|First load into the barn|
|The Ranch Boss had a pretty cool view from the cab of his tractor!|
|Carson the Great following along on his quad|
|Loved riding along with Clay!|
|Clay in his happy place!|
This past weekend was as close as we get to Boot Camp here at the Rocking Bar H. I’ve been excited to share about one of my favorite times of year around our place, but my fingers were having a hard time bending into the typing position! Try this little exercise: hold your palms face up, and slowly bend your fingers so the tips are pointed at your face. Do you see all those creases and wrinkles in your fingers and on your palms? Well, there was a blister in each and every one of those creases, and then some, by the time our work was finished on Sunday night. I’m happy to report that just a few remain, a perfect reminder of the hard work that I really love doing! This year, haying was even better than normal, because Keith got to be part of it! I’m willing to bet that getting to drive the tractors was just the medicine he needed as he continues to regain health!
Haying season is a family event for us. Clay began driving the tractors – mowing, raking, and baling – when he was just 8 years old, and his brothers are not far behind! This year, Keith and Clay ran the tractors; Cole was promoted from driving the truck to bucking bales with me, now that he’s a big, strapping 8 year old J; and Carson the Great chased mice and provided entertainment when he wasn’t riding along on one of the tractors, in the truck, or following through the fields on his quad.
It’s so fun to watch my boys have such a passion for something! Clay has wanted to do custom hay farming for as long as I can remember. We were talking the other day in the car and he assured me that he would own his first tractor before he buys his first truck. And I smiled this weekend as I watched Cole wrestle and stack bales that weigh more than he does. It’s by far the hardest work he will do all year, and yet he never complained; in fact, he grinned every time his eyes met mine! All 3 boys gather around the computer as they search websites that sell farming equipment during this time of year. They talk about what equipment they want, and how they would run their operations. It’s so fun to watch them plan and dream!
Over the weekend, with about 1,500 bales to bring in from the fields and put up in the barn, we hired a group of high school boys to help out. As Saturday afternoon rolled around, I had been driving the truck with a group of 3 boys loading the hay, and was wanting to get out and help. The weather was really hot, and one of the boys was feeling some heat exhaustion, so I told him I’d park the truck every so often and get out and load bales. I wasn’t really prepared…I’d gone out for a run early that morning and still hadn’t changed from my running shorts…but that wasn’t going to slow me down. J So, I’d move the truck across the field a hundred feet or so, then jump out, stumbling as I ran in my flip-flops and help the boys load hay. By the time we were done, I think I’d rolled both ankles in all the holes in that field about a dozen times; my legs were scratched up, full of slivers and burning from the hay bales rubbing against them; and the countless blisters were forming nicely, as I didn’t have any gloves with me either!
When the next round of hauling rolled around that evening, I was equipped with jeans, Romeos, and some leather gloves…whew! This time I was working with a group of seasoned farm boys who’ve been bucking hay all summer. As the load got higher, they tossed the bales onto the trailer over their heads with ease, and being me, I was determined to keep up. I did my best, and I can only imagine how they must’ve laughed later, thinking about the 35 year old mom, face shielded with sunglasses and a bandana over her nose and mouth so hay fever wouldn’t overcome her, struggling each and every time she attempted to hurl a bale without falling down. I’m just thankful they saved their laughs for when I wasn’t around. J
I’m not much of a medicine girl, to say the least, but I seriously contemplated taking some Advil that night before going to sleep. The next morning, I used as much caution as I ever have in getting out of bed. One teeny tiny move at a time, I inched out of bed, just expecting to collapse on the floor in pain at any moment. Thankfully, by some complete miracle, I felt okay and was ready for another round of work that day.
By Sunday night, all the hay was put up in the barn. The Hickles all fell into bed about 11pm and slept like babies. Then, Monday morning, a whole new round of fun began as hay forts began to take shape! But that will be another story…