Square bales. Idiot cubes. Looks like work doesn’t it. Don’t kid yourself. It IS work. The first few bales you are throwing on the trailer feel light; each bale gets exponentially heavier. Pine had a friend of his come up and bale some second cutting alfalfa into square bales for barn feeding during calving. Square bales are much easier to deal with than big round bales while doing barn chores.
Jason was planning on showing up after his regular work hours to bale this for us. We had talked about it the day before and all was well. Except that there was major rain in the forecast, AND Pine had to leave to go fight fire down by our south ranch. He left me with specific instructions:
“Run down to the Hansen Place and get Papa out of the tractor where he was baling hay. Tell him you need help as you need him to drive the pickup and trailer while you are loading square bales.”
“When you get back home, hook the red flatbed up to the black pickup and head to the field.”
Oh— and this one…”You have GOT to get all these loaded and under shelter before the rain comes.”
Being the good ranch wife I am, I followed his instructions ALMOST to the T. I did run down and get Papa out of the field to drive the pickup and flatbed. I did hook up the red flatbed to the black pickup and headed to the field. I did make sure all these bales were loaded and under shelter before the rain came (It never came.) But, I improvised just a little. I got on the cell and called Trent, my 23-year-old son.
“Trent. This is mom. I need help. I have to get these square bales loaded and under cover before the rain comes. You can pick up a case of beer on the way through Ludlow and I will pay for it. Can you come and help me?”
“Absolutely, Mom. I just happen to have four guys in the pickup with me right now. We will be there in 30 minutes.”
No idiot here. Those kids had the flatbed loaded in under 15 minutes. Papa drove. Jason and Tucker stacked. The other four threw bales. Andi and I gathered bales in to bunches to make them handier. I think the driver stopped ONE time and that was when he was negotiating a corner. It was awesome. Plus, they were laughing and having a good time doing it. One thing that makes this momma’s heart smile is watching kids work and enjoy it so much that they LAUGH while doing it. Blessed.
The next morning Pine came to the house and said “Well, we better go get these bales unloaded and stacked. I need them out of the shop.”
WHAT?!? Why the heck didn’t he tell me where he wanted them the afternoon before when I had all that help. Lucky for us, Cass had just gotten home from volleyball practice, stiff and sore, and we were sure unloading some square bales would be the best thing for her. She threw them to the back of the trailer, and Pine and I hauled them in the barn and stacked them. Granted— this isn’t where they will be come winter. The majority of them have to go to a different barn. But we couldn’t unload them there as there is a building project going to happen on that barn this month.
When it comes time to load most of them once again and haul them to the other barn, I am sure hoping Trent and his buddies can still be bought for a case of beer.
Until next time… JARW
Kids in agriculture often learn life lessons much earlier than most. They experience the loss of calves, lambs, pets, etc., early in life and sometimes often. On the flip side, they are blessed to see the miracle of birth way more often. And, they learn about the birds and the bees earlier than most kids.
Tonight we had been talking about getting the rest of the bulls out of the cows as the breeding season has ended for us, and then hauling the bulls back to their home pasture to recoup and get ready for next year. Later while tucking the Wild Child into bed, after prayers, we were visiting about our day. She started telling me about a day in late June when we moved some pairs from one pasture to a new pasture.
“Mom. There was this bull with a dirty butt… I think he was #4. Anyway, he was riding all the cows.”
“That’s his job, honey. He was breeding them so they can have calves again in the spring. Cows can’t have babies without bulls.”
“Oh yeah. I knew that.” Silence… and then, “So moms can’t have babies unless dads breed them?”
“Ok! Time to go to sleep! Have a good night, Sweets.”
Sometimes it is best to leave the birds and the bees talk strictly focused on animals, especially when dealing with a 5-year-old. Yep— she caught me off guard on that one.
Until next time… JARW
Meal times at our place are filled with surprises. Breakfast, lunch, and supper. You never know what time you will eat. You never know what you will eat. And you never know what you will hear. That last one might be the scariest as there are NO secrets with the Wild Child around.
We sat down to a great lunch last week of beef tips, broccoli, and baked potatoes. Amazingly, it was not too late in the day as it was only about 2 p.m. Often times lunch is so late in the day that it takes care of supper, as well. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t always hurt my feelings. However, it is hard to plan when you never know what the day is going to bring. Everyone had just filled their plates and were taking their first bites when the Wild Child pipes in with “Well, I’ve got new underwear on today.” Where the heck that came from I will never know, but it definitely took us all by surprise and try as we did not to laugh, we all failed. You just never know what you will hear.
Meal times during haying (and calving, and spring work, and fall work, and…) vary greatly according to many variables, none of which I have any control over, i.e. the weather, the hay condition, how the cows sort, whether something is calving, how well mannered the bulls were when we were taking them away from the cows, tractor breakdowns, and the list extends to infinity. During haying the variables include whether the hay is too dry, too wet, parts runs, breakdowns, greasing equipment, OR can we be in the tractors getting it rolled up. Many days there is no “lunch time”. Some days the hay is too dry by 9 a.m. and lunch is really on the table around noon. It all depends. The Wild Child? Well, she eats when she is hungry and if there is not a meal she fixes herself a snack of fruit, cheese, PB&J, or whatever she chooses. Or she heads to Granny’s house for more choices there. She is pretty self-sufficient. I try to always have something/anything in the fridge that can be grabbed on the go… mainly cold roast beef, ham, fruit. Anyone can make a roast beef sandwich, grab an apple, and head out the door.
I read the other day that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper. Yeah right! Tell that to a crew of hungry cowboys who have been out ALL day long and get to the house at dark-thirty because they ran out of daylight. “Sorry boys… sliced apples and some cheese for you guys tonight.” I don’t think so. Not at this house! There have been way too many meals to count after 9:30 p.m., and there will be many more. As hard as everyone works they will get to eat supper like a king, too — even if it doesn’t get put on the table until late at night.
Until next time… JARW