Our hay got baled Saturday. I have to confess, I was stressing over it.
When it had been cut, we had a seven day weather forecast that was clear and dry. But Saturday morning that forecast had been changed to a fairly good possibility of scattered showers during the later part of the afternoon. Not a good omen after waiting a month for a dry enough stint of weather to get good horse hay made.
Commence stress level increase.
Both DD1 and DD2 had commitments that would keep them away from home until after dinner on Saturday. On Friday, DH had woken up with a knot in his shoulder that sent pain up his neck and limited movement of his arm, shoulder, and neck. All of which meant the less hay we had to put into the barn, the better. Also meaning if I could sell hay out of the field, without having to touch it after it came out of the baler, the more chance we had of actually getting good dry hay stored for our use, and sold to others for at least the same price as I was being charged for the custom baling.
In an attempt to sell as many of the 'extra' bales as possible, I put an ad on Craigslist that I would have hay for sale, out of the field, for $1 less per bale than the current going rate, Saturday only. I even posted on Facebook about having hay available on Saturday afternoon.
As of noon on Saturday, there were no replies of anyone wanting to come get hay out of the field (ie, hay that we would not need to put up in the barn). I didn't want to put more hay in the barn than the 350 bales I was planning to keep for my horses to eat in the coming year. I really doubted the durability of DH's shoulder, our hay elevator was dead, and I'm not capable of standing on the hay wagon and throwing hay up into the loft like DH is. Well, like he is without a bum shoulder.
Continue stress level increase.
I was expecting 100 bales to the acre, and there were seven acres to bale. With just two of us to unload and stack all that hay (plus get 350 bales of it twelve feet up to the loft where it would still need to be stacked), and one of us not in top form, I was really stressing. One-thirty p.m., the sky was clouding up, and still no replies to my Craigslist or Facebook postings. The baler would be here any minute now. . .
Add upset stomach to stress level; ironically caused by nearing stress level threshold.
But then a carload of teenage boys showed up with the tractor, baler and hay wagons. Plus two young men in their early twenties who were part of the family we'd hired to cut and bale our hay. Turns out the family had three fields down, all of which they'd been hired to do and waited on a long stretch of good weather, all of which had to be baled before it rained, and they'd called in a working crew of available high school guys to help with unloading wagons so the baling could continue uninterrupted. To beat the rain, as so often goes with haying, and had been every hay farmer's nemesis this year.
Hallelujah, God is good! Six young, strong bodies to help us two forty-somethings with all that dang hay. (Funny how hay goes from good: hooray, it's cut and dry!--to bad: oh my gosh, how are we going to deal with 700 bales of hay?!?--to good again: abundant hay, baled dry, and stacked in the barn).
Open stress relief valve, suddenly lowering stress level to nearly non-existent.
Now all we had to do was beat the rain.
Well, 720 bales and five hours later, all the hay was put up in the barn, safely stored from the passing sprinkles that did come briefly--say three minutes--our way. The hay crew had gone home, the tractor and baler and wagons gone too. DH and I had a shower (oh, the sweat and hay chaff!!), dinner, and a few beers. His shoulder was actually in perfect condition, not giving him any discomfort at all. It was a good end to a day of hard work.
That was when he looked at me and said "How is it that two old people" (meaning us) "outworked a bunch of teenagers?"
Which was true. When it came to hefting, toting, and stacking bales, we'd worked those kids hard, and sometimes still had to wait for them to catch up to us. And it had been DH throwing those 350 bales up into the loft from the wagons, with me jumping out of the loft down onto the wagons to hand him bales once he'd thrown the top two tiers from each one. All the teens had done the easier work, stacking bales in the loft or throwing them down off the wagon into the bottom of the barn, where my 'for sale' hay had been put. DH and I had stacked as well, but we'd also done the hardest of the work, the throwing hay over our heads.
We might be old, but we've still got it. ;0)