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Posts Tagged ‘Farm Humor’

Driving into work the other morning, I was surprised to see someone stacking hay with a New Holland Stacker. Not too many farmers still put up the small bales, opting for the one-ton or round bales.

Seeing that stacker and the bales took me right back to the summers of my childhood.

My dad grew hay and wheat and corn on our farm. When it was haying season (which happened three to four times every summer) even I got called upon to help.

When I was little my “help” was riding along with dad on either the swather or the baler while he worked. A few times I was allowed to ride in the stacker, sitting on a little tool box between the seat and the control box on the opposite side of the door. My mother had an overwhelming fear that I would fall out of the stacker and be pulverized before my dad knew what had happened. Her fear was not without some merit.

According to family lore, my dad, brother and a neighbor drove to California to get the hay stacker back when I was too young to remember. They bought it and drove it home on the freeway. Unlike most of the farm equipment that never goes terribly fast, the stacker was capable of speeding right on down the road. When my brother Kim operated it, speed was definitely used. As he drove from the field to the stack yard, dust would fog behind him like a tan other-wordly vortex. My dad didn’t drive it quite so fast, but he still managed to make the dust fly.

I think it was the summer I was 15, my dad decided we could get the hay stacked a whole lot faster if I rode along with him on stacker and jumped off to turn up the bales that weren’t sitting upright. Sometimes when the bales come out of the baler, they would roll to their side and the stacker can’t pick them up that way. It was my job to go along each windrow and make sure every bale was straight and lined up, ready for the stacker.  I usually did this by riding my little Honda 110  up and down the rows, turning over the bales that were flat and having a great time.

On this particular day, though, my dad decided I should keep him company in the stacker. So as he drove through the field picking up bales, I sat on the edge of the open door, watching for flat bales. When I saw one, I’d jump out, run over, turn it upright and then run and jump back into the stacker.

This worked great until Dad hit a badger hole and I fell out. Envisioning my meager little world coming to an end under one of the huge tires, I was completely surprised when Dad managed to barely avoid hitting me.

I think Dad was even more rattled than me. He made me scoot as far back in the stacker as I could, fastened the safety bar across the door and didn’t let me out until he left me at the end of the row near my motorbike. As I started the bike to finish setting up the flat bales,  he called out “remember, don’t tell your mother.”

That’s one secret we’ve kept all these years.

She Who Will No Longer Jump Out of Moving Farm Equipment

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When we went to The Farm for the weekend, I took along my new camera. (That would be the one that makes me smile deliriously every time I get to use it.)

Anyway, I took a few hundred photos of all sorts of farm-related things like barnwood, animals, tractors and even some little people who like devouring candy like it was, well, candy.

And they all looked at me like I needed watching. I kid you not.

It started with this big burly fellow. He kept giving me the eye and I decided to let him be. I’m pretty sure he ate the plywood that is missing and the iron bars were next on his menu.

I wandered over to the pasture where the baby calves were frolicking and enjoying the sunshine. These two stopped jumping around long enough for me to grab a quick shot. They weren’t too keen on the camera or me.

My time spent admiring the bovine babies came to an abrupt halt when this Mama decided I was trouble with a capital T. You go ahead and convince her I came in peace and meant no harm. As for me, I’ll be on the other side of the fence quietly moseying on.

Even the horses weren’t convinced I was not intent on disrupting their blissful rural existence. It took two tries and a flake of hay along with coaxing by my nephew to get them to stand still long enough to snap this photo.

My buddy Pete knows I can be trusted. He has to keep his eye on some of the other characters, but not me. I scratch his ears, rub his back and tell him he is a good boy. He, in turn, rubs against my legs until he nearly knocks me down.

And this kiddo – she keeps her eye on me to make sure I’m watching her antics, not hiding any presents or pilfering her chocolate. Like her auntie, she has a thing for candy. I kind of like her… whole heaps and bunches.

She Who Has Been Watched

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