There's nothing like the sweet smell of hay. Coming from the eastern side of the state, I was very accustomed to the lovely smell of alfalfa hay my family put up each year. I was also accustomed to the early mornings on the tractor and fixing a meal for 15 folks that ate like 30. I knew enough about haying that I was definitely not going to make that a part of my future.
Well, never way "never"......
When we purchased the farm, roughly 18 acres of it was already in grass hay. I thought this would be a piece of cake. After all, you didn't have to make as much of a fuss with moisture control and making sure that the leaves don't fall off. Timing is everything when working with alfalfa. Well, as it turns out- timing is everything when working with hay in Western Washington. Our weather this time of year is quirky to say the least.
This past weekend it actually got to a crispy 98 degrees.....followed by intermittent showers. It's all about the weather window here. Plus, we broke down AGAIN this year. Same ol' story......
Hours on the tractor......Everything's going smoothly......Had the thought "We may make it this year..."......Broke Down (did I jinx us!?!)......Called around for a mechanic.....put my name on a very long list of other farmers who also had hay down and had broken down (buh-bye to some of the hay money).....called around to everyone I knew of to see if they could finish the job for us (adios to the rest of the hay money)......found someone to finish the job (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!)......Watched as my husband worked until 2AM several nights in a row to make sure that the hay was in the barn and didn't get wet..........Cursed at the inaccurate forecast........fielded a gajillion questions from Craigslist and Facebook buyers.....Met some great folks who came to pick up hay......wrinkled my nose at some folks who baled (no pun intended) on picking up....affirmed first come, first serve policy.....and finally today, sold the last bale.
For some reason, I think the image of farming elicits a gentle, pastoral... even quaint life. But, farming is far from gentle- and pastoral applies to a mere picture of the reality. This farming thing is incredibly intense- the gambling on the weather, equipment, help, sales.......you have to be prepared to ride the swells.
I'm feeling good today.....particularly knowing that Adam can hit the rack at a somewhat decent hour. And hey, I'm really glad to be done with the hay.