Saturday, January 16, 2010

Movin' Hay

A Day in the Life of the Country Chicken Girl
January 16, 2010

The Stack to be moved

Today's chore was to move a stack of hay from one place that we farm, known as Buzz's place, to our home place. Since the weather was so nice, Dan the Man wanted to get some hay over here for the calves before the next storm so we don't have to move hay in crummy weather. Actually, if it snows too much, we can't move hay because we can't get into the fields where it is stacked.

Loading three bales at a time

What I see from the truck driver's view

Dan the Man

Are we done yet?

At least the scenery is awesome! Two hawks in their tree.

99 bales of hay in the stack, 99 bales of hay, take three down, load them on the trailer, 96 bales of hay in the stack!

Wake me when it's time to go!

Strap them bales on!

I guess if I help it would go faster!

I have to tell you about the time that Dan the Man thought we really didn't need to strap down the bales. The dirt roads were really muddy and we were going to haul bales from Buzz's place to the home place which is about 4 1/2 miles away. He thought it would be best to go on the highway since the dirt roads were so muddy. He instructed me (the truck driver) just to take it slow and easy and I shouldn't lose any bales. And we probably won't see any cops. (It is against the law to haul bales without strapping them down.)

So I head out on the highway, nice and easy, so I don't dump the load. Dan the Man follows me in the tractor. Just as I am coming over a hill I see a state trooper turn onto the highway. "Great!" I think, "Maybe he won't notice that I don't have this load strapped!" We proceeded to get closer to each other and my palms were sweating! As we passed, I smiled weakly at him and give him the "head nod" that means "hey" from one trucker to another. After we had passed each other, I looked in my rear view mirror and he was already hitting his brakes and turning around.

When he started his lights flashing, I started looking for a place to pull over. "Man, that shoulder looks really wet! Wonder if I should pull off here." Meanwhile the trooper is on my tail with this lights flashing. I panic and decide I'd better pull over right now. So I take it "nice and easy" and ease onto the shoulder. "Oh, that didn't feel so good, felt like I sunk quite a bit!"

Dan the Man showed up in the tractor about half way through my conversation with Mr. Trooper. I don't remember how our whole conversation went, but I do remember him saying, "Well, I'm going to have to give you a ticket because you didn't strap your load" and me replying "Well, tell him!" as Dan the Man was walking up behind Mr. Trooper. So Mr. Trooper says to Dan the Man, "I'm going to have to give her the ticket since she was driving!"

Then Mr. Trooper proceeded to keep us longer by checking our fuel tank to make sure we weren't using farm diesel in the pickup truck, which we weren't and don't do. That too is against the law and carries a pretty hefty fine. Mr. Trooper tried for about 10 minutes to get his dip stick down into our tank, but couldn't get it in there so he finally took our word for it. Then he left.

Dan the Man looked at the truck and trailer and said, "You shouldn't have pulled off here." The tires were sunk in the mud about 12 inches deep. He was afraid to try to drive out because if the truck or trailer slid we would lose the whole load in the borrow pit. Luckily we had a tow strap in the truck that he could use to pull the truck and trailer with the tractor. He just said, "I hope the tow strap doesn't break." "Great!" I thought, "This is going to be fun... not!" And it wasn't fun at all, actually it was a little terrifying! My knuckles were as white as a ghost on the steering wheel as I tried to steer out of that mess as the tractor pulled me.

After a few death defying moments, we finally were back on the road, but not with the help of Mr. Trooper. We couldn't believe that he didn't stick around to at least stop traffic was we were trying to get out. We were taking up both lanes of the highway. So much for "to serve and protect." Guess lunch was more important for Mr. Trooper.

"Thanks for nothing Mr. Trooper!"

"Uh... just kidding Officer!"

Then there was this other time when Dan the Man was taking a load of round bales to Lyman which is about 4 miles away. I don't remember how he did it, but somehow (probably because he didn't have the load strapped down) he dumped half the load on the highway going around a corner. He unhooked the trailer, left the load in the road and drove home to get the tractor so he could reload the bales. When he got home, he instructed me to take the truck back to the catastrophe site so the bales wouldn't look like they had been abandoned and wait for him to come in the tractor which was going to take a while to drive all the way there.

I really wasn't wanting to go sit there by myself and look like an idiot, but what's a Country Chicken Girl to do when the boss says to jump! So reluctantly I drove there and sat by the bales and waited. Of course you can guess that everyone that I knew and their dog drove by and had to stop and ask me what happened. They all thought that I was the one driving the truck and I was the stupid woman driver who dumped the load going too fast around the corner and why didn't I have the load strapped down?! I quickly explained the whole situation to them, especially the part that Dan the Man was the one who was hauling this load. And those who didn't stop, I'm sure were thinking "Stupid woman drivers!"

I was mad at Dan the Man for quite awhile after that.

We now strap our loads ALL the time!!

Meanwhile back at the home place, we had to unload the bales.

Here comes help from the cows!

Meanwhile on the other side... more help!

Let me help you with that!

Calf standing on top of a bale.

And that's another day in the life of the Country Chicken Girl.

Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

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