The Hayfield

Part of living on a dairy farm besides helping with barn clean up, slopping hogs, feeding chickens and calves was going to the hay field.

We had an old Farmall that would pull the baler. The rows of fluffed up hay would be picked up in front and be compressed into 100 pound bales and drop on the ground in the rear. Our job would be to pick up the bales and hand them to our hired hand, Gulf, up on the wagon pulled by our old truck. He would stack them eight to ten bales high and when we got a load, we would haul the trailer to the farm.

One day Gulf picked up a bale and a snake poked its head out. Gulf dropped the bale and ran for the woods. A week later he finally showed back up to work.

After we all departed for college, Dad got one of those round balers. Come to think of it, my parents also installed central heating and air after we all moved out of the house. Before then we had the windows open in the summer, and an old kerosene floor heater in the living room.

Farmers are planting corn. After the rain last week, tiny rows of green may be seen poking out of the ground. Daffodils and tulips are almost finished and awaiting their summer slumber. Dogwoods, azaleas, my native two-winged silverbell and pawpaw trees are in bloom. After a warm spell, the weather turned frosty. We’ve been debating whether we are having blackberry or dogwood winter.

Walking tours of the historic sections of Tuscumbia, Sheffield and Florence are ongoing each Saturday this month.

The hooligans have been restricted to the top half of my three acres due to a problem in the lower part with the underground fence. I had bypassed it back in the winter. Now with grass mowing season starting, I had to get the wire replaced and back in the ground. I mowed the section in the area where the bad wire was and uncovered the wire in several places in the area near the fence between my place and the neighbors. The idea was to avoid replacing the whole section unless I needed to.

I went up and disconnected the first connection where I had bypassed the bad section and reconnected the ends and put it back in a protective gel tube to prevent corrosion. I rolled up the bypass wire pieces into nice rolls and walked down to the first hole closest to the creek, cut the wire and it looked discolored. I went ahead and spliced in one of the wires I had neatly rolled up and started back toward the creek and somehow the wire landed up in a big knot. Finally I get it untangled and cut the wire and connected the ends. I borrowed Levi’s collar knowing he is easier to catch to put the collar back on, and he never leaves. The test using his collar didn’t work, so that meant bypassing another section, so I go up to the next hole, dragging the bypass section wire with me, cut the wire and connect the ends. The connection down at the creek had come apart; while twisting the ends back together the wire broke off of one of the wires and the stripper was in the loader. It was about this time that Blackie saw the neighbor’s dog and was going to go get them. I’m standing there trying to touch the broken end to the other wire best I could while calling Blackie to stay. She’s never been one to listen unless it benefits her; if she sets her mind on something she does it. Finally she gets her mind back on hunting for critters and I get the stripper and connect the ends back up. The fence still doesn’t work when I test it with Levi’s collar. Speaking of Levi, the one who never leaves, he is next door in the pasture with Dixie. She’s too busy fussing for me to come and pet her to notice him. The only one behaving is my problem child Patches. She won’t go past the fence flags. She must have gotten zapped when I first cut the yard in half. Her wounds from the run in with the groundhog are just about healed. I went through a lot of hydrogen peroxide during her healing process.

Finally I get past the burnt section at the top of the hill and get the temporary fence connected. The whole section along the fence will have to be replaced. Now I need to replace a broken blade on the middle buster that lost a fight with a six foot Chinese privet bush.

  • Published on Apr 7, 2016
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