Friday, September 16, 2005

Baling hay

Wednesday we baled hay. Square bales. Hundreds of them. Baling hay is probably the hardest and most time consuming job here on our little farm. I know this is strange but I like baling hay. Granted, I am not out there hefting these bales onto the farm wagon. I am driving the truck or the tractor and pulling the hay wagon. Sometimes I drive the tractor and bale the hay while the guys load the farm wagon coming behind me.

This time my 7 year old rode with me in the truck pulling the hay wagon while Dad drove the tractor and baled the hay. My youngest decided that his job would be to tell me when to stop and when to go. (He needs a bit more experience!) My 15 year old worked putting the bales on the wagon while my 12 year old stacked them and kept the wagon neat so as to hold as many bales as possible (and pointed out any missed bales).

I enjoyed seeing the cooperation of my kids working together to accomplish a common goal. Of course on each trip back to the barn, my 7 year old had to climb out of the truck and onto the mountain of hay bales with his brothers for the ride. There is also some unusual boy custom that has each one sticking a piece of hay in their mouths to chew on for the trip to the barn. This I never understood....

I love the rhythmic thumping of the baler. It's a comforting sound to me....usually I hate repetitive noise. I love watching the hay elevator taking all those bales into the hayloft while the older ones stack them there. (Occasionally a child will ride a bale into the loft...giggling all the way!) It is a comforting feeling to know that you can provide for your animals come winter. Clean bedding, good food...they will be happy.

It is, for me, akin to canning food. When I look in the hayloft and see the rows of stacked bales, it is the same feeling I get when I look in my pantry shelves and see rows of colorful food lined up and ready to eat. It is seeing a job well done. It is seeing the fruits of our labors. It is knowing that we have provided for our own for yet another season by God's grace. It is being grateful to God for wooing us here, for leading us on this journey of self-sufficiency, for His creation, and for His provisions.


  1. can I ask a question, and maybe you don't know the answer....

    Why is it that so many farmers bale the hay and then leave it in the little bales out on the field?

    Why bale it at all?

    My husband and I see this all the time, and it really bothers us....

  2. Gwen,
    The only reason I can think of is that the bales were rained on and are not suitable for feed anymore. Maybe they don't want to go to the trouble to pick them up. A wet bale will mold and can make your animals very sick.

    We've worked into the we hours on more than one occasion trying to get the bales into the barn before the rain hit...

  3. Thanks, I hadn't thought of that.

    I really like your bread recipe, but I have been having a problem with my mixer. We just bought (just, like a month ago) a KitchenAid 6 qt pro. Unfortunately, every time I make the bread recipe the mixer stops working. I know you don't have a KitchenAid, but you said a friend of yours did. Does she make the whole recipe at once? Or split it up? Does she have problems with her mixer stopping or is it because ours is new?

    I know you are not an expert on this, but I didn't know who else to ask.

  4. Gwen,
    My friend makes 2 loaves at a time so I guess she is cutting my recipe in half. Her mixer does not stop on her...I don't know what model she has but if I were you I would return the mixer and get another one or one with a stronger motor.

    I highly recommend the DLX Assistant - it is one machine that does many things. You can get attachments to grind wheat, flake oatmeal, stuff sausage, knead dough, whip eggs, whip cream, make pasta, grind meat...and much more does it all!

    I don't sell it but you can get it at the Bread Becker's site.


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