Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Always Good

You ever attempt to do something knowing you don't have all the ducks in a row, but them ducks will probably line up by the time they are all needed?

Baling hay is one of those variables that depends on equipment, weather, luck and need.

You need good equipment...old is alright, but serviceable.

You need at least 3 days of decent weather, preferably warm enough to dry grass.

You need to have something in mind to do with the hay once it's "gotten in". You can feed your stock, horses, cattle; sell to unfortunates who have forage animals, or have organic gardeners that need mulch hay.

You need a fair amount of luck.

I have recounted this story before...a farmer was accustomed to haying with horses, and building hay stacks, or carting loose hay to the barn and putting it in the hay maw. His son talked him into a tractor and a baler. Things were going fine, until the baler broke down in the middle of the field, and a thunder storm was brewing...he knew nothing of balers; all he wanted was hay in the barn or on a hay pole. In his frustration he announced to his son that the solution to the problem was more complex than the problem itself. All he wanted was hay in the barn, not to learn how to work on hay balers.

I got the old Ford 505 sickle bar mower out, sharpened the cutter bar, and proceeded to mow. Worked like a charm. Next came the problem.

Baling? Folks that's where the poo hit the proverbial fan.

My baler is a very simple machine. It's looks like a giant cigarette rolling machine. It rolls hay into a roll 4 foot tall, wraps some string around it to keep it from unrolling, and spits it out the back door.

I spent a while last winter rebuilding parts of the hay pickup, and had the tailgate lift cylinders rebuilt. I hooked it to the tractor before I started this process, just to make sure every thing went round and round. It did. Good!

I had my confidence with me, dry hay in the windrows, a beautiful 80 degree day. Things were going swimmingly. That didn't last long. I no more than started on the first windrow, when I heard a POP! Broken drive chain, caused by the hay pickup chain trying to eat itself. Did a pretty good job, too.

Frustrated? furious? upset? Nope, it was expected. Nothing I could have done differently. I had to have hay on the ground to try the baler...Catch 22.

Matt came over a pronounce the baler dead. He offered a solution to the problem.

"Let's go see Uncle Johnny and see if you can use the square baler It looks to be about 150 bales, and should take about an hour and a half". So said, so done. Two hours later and 180 bales later, problem solved, hay done, me happy. MY baler still broke, and will probably stay that way. We aren't speaking yet.

Oh, I forgot one other VERY IMPORTANT thing you need to know about haying. It's always good to have good friends with backup balers, in case your junkyard special decides to eat itself.

Anybody need hay, cheap?

1 comment:

  1. What about ANnie Shields? She always needing hay. Also, my husband is totally eat up with fire ant bites from helping you. But he had fun.