Sunday, June 19, 2016

The reluctant observer

Rest is not quitting the busy career;
Rest is the fitting of self to its sphere.
                                 John Sullivan Dwight

The tractor with the baler behind makes its way down the row of freshly raked hay. There is not a lot of dust rolling, so that means it is of good quality. The baler stops, the hatch opens and a new bale rolls out onto the ground. Perfect I think to myself.

This normally beautiful moment would usually be seen by me from inside the cab of that tractor. It has always been a great celebration day on this farm. The hay season has now begun; the weather is hot and beautiful, and those perfect conditions are what we have hoped for. This year things may be different. This view playing out in front, with its normally celebratory moment, has me as only an observer. The words ‘forced retirement’ run through my mind.

My Hero is the one in the driver’s seat, as I watch this play out. Five fields of hay had been cut the day before, by him. The next day raked by him, and now being baled by him. I love baling hay. To watch this kills me, being only an observer. The guilt bubbles up.

This is not the first time our season has been interrupted and required some changes. About twelve years ago My Hero was told that he must not operate the tractor for a year. To do so would risk permanent damage to his back. That was the year I learned how to use the (scary to me) disc bine. We made it through with patience, determination, and help from those who understand things like this.

“Old back” is what my chiropractor Dr. Scot calls it. Farmers, along with many others who work hard, eventually get to that point where your body finally needs rest and it will not be shy in the way it shouts it out. The work will have to wait. I seem to have come to “my time”. I am lucky, I am pretty sure this will not be anything like the year off thing like My Hero. It is only a temporary inconvenience.

I have never been a patient, patient. To stand here and to look out the window as an observer with a back brace holding the hot then cold compresses on my back, watching My Hero going round and round tells me I have to do this. I have to force myself into a semi-retirement. Since there will be no gold watch, no nice pension or other benefits to my early retirement I choose to keep going. I love my job.

The baler stops, the hatch opens and another bale rolls out into the field. Old back and a young brain, I do believe this combination will make for an interesting season indeed.

Dr. Scot will get me back on track soon enough. The guilt will change back to exhilaration with every new bale that pops out of the back of that old baler. I cannot wait. Do not count me out just yet you "old back" you.

Bale count 80, thanks to My Hero.

There is no shame in admitting your weaknesses, no matter what they are. Be safe out there all you farmers. 

Happy Father’s Day, to all those Dads out there. I miss you, Dad. 



  1. Sometimes our bodies insist that we listen to them don't they? I hope yours settles quickly.

  2. I hear you loud and clear, Buttons! Take care of only get one body! Hugs!! And here's to many more quality hay bales!

  3. There are smart things to do and one is to know and respect your limits. I hope you recuperate quickly.

  4. Take care of that back and you will be back on the baler next season.

  5. Take care of that old back and young brain. Hope your Hero can cope. Three cheers for farmers.

  6. How wonderful that your haying season is happening and all looks good.

    Young brains and old, used body parts are some mix. I pray that your back will soon be rested and healed. Until then may you enjoy your forced, temporary retirement.

    Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

  7. I too know something about the body saying "slow down. relax, rest" but I don't want to and then I'd be all out of shape and whining.
    You be good to yourself.

  8. B,

    Please take things slow, and listen to your doctor. We have one back, and it's always abused by our working hard to get things done on the farm/homestead. Let your Hero take charge and help with the straw.
    Sending prayers, and hugs your way.

  9. If anyone deserves a break it's you, hardworking woman. Thanks for the back issues reminder. I too am working hard right now clearing my yard and every now and then feel a twinge or two in my back. I am so glad you have great weather for the hay season. Hope you feel better soon.

  10. Miss B,
    I'm sorry to hear you are having back issues. Take good care of yourself, so you can get back to doing what you love.

  11. Buttons, take care of that back. Rest is a 4-letter word to me too, but it's sometimes necessary and the best way to get back on track. Sending lots of good healing wishes.

  12. Aha, this must be why mine is giving out! Take care, Grace, and I saw your post about the storm...I hope the cows are safe and the fence easily mended. I do not like the fierce and windy storms.

  13. Take care of your back and it will take care of you. Hugs..............

  14. I confess that I have never driven the tractor. My husband needs to fix the brakes! I love that you enjoy it. I hope your back heals soon.


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