Life is hardly respectable if it has no generous task,
no duties or affections that constitute a necessity of existence.
Every man’s task is a life preserver.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s Sunday morning and after the heavy rains of Friday night My Hero, and I are grateful for the sunshine and winds that are expected and would dry the rain soaked hay lying in five fields. This unfortunately is so typical of this year. There are only tiny windows of opportunity to get the hay off without any rain, and we missed another one.
Pretty patches of fog linger and silly, wild turkeys entertain two farmers who are sitting in the house watching them while planning their day. The forecast is all sunshine and breezy till around seven o’clock tonight. The satellite shot on the computer had My Hero comment “No problem", a typical answer for all my worries this year. He will go back and rake after the hay is dry, and I will go back to bale later on. He left to grease everything, and I went to make sandwiches and scramble to prepare something for supper that does not require tending to.
The hayfield behind the house, now clear of the round bales has a new growth about six inches high. The second cut is growing very well, and we have not even finished the first cut this year. I rush to get things done. A load of laundry and a quick dusting of the floors, tackling those dust bunnies that never seem to disappear.
The sound of the tractor outside stops my fussing with the house. My Hero is heading off to rake a field across the road. I know that will take him an hour, so I must hurry. Just as the hour was up, he stops at the house to tell me the hay is drying quickly. I hand him a jug of water and snacks and tell him I will take his lunch in my tractor and meet him at the back of the farm. Ready or not, our day was starting.
With the lunches packed behind the seat of my tractor and the baler dragging behind, I drive through and around the cows in the lane. The weatherman was right, lots of sun and strong winds make this day look promising.
Pulling into the raked field, my first thought is doubt. The field is huge and it is one, out of five. Could we get it all done? It is noon and the rain should begin around 7, if that satellite shot was right. I jump out of the tractor to check and make sure the hay is dry. I hear the tractor raking over in the other field. We can do this I told myself. I flip over some hay, it was dry. There was nothing to stop me now.
After about two hours of baling, I hit a snag while trying to dump a bale. It would not budge. I tried everything I knew, but I could not get it out. Knowing I was wasting time and I had no choice, I left my tractor and made my way toward the sound of the tractor raking. My Hero, driving round and round saw me and knew something was wrong. He was almost done that field. He hand signalled that he would finish and be right over. I head back towards my tractor, down the road and across the field. My Hero was soon finished and then quickly got that stuck bale out.
Since we were both here, we enjoy our sandwiches and make another plan. He already had all but one field raked. The wind was drying it quickly so I should keep baling and he would finish raking. He would then take over baling for me. My Hero bales quicker than I. One gear higher makes a big difference in the speed in which things get done. I bale slower hoping for no breakdowns also knowing he can fix what he breaks. I did not want to let him do everything, but I knew it was for the best. He once again drove off with the rake dragging behind, heading to that last field. I went back to baling.
After a time, I notice the tractor with the folded up rake sitting at the bottom of the field. When I reach the end of the row, My Hero and I trade places. I drive the rake back to the house and go back to tackling those household things I had left unfinished. I bake brownies and complete our dinner, not knowing when we will be eating it. Hours tick away.
The tractor finally comes driving up the lane. I run to open the gate. My Hero and I fill the baler with more twine. There is only one more field left to bale across the road. The sky is getting dark and gloomy. He says it will take an hour; it is 6:00 now. Off he goes.
At 7:20 he drives into the barnyard. We sit down to eat. Suddenly those lingering black clouds open up and torrential rains make a river of the laneway.
Six more fields to go. Bale count 430.