We have been fully occupied the past week with hay. Our neighbour cut their hayfield on Kirby Crescent for us, a few pictures of the cutting on last week’s blog. This was Tuesday morning and on Friday we began to pick up the hay. We were too busy and the hay was too wet to try picking up before Friday.
On Friday we dusted off things that we had not touched for years to make sure they worked, pumped up the flat tire on the wagon, quickly knocked together front and rear racks to keep the hay on and harnessed the one horse from the new team, not he mother and the mare from the older team. The horses were a bit of a handful for the first time out but we soon figured out what we had to do to get them to work reasonably easily. For the first two days, Friday and Saturday, we had to keep one of us on the wagon at all times and the lines in the hands too. On Monday when it was just Aerron and myself, Aerron did the driving and right away started to leave the wagon and fork up hay, keeping near the lines and having them wrapped once round the rack at the front so that they were always handy. This worked well and as for those times when the horses decided to move ahead on their own., a call to whoa and a quick tug on the lines had them stopped easily. With our old team we could both walk along loading hay and simply call whoa to stop them and give them the go ahead kissing sound to move them up. The new mare Marta will learn quickly.
We managed to get only half the hay up before the rain Tuesday morning. Two part loads to start things off on Friday, one full load and a very small one on Saturday and two full loads on Monday. We are hoping that it will dry out enough on Wednesday to get another load off and if it stays dry through Thursday and if we can get enough picked for the CSA , then Aerron would go out again on his own to pick up hay, while I stayed as CSA members arrived tor their shares. We need only one full day’s work and we’ll have the hay off completely. But it is likely that we will be unable to ask that much of the horses at this time, it would mean a very early start and drawing the last load home after dark, four really full loads would do it. A very long days work for the horses but not unreasonable.
The large overhead fork in the barn worked alright but then on the full load on Saturday we had a very big lift and the fork did not lock into the car properly, the rope went really tight then the car shot along the track and the fork along with the load dropped to the mow without me pulling the trip rope. I went up to the platform, got the fork locked into the car as it was supposed to be and liberally oiled and worked things. After that it worked much better, nothing was broken.
I’ll have to get some photos of the horses pulling up the loaded hay fork and the loaded fork itself going up to the car then rolling along to the mow. Meanwhile these photos of the empty fork will give you some idea of how it works.
Thanks very much to those who volunteered their help for haying on Friday, Saturday and Monday. Jennie, Ken and Sam, your help was and is immensely appreciated. We got much more done than we would have otherwise. Thank you very much.