I never blog much in July.
Because life just feels like a runaway train most of the time. (Except warmer, and a little bit sweatier.)
Last weekend we hayed. Which means – in essence – I parented solo while Pete fixed the tractor (and re-fixed the tractor); cut and raked and baled some hay; fixed the baler and baled more hay. He dropped to sleep sore and exhausted at the end of the day.
And then it was time to load and stack bales.
Which is when the work really begins. (Or at least for me.)
Talking to one-time-farm-kids about stacking bales bring them an obvious wash of memories of many kinds. There is this proud/tormented far-away look that clouds their eyes, and then they share stories of the scent of fresh hay they recall from their childhood and the work they once did helping parents or grandparents or neighbors with hay.
I'm sure the four of us will get that same expression on our own faces years from now when conversations drift to putting up hay, or when we see a line of square bales across a ridge top field.
And so on Saturday Pete and I (with some help from the kids and my mom) threw 325 or so bales of hay into the truck or onto the trailer, stacked them, drove them up to the barn, unloaded, stacked them again, and headed back for another round. And another. And another. After my mom and the kids headed up for bed, Pete and I worked long into the darkness as a storm was coming and any hay left in the field would be a loss. There was no wimping out. We had to push through. At one point I recall laying face down in the field between bales, then worrying that I might be run over because it was already growing dark. I crawled back to my feet and grabbed another bale.
It was seriously hard work. But doing the math as we stacked Pete realized this single day was nearly $1000 worth of organic hay, so I decided it was worth it. We got the last bale in the barn after 10:00, then dragged ourselves up to the house in darkness.
It was brutal, but strangely satisfying.
Muscles hurt that I didn't even know I had. A beetle fell out of my hair when I stepped into the shower that night, and I heart Pete mutter as he undressed for his shower, "I look like a hay bale." We woke after 8:30 the next morning, a full two or three hours after we normally rise.
Honestly we've never put up this much hay in one day. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. (Which I'm glad for, really.) It's been two days and my whole body still hurts. Even my fingers ache. I had to ask Sage to grate ginger for dinner last night because I couldn't do it.
And yet, few farm projects are so satisfying as bringing in the hay. To see the barn stacked 12 feet high with homegrown sweet organic hay? Well that's something we (and our flock) will appreciate all winter long.
And yes, we'll do it again before the summer is out.
I think I can handle that… as long I don't have to do it today.