Lebanon Reporter

Columns

April 3, 2014

Down on the farm and up to my neck in silage

I wasn’t born on a working farm but when I reached the age of 13 or so, I decided that I needed to make some spending money. Somehow I ended up working on two or three farms while I was growing up. Luckily, I never had to spend any time with pigs, just some lovable and sometimes stubborn brown-eyed cattle on occasion. Thankfully, I never was involved with the care of any type of poultry either. During my summers, baling hay and straw was the main thing that kept my pocket full of money. Despite the heat and humidity, I really enjoyed spending an entire day attempting to stay on a hay wagon without falling off. Due to some good balancing acts on my part, I never did take a dive off of one of those wagons.

Baling hay was never an early morning task because most mornings the hay would be wet from the nighttime dew. On a good day, we might get started around eleven in the morning. Of course, before the hay could be baled it had to be cut and raked into windrows, which I never had a part in doing. On occasion, the hay would be wrapped in wire, which made the bale weigh somewhere around 120 pounds. But even though I was a strapping and strong young football player, I much preferred baling with twine as then the bales only weighed about 80 pounds.

Only once did I invite a friend of mine to come spend the day behind a hay baler with me, and boy did I regret that decision. Within the first hour or so he was complaining about it being too hot and sticky, along with his arms being constantly scratched up from the hay. Sometime after lunch he went to throw a bale of hay up to about seven bales high and forgot to let go of the twine. He then took a dive off the wagon. He left that day and never returned to any fields that I know of.

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