Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making Hay

Everyone in middle Tennessee has been cutting hay in the last week and we were no exception. Jason and I put the first bales of hay in our new hay barn on Friday and there currently about a hundred 5' x 5' bales in the barn. Hopefully we will be putting up the rest of this cutting in the hay barn tomorrow.

hay baling in process

My job is to drive the hay wagon. I drive around the hay fields from bale to bale while Jason loads them on the wagon with the tractor. Then we have to make our way back to the hay barn and unload the bales. We repeat this process over and over. I'm really good at lining up the wagon in just the right spot so Jason doesn't have to do much maneuvering with the tractor to load the bales. I'm good at driving through any rough or sloped patches of ground without shifting or losing any of the bales.

me driving the truck with the hay wagon attached

There are only two skills that I really need to work on in order to be considered a truly superior hay wagon driver. My backing skills definitely need tweaking. I get the job done, and I usually get it done without any hitches. Jason likes to point out that I'm slow when backing the trailer. I inch my way back slowly, constantly checking in the mirrors to make sure everything is headed in the right direction. Jason on the other hand would just get in the truck, put it in reverse and slam his foot down on the gas, sparing a random backwards glance to verify that everything is where it should be. I fear he wouldn't like the results if I took that approach. But maybe I'll try it tomorrow and see what he thinks. Hey, you only live once.

The ratchet strap. I hate these things.

I am also a total flunkie when it comes to dealing with the ratchet straps. After we have a full load on the wagon we put a strap over the back bales to keep them in place while driving back to the hay barn. Everything about these stupid straps drives me crazy. I can't ever figure out which direction to thread the strap so you can tighten it. I never get this right. Even more embarrassing is that I cannot undo the strap. I pull, squeeze, jiggle, plead, curse - I try everything I can think of - and I can't get the ratchet to release so I can remove the strap. Every. single. load. Jason had to get off the tractor and undo the ratchet because I can never release it.

Putting on one of the evil ratchet straps

As we were unloading the 9th load Jason gets off the tractor to undo the ratchet. He lets out a huge sigh as he comes walking over. I'm sure it is an almost unbearable burden to be married to someone who struggles with ratchet straps. Jason says to me, "you are such a girl sometimes." I had so many comebacks to that statement it was hard to pick just one. So I settled for something along the line of "WTF is your point?"

unloading hay

For once Jason seemed to realize he was right in the middle of the open mouth, insert foot process. I will confess that he rarely seems to realize when this is happening despite me doing everything but hold up a sign that says "SHUT UP NOW FOR YOUR OWN SAKE." For once he seemed to realize he was about to say something really stupid and be without a hay wagon driver, and it was a very refreshing change. The voices in his head must have started yelling "danger, danger, danger" in response to my tone of voice and he immediately started trying to retreat, telling me how great we had been working together and what a fantastic hay wagon driver I was. I very ungraciously told him to just take the stupid strap off so we could carry on.

Jason and I both agree that we prefer a full hay barn over an empty one; we're halfway there.

Aside from our brief moment of discord we enjoyed working together all day as we started filling up the hay barn. The plan is to finish baling and moving hay tomorrow. Maybe I'll throw the truck in reverse and slam my foot down on the gas and see how that goes. Time to live dangerously. Maybe I'll conquer the ratchet strap. The former might happen but I'm thinking there is little hope for the latter.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!


Hanging out; Chili, Clay, Fuzzy, Murphy, Dutch, Wiz and Sebastian

Fonzi and Kennedy having a grooming session over the fence


heading out on their daily exploring mission; Winston, Faune, Gus, Asterik, George and Silver . . .

. . . followed by Fonzi, Chimano and Romeo

Taken a few hours later as they came back from their exploring mission; George, Asterik, Chimano and Romeo

this picture didn't come out as I had hoped but Toledo, Rocky and Clayton looked cute hanging out together

Asterik and Johnny playing over the fence

Tiny, Rampal, Toledo and Johnny

Rocky and Tiny


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Struggling with ratchet straps is a deal breaker in my book... just sayin' ;)

Candy'sGirl said...

FWIW I can't figure out ratchet straps either. I don't know what it is but my husband also has similar reactions. Huge dramatic sighs as he has to stop whatever he's doing and undo them for me.

EvenSong said...

It's SO NICE to get the hay in the barn, without incident--other than the occasional ratchet strap glitch. ;-D I always take a try or two before I get it right, but Al can't figure them out for the life of him. How many acres of hay ground do you guys have, if I may ask...

Jason said...

CFS' Other than ratchet straps she's a keeper. :)

RuckusButt said...

It's so satisfying just looking at your half-full hay barn. Ratchet straps don't enter my life often but I have always felt seemingly unreasonable anxiety just looking at them!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

ES, not a lot, around 60 acres would be my guess, give or take a few acres.

Laura said...

It must be a good feeling to see that hay barn half full...

You guys are very cute with your stories... :-) I would shudder to think of me driving a truck with any kind of trailer. I imagine it wouldn't go well!

Fortunately I neither have to drive a truck/wagon/trailer or deal with ratchet straps...probably best that way. lol

Minus Pride said...

I hate ratchet straps!!!! So, did you jam it in reverse and hit the gas???!!

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

I better not show this post to Pete as it will result in a lecture as to how terrific Melissa is and how well she helps Jason where as I am a total weenie and inept girlie girl who can't back anything up much less something with a trailer attached! I know well what it's like to work with one's husband. We have a joke, any time he would ask me to hold something while he nails it, I would let it slip (inadvertently)and say "oops!" Now he just says, "I wish I had someone who can HELP me". You two do great together and don't worry about the ratchet straps!

SmartAlex said...

I'm good at backing due to where we used to store our horse trailer, and years of fun with the 'nure spreader, but rachet straps are awful. Tim keeps his neatly rolled with rubber bands around them. Not only can I not operate them, but I also cannot roll them right.

Jason said...

First cut's all over with and we have 183 bales in the new hay barn. Off to secure another hundred and then pray for rain for good second cut ! :)

PS. Melissa backed up the trailer like a bat out of hell today and kept it straight as an arrow. Southern girls really are steel magnolias ! Yee haw ! :)

However there are limits. I *still* had to dismount to hook up and unhitch the ratchet straps every load.

CG said...

Ha ratchet straps! I have one pasture that has no water run to it, consequently I usually put the 80gallon trough in the bucket of the tractor and haul it to the house to fill. I can finally work the ratchet after about 2 years of this, but only if its 'my' ratchet strap :)

lytha said...

oh, i did not know you guys made your own hay! on friday ours got baled and taken away - we always have a bet how many bales it will be and i lost this year - it was only 14?! and directly after the tractor and trailer left, the rains came, woo, perfect!

now i have to go move temp. fence so my horse can go back out there in a divided field. he'll be so happy!

i've been worried about letting him out there cuz the equipment always seems to miss some hay, there are some swaths of missed hay out there that is very wet now.

i cannot do the ratchets but i sure admire the father and son team when they do it for us.

i can back a tailer into a spot, but i cannot back a straight line, not at's terrible.

Funder said...

Wow, love the "hay porn" pictures. Nothing makes horse people drool like a barn FULL of beautiful hay! Is it Bermuda? Man do I miss good Bermuda.

Anyway I can't do rachets either. In the fall, G bought some rachet straps to rachet the tarp down on our wood pile and I just walked away when I saw them. An hour later I wandered out, "to get wood," and happened to notice that the tarp was tied down by the nylon straps and the rachety bits were all thrown over in the corner. A man after my own heart!