I used to dread haying time. Now it’s almost a rush, if things click. Emily and Ramah go back to the field to rake the second part, while Mom, Grace and I harness and hitch the big four-horse team to the baler. A few empty wagons bring up the rear as our procession crosses the road, makes its way back the driveway between the neighbors’ houses and enters the field.
Mom takes Emily’s spot on the rake and Emily grabs the lines at the head of the baling column. We came. We saw. We baled.
We begin with one of the outside rounds. My job, on the wagon, is to monitor the quality and weight of the bales, make adjustments to the baler accordingly and stack the bales on the moving wagon.
Any farm-raised boy can do this stacking, but it is still gratifying to see a well-balanced load rise on the wagon as I stack the bales like pieces in a puzzle.
Emily’s job, steering the horses pulling the baler, while not so physically strenuous, still takes a level of skill, specially on the “inside-out” left turns we’re making on this first round. As we go past one corner, I see that Emily didn’t get it all. I think there’s probably enough left on the ground to feed Job’s camels for a day. I don’t say that out loud to Emily. Uh, uh. Not yet.
Emily does guide the baler well, though, and gets most of the hay gobbled up. She really is a good horsewoman. This just makes it more fun when she messes up occasionally.
We finish the outside round, switching wagons as they are filled and point the baler toward the middle of the field. Emily raked this part earlier today and didn’t listen — or she misunderstood — or we had a miscommunication on how to rake it. Bottom line, a few of the rows in the middle are thicker than they should be. Now Emily has to hold the horses back to a slow walk and even stop them sometimes so the baler can keep up.
There is nothing slow about the rear of the baler though. With all this hay going in its mouth, our trusty New Holland is kicking out bales at a rapid clip. Beachy scrambles to keep up on the wagon.