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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Make Hay While The Sun Shines


Its an old expression my Dad often used and today I took it literally. We have had a few days without rain and I swathed some hay on Saturday. Drying well on the surface but underneath the hay was still green and damp so today I used the wheel rake to turn all the swaths over.
Working on my grandfathers farm I often think of the differences in how I make hay and how he used to do it. While I might complain about the mosquitos I realize it used to be a lot worse. A team of horses on an old ground drive mower cutting maybe 6 feet. A steel seat that must have been extremely uncomfortable and left a long lasting impression on your backside.
They would also use a horse powered rake to gather the hay into rows, then out with the pitchforks to "coil" the hay into small , weatherproof stacks to dry further.
Some days later they'd head back to the field with wagons (hayracks) and horses to load the hay on and haul it to the yard to stack for winter's use. They were some tough individuals to endure the long hot days in the hayfields each summer.
Tomorrow I will sit in the air conditioned cab listening to CBC talk radio while I roll up hay into round bales that can then be loaded by front end loader onto a trailer for the long (5 miles) drive home. We have come a long way in the way we handle hay.

4 comments:

  1. That is an interesting rake. I have never seen one like it.
    I started making hay as a kid with a MM Jetstar that was completely worn out and a JD number 9 sickle bar mower. Three feet and it would plug up. Over the years we moved up to a diskmower and the farm that took me a month to do, I did this year in a week.
    My helper decided to strike out on his own as start baling. He bought nicer stuff than i have now. $32,000 nice little tractor and a brand new little Hesston baler. It should not be legal to start making hay with new equipment. You need to start out suffering or you don't appreciate it...

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  2. Budde, that rake is a Pollard, built in the U.S.A. as far as I know. And I've said the same as you many times, these young guys that start out running million dollar machinery can't truly appreciate it unless they have put in a few years out in the heat, dust and noise running old clunkers. I've been there and I know how good it is now. (Even though most of my stuff is far from new)

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  3. Yup, he called me when his baler wouldn't tie. How do I know so much about balers. Well... We ran the oldest hunk of junk baler (Freeman 25A) for way too long. We have never been able to afford a new baler. Heck, there was a time we could afford to buy knotter parts. I've rebuilt knotter frames with a welder, I dug knife arms out of the trash and ground out the grooves with a die grinder. I've seen dad weld needles and braze up the twine holes.
    AND...We have not had a cab and A/C while baling/mowing for all that long. Perhaps 6 years?
    (Obviously I have strong opinions here...)

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  4. Balers are living things that like to appear in nightmares. Once bought a JD 14T at a consignment auction. Looked fine, turned it over by hand, tripped the knotters and all was well. Came summer I hooked it up to a tractor and discovered the main drive shaft was broken inside the gear box. Jagged break, it held when hand turned but not so much at 540 rpm. $650 lesson.

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