So many of our sayings have their roots in agriculture…making hay while the sun shines, broadcast seeds and…memory fails me right now for more. Yesterday we made hay, all the while racing against the storm that threatened to overshadow us and ruin the hay. Hay that’s been rained upon is good only for cattle or sheep or other four stomached animals…but not equines. Hay that’s put up wet can mold and this can be a cause of severe ill ness or even death in horses.
The usual run of events is cut hay one day, kick or fluff it the next and bale it the next. Kicking or fluffing hay means to flip it over causing the dry top side to be underneath the, now on top, wetter hay that was next to the ground. At Thistle Cove Farm, we usually have the first cutting in July and it’s put up into round bales which weigh around eleven hundred pounds each. These round bales are moved by use of the tractor and a spear; very dangerous but I go really, really slowly, take my time and use all precautions. The second cutting is put up into square, actually rectangle, bales which can weigh anywhere from sixty-five to seventy-five to one hundred pounds. It all depends upon how the baler is set. Yesterday the baler was set to a minimum of seventy-five pounds and around three and a half to four feet in length. All of which means, I’d better increase my time at Curves from three days a week to five! These bales have to be hand handled; this winter, I’ll have to carry them the length of the hay loft, drop them to the ground below and then life and load them into my Workhorse to be distributed to the animals. It’s a lot like cutting firewood…I get warmed a lot because the hay is handled many times prior to be eaten by the horses and sheep.
It was a l-o-n-g day yesterday and very stressful. The hurricane, Katrina, is supposed to send us some wet thunderstorms. There’s also a storm coming down from the lakes so we spent the afternoon and evening racing against the rain. God was so good in that He held the rain at bay and we put up DRY hay! Thank you, God! Yes, I’m one of “those people” who believe in prayer, but, more importantly, I believe God hears my/our prayers. I kept reminding Him of how He had stilled the storm for the disciples and how He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. Yes, it was more for my account than His but my memory is such a poor servant, it helps me keep life in perspective.
We put up hay on shares as well as share our barn space and the young folks worked like Trojans yesterday. I don’t swing hay bales anymore but will drive the tractor, pulling the wagon, to collect hay bales to be stored in the barn. I make sure everyone who wants to eat, has a hot meal at the end of our day. I cooked and fed in two shifts yesterday; the first group eating around seven p.m. and the second around eleven p.m. I’d rather have more food than too little food and, while the table didn’t look like the tables I remember from childhood, I still managed to put on a good feed, as they say. Folks ate sliced cantaloupe, sliced tomatoes, corn, green beans with bacon, baked potatoes and onions, chicken sausage, kielbasa sausage, Brunswick stew, home made biscuits, sweet tea, lemonade and homemade apple pie. Never let it be said anyone walks away from *my* table and is still hungry! –grinning at my own silly self here– My female kith and kin would have my hide for such an egregious sin.
We had a bit of mist but no rain; when I went to the farmers’ market this morning, I found they had had a downpour resulting in standing water. All this only twenty miles up the road. It’s a small farmers’ market but I like buying locally and from folks I know. The sweet corn was picked only minutes before I bought it and will be nice served with butter beans. The red and yellow tomatoes are sweet when served with just a touch of sea salt. The market was smaller this morning because of the rain but I chatted with folks and enjoyed the outing.
I stopped by the library and picked up some books on tape, some hard backed books and bought some paper back books from the sale table. I’ll listen to the books on tape while I weave my rag run or knit. The hard back books I’ll read whilst ensconced on the chaise lounge on the back porch. I’m taking two whole days off…OH JOY! I’m taking today off because I had close to a twenty hour day yesterday and my “old bones” need a wee bit more recovery time than they used to need. I’ll take tomorrow, Sunday, off because I keep the Sabbath and only do that work which is necessary. That means feeding the animals, going to church and doing whatever emergency work crops up, if any.
When we first moved to the farm, I didn’t observe the Sabbath, I’d go to church in the morning and then come home and work…as in physical labor. It took me years and a Bible study on the Andy Griffith series, to realize people keep the Sabbath for a very good reason. It’s impossible to work seven days a week for any length of time and not pay the price. The price is usually sickness or illness or accident or the family suffers due to impatience, grouchiness, churlishness, pettiness and the like. I believe I’m a better person for keeping the Sabbath; Dave agrees with me and we both enjoy a day of rest and relaxation.
By having a day, or two, of R&R I can hit the floor Monday at a run. I can enter my work week refreshed and relaxed, ready to do the work God sets before me. Without sacrificing today, I’m already looking forward to Monday.