Thank goodness its Friday! On Fridays I will post a photo from the ranch and discuss the subject. Take a gander and see if you can guess what we are looking at…

It’s hay season in Arkansas again. We just baled our first fields yesterday and things are off to their usual start. The transmission in the baler tractor is messed up and it’s stuck in 3rd gear. The John Deere guy has already been out twice. I jumped on the hay mower to get things going, only to make it 5.5 rounds before the dern thing clogged up (see above). We’ve been having a few problems with this thing and John Deere has sent us parts 3 times. We have yet to receive the correct piece. Even sent em a picture on the phone!

I got into a really thick stand of fescue and it all got clogged in the rollers behind the blades. After a lil tug and pull, and more tug and pull, I got everything out and started off again. Seein as I’m not mechanically minded, I figured it was operator error. After the 4th time and trying 4 different ways to get through this thick grass, I got a second opinion. Yay, equipment failure, not operator error! The jerry-rigged piece never worked in the first place. An equipment failure is about the only way I get a lunch break in the hay field, and I took the opportunity to get a 3 pm sandwich from the service station. Then I hooked up the red bird, smaller mower and went back to work.

Hay season has always been the highlight of my summers, and packed full of fun memories. And oh the snakes! Like the time I was on the trailer stacking square bales and my dad threw a headless snake and hit me with it. Talk about heart attack. Or the summer in Wyoming when I was unclogging the mower and looked down only to see a rattlesnake between my legs. More like cardiac arrest. You’ve never seen a white boy jump so high. I could have easily won the high jump in high school with a jump like that.

So when you think of a farmer or rancher in the tractor all day, what’s your idea of their work load? Must be pretty cool to sit in the air conditioned cab, rockin to the iPod, and chowing down on the packed lunch…. Well, let me put it this way. It’s been said if you don’t have a sore neck and back after a day in the field, you must be doing something wrong. Yeah I listened to a few albums on the iPod today, but only with one ear bud in. With the other ear I’m listening to the mower, making sure it’s only the normal hum of the blades on grass; looking ahead to make sure I’m not gonna hit a hole, a stump, or a rock; looking behind to make sure I’m still on path and the mower’s not clogged up and there are no broken blades. I could keep going with the number of things on my mind in the hay field. Not only is it a rough ride, but my minds rolling through an endless checklist the whole time.

Despite all this work, I still love hay season. It may not have reached the ranchers to the North, but just wait. Ya’ll will get your turn at all the fun.

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What are your favorite memories of hay season or maybe just thoughts as you pass by a busy farmer in the field?

Check out my other Photo Friday post this week at Sitting in the Pasture…