Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hay Day


Sometimes I am taken back to a time long, long ago when we were all experiencing a Serengeti Lifestyle and things were shared. There would be a kill and everyone in the village got to share in the bounty.

Today there are similar events where we all pay taxes and get to share in things like roads and schools and this is all pretty commonplace in our non Serengeti lifestyles. However I was taken back to the modern savanna last week.

This is the time of year when groups of people get together and buy truck loads of hay. A small group of us waited on at a local savanna for the hunters to deliver. With pick-up trucks with trailers, we waited to claim their portions of the harvest.

We are talking about the goods that will get horses through the winter. We are talking about Eastern Oregon orchard grass. This is the highest octane horse food next to alfalfa on the planet. Local sources are selling the 75 lb bales of this stuff for over $19 each. Buying by the truckload brings the price down to about $16 per bale.

The triple trailer with 34 tons arrives nearly on time. The straps are removed and the squeeze swings into action. The squeeze is a machine that looks like a cross between a mini semi truck and a fork lift with crab like claws in the front that squeezes and carries 50 bales at a time. The bales are set on the ground next to the vehicles where hired help loads your hay for you or assists you.

Within a half hour all the hay is gone and a row of over-loaded pick-up trucks can be seen driving slowly like a parade down the road followed by an empty triple trailer semi and a squeeze littering the roads with the hay that got away from some of the bales.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha Ha. Yeh, I thought of the article you wrote two years ago as I was commuting back and forth on hwy 101 last week. saw the hay on the highway and met an oncoming overloaded toyota, chevy or ford full of hay. I grinned as i past these hard working folks.

And I am grinning now as I type.

8:06 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I see a fellow drive buy here several times with a trailer loaded with round bales. Seems like hundreds of trips. He is a hard worker. Cutting, drying raking into wind rows, baling, hauling, putting up and feeding... It's a commitment that few understand. Even on the small scale in which I operate, it sometimes seems daunting.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous g said...

It's the farmer mentality. Make hay while the sun shines. You either got it or you don't. My in-laws just spent the past few days mowing the fields and my brother in law and I are the labor force. Of course, the barn is just a tractor/trailer ride away. The kids love it and this experience will be a good memory for them some day.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous cb said...

Know anyone with some of last year's hay still around that they want to get rid of cheap? I need about twenty bales.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Auntie said...

Well, I B ! Sounds like CB's done gonna get tugether a hoot-a-nanny. Goll durn if she don't invite me.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Ah! Memories of weeks, weeks, and more weeks spent cutting, tedding, raking, baling, collecting, trucking, conveying, and stacking fodder in the barns. Hard, long days, somehow spent happily in good company and followed by a dip in the lake, a good meal, and sound sleep in the cedar smelling cottage by the lake, accompanied by occasional owl calls & awakening to the loons cry:)

11:03 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

g you have to make it while it shines or you'll have rotten moldy hay by the time winter comes around.

CB, there is no such thing as cheap hay. You may want to get some straw.

Auntie, I don't know what she's up to. BTW nice seeing you yesterday, and yes I did shave.

Mike, Exactly!

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked a haying crew for three summers. The equipment was ancient, dangerous and prone to breaking down, but we'd do hundreds of acres in a few weeks time.

The baling machine was so old it had just a canvas top that had long ago rotted away. We had replaced it with an old tarp that kept some sun off but none of the heat, dust or bugs. Driving it was the worst job, far worse than bucking bales. Because I was the smallest person on the crew I usually ended up driving the damn thing. I started out every day with two frozen gallon bottles of water under my seat and a bottle of salt tablets. By noon I'd drunk all the water and was dieing for more. I think I went through 5 or 6 gallons a day.

It was really good money, they fed us breakfast and lunch, dinner too if the weather kept us working more tan 9 or 10 hours. The second time I passed out from severe heat stroke I had to quit.

1:41 PM  

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