We have a friend who has a rather large farm in a small community near where we live. We became acquainted many years ago when we became amateur radio operators. He was a single man who still lived with his parents on the farm. And he was a ham, too.
Amateur radio operators, or hams for short, are big on helping others. The Rome group put up antennas together, raised money to help others and had a lot of pot luck dinners together. When we built our house, our farmer friend brought his tractor to our house to lift the shingles up on the roof. If you have ever tried to carry shingles up a ladder, you know how hard that is. We owed him big time.
Several months went by before he “called in” this favor. He always baled hay and stored it for his cattle to eat during the winter. He also sold hay to other farmers. The thing about hay is that it is cut and has to lay for a bit before it is baled. It can’t get wet. So sometimes you end up baling a lot of hay right before storms move in to the area. So he asked for our help with the picking up of the bales. In those days, the bales were those square hay bales like those you can purchase at the big box stores. He did not have those gigantic round bales. We set a time for the next afternoon about 5. That meant that my husband would be done with work, I would be done with my 5th grade teaching for the day and both our kids would be done. This sounded like a good plan to us.
So the next afternoon we put on our jeans and long sleeved shirts and boots and headed to the farm. I was going to drive the tractor that pulled the long hay wagon. Everyone else would pick up bales and toss them up on the wagon. After we got a bunch on the wagon, one of the men would start stacking them up higher. Sounded ok to us. Then we realized that our daughter was too short to get the hay bale up on the wagon. So our friend gave our daughter a short lesson in tractor driving and she became the driver. She was SO excited. After all she was only in the 5th grade and got to drive! I became a bale tosser. It was hard work. You would run ahead and grab a bale and throw it up over your shoulder to the wagon. Then you ran ahead and grabbed another. And threw. And ran. And grabbed. And threw. You couldn’t miss a bale. I must say that I have never done such a physically demanding job in my life.
We finished about dark with that field. Exhausted is not the word I would use to describe how I felt. Then our friend had a surprise for us. His dad had made ice cream for us! Yum! Somehow everything just equaled out…………..
Another installment of “Life on the farm” coming soon!