles with blue and green on them are hydraulic hose attachments. Hydraulic hoses run different parts of the equipment, like to raise and lower an extension, or adjust moving parts  forward or backward. All the attachments are made with heavy iron and they are not easy to hold and put in the right place, at least for a small lady... somehow I managed to get them on. But it's not my favorite thing to do around here. So you can imagine the joy I felt when my husband called from South Carolina at the time and asked how the alfalfa and grass were looking, and that it needed to be cut. Now. Nothing had been set up or readied for me. I had to figure it out. I have to confess that I called a neighbor to help get the sickle bar on. I just couldn't do it by myself. Here it is, all ready to go! Plus my two helpers.

When my husband came home, and was cutting it for the second time, he commented to me that if he was driving even a little too far in either direction he'd miss cutting some of the hay. He said he had no idea how I did it with little kids in the tractor. Frankly, neither do I. Let me just say this. By the time I finished, cutting, raking, baling, and hauling the hay to the stack yard, my tractor looked like the family car after a long vacation. Complete with cracker crumbs, fruit snack wrappers, sippy cups, an extra diaper and wipes, and plenty of toys. It was all in my tractor. I wish I had a picture of that, but it didn't seem too funny at the moment. HOWEVER... we DID get the hay done!

This year my husband was home to help put up the hay. The neighbors came with their double sickle bar and cut it down. Then I raked it and Daniel baled it. We didn't get it hauled off the field so I took care of it. First I had to get the old hay from last year organized. We had some first crop alfalfa, second crop alfalfa, brome hay, and some junk hay that wasn't worth much. So I organized the stack yard and got it ready for the new hay. Stacking hay in nice neat rows with a big tractor takes practice. Practice does not make perfect. Practice creates confidence, which makes perfect.

Ok, so it wasn't completely perfect... I accidentally gouged the ground with the pallet forks once...

I impressed myself with that neat, straight row. It has taken A   LOT of practice though. If you want to get good at something, keep practicing, then when you have confidence it will become second nature, and you will find yourself stacking hay like this, ha ha! Just kidding. Ok, I'm proud of myself for learning something new and becoming proficient at it! What is something you are afraid or nervous to do? Go do it. Then do it again... and again... and again, until you are no longer nervous or afraid. Keep it up and you will be a professional in no time! And you will have gained confidence in yourself that no one can take away from you. Go do something!

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