Thursday, June 14, 2012

Murphy's Law - the hay version

If it can go wrong, it will go wrong, and for the past week it HAS gone wrong. This has been the most frustrating hay season we've ever had. And, we aren't even done yet! 

This is what is supposed to happen. (Follow the links if you'd like to read about how it happened last year.)
First the hay is cut, and then it dries for a day or two. The last step is baling. Farmer John and his dad get the baler hooked up and then drive around the field to bale. 

Someone (usually me) moves the bales into piles, which makes it easier and more efficient to pick up. 

Then they get thrown onto the tailgate of the truck...

 ...and stacked on the truck, before going back to the barn to be unloaded.

The above photos were taken when we baled the hay from our lower field. This is the field where all the pipeline work was done. We knew there wouldn't be as much hay from that field this year. We only got 45 bales. There may be more if we do a second-cutting in that field, since it has been reseeded. 

So, the first field went well. Farmer John, his dad, and I could do all of it ourselves. But, it all went downhill from there. The next day they raked the upper-field and the tractor tire went flat. 

The next day, after fixing the tractor tire, they baled the upper field. Then it was time to move up the road to a neighbor's place. Midway through baling this field, the baler tire blew. Being the original tire from the 1955 baler it's understandable. The process was put to a halt as Farmer John ran around town trying to find a 1955 International Harvester Baler tire. As you can imagine, it's not something normally in-stock. He was able to locate one at a tractor-implement emporium about an hour from here. 

The following day Farmer John's dad was able to drive up there and pick up the new tire. He reported there was a long line of folks picking up parts, so we aren't the only ones having...difficulties...this hay season. 

Finally, the tire was fixed, and the baler was rolling once again. We'd assembled a hay crew - Chad, Matt, Farmer John and myself - we were ready to get all the hay in the barn. 

But wait, not so fast, something else had to go wrong. The baler kept shearing pins. We kept unclogging the baler and fixing the pins. Finally, the baler just broke. Not a part on the baler, but actually a piece of cast iron that was on the inside of the baler. So, that was that. We packed up the baler, crew, and tractor and went home to pout. 

Luckily, we were able to find someone that could fix it the next day. It was a Sunday by the way, and we are very grateful to Al for his time and effort. The tractor and baler went on a field trip about a mile up the road from the farm.

At first we thought he would be able to weld the piece back together. But, of course, we weren't that lucky. He had to fabricate a whole new piece! He's pretty talented. The piece he made is the long-ish triangular piece at the edge of the workbench. It attaches to the side of the baler and holds sprockets. 

Farmer John and Al got the piece attached to the baler. They thought the timing would be off, but to everyone's shock it was fine. We were back in business! 

Farmer John, his dad, Matt, and I finished baling our neighbors field on Sunday. The plan was to bale our friend's place on Monday. But, of course our luck ran out once again and it rained. You know the saying "Make hay while the sun shines"? It's true. 

Which brings us to today. Another crew was rounded up, everything went smoothly, the hay was good and dry, and it's now neatly stacked in the barn. Hallelujah, we're done! At least until August, when we'll do a second-cutting. 


  1. As kids, Jenny, Teresa, Rusty, myself, Shari, and Rodney, were in on all these dramas. But, as kids, we thought, "What'e the big deal! Fix it and let's go put in hay." We'd swim and clean up in the creek because all that mess in the house just would not do. I remember thinking, "Who needs fiber," once you drink the hay chaff water from the coolers on the trucks. And boy were we on some old equipment back in the day! I'm amazed we didn't have a serious roll over going up the hill fully loaded. I'm thrilled to see your pictures because brings back memories.

  2. Crazy. And crazy cool that you can find a 1955 International Harvester Baler tire relatively nearby and someone who can make new pieces from scratch. We're only recently aware such things exist. Crazy cool.

  3. You two are tough, resiliant, and creative! And those Scottish Highland cattle are lucky! Chins up. Vacation is on the horizon.


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