Make Hay While the Sun Shines
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “make hay while the sun shines.” A simple saying, really, meaning to get your work done while it’s daylight, before time runs out, or while things are going good. But, literally, there’s more to it than that. I grew up hearing this saying. I’ve lived it. So, let me explain how to make hay while the sun shines from a Mississippi farm girl’s perspective.
There is a short window of time when grass is ready to cut, and the weather plays a huge role in how long that window lasts. Btw, we never actually say we’re going to go cut the grass. We say we’re going to cut hay. Cutting grass is just mowing the yard. Just sayin’
So, my modern-day cowboy has to keep one eye on the hayfield and one on the weather. He uses weatherchannel.com to track one, two, three, five day forecasts. Sure, meteorologists miss the forecast on occasion, but having those reports is better than what my daddy and his daddy had to work with. Next, my cowboy goes to the local watering-hole and talks to the men there. They all have an opinion about how much rain to expect, when, and how long it might last. He takes their opinions to heart because some of those men have been baling hay for a long, long time.
Once he’s made up his mind to cut hay, he goes at it with a vengeance. He sharpens the blades on the hay mower, makes sure it’s greased up, fires up the John Deere and away he goes. He can cut hay day or night. Doesn’t matter if the dew has fallen or not. So, he might cut hay into the wee hours, or get up really early and start a field. He has been known to enlist one of our sons or a neighbor and run two mowers at once.
Once the hay is cut, the sun dries—or cures—it. This generally takes 36-48 hours, depending on how thick the hay is. About half-way through this process, it’s time to fluff the hay. When I was a teen, I rarely remember us fluffing hay unless it was extremely thick. Now, we almost always fluff it just to speed up the process. There is a special piece of equipment called a hay fluffer. Basically, the fluffer stirs the hay, turning it upside down, and letting the sun dry the hay that has been on the bottom.
There comes a point when the hay is just right for baling: not too green, and not to dry. And you hope it gets to this point without a storm rolling in while the hay is on the ground. If it rains between cutting and baling, you have to let the sun dry the hay, fluff it again, dry some more, then rake and bale. But there’s only so much of this fluffing/drying/raking cycle the hay can take before it looses most of its nutritious value.
The hay has been cut, it’s been fluffed, the sweet scent fills the air, and a storm’s a brewing! Yikes! But wait, you can’t just jump up at daylight and bale hay. Not in Mississippi. You have to wait until the sun burns the dew off the hay. So, we’re chomping at the bit waiting for mid-to-late morning, hoping to beat the rain.
Two tractors hit the field, one pulling a double-sided contraption that rakes the hay into windrows, the other pulling a big round hay baler. It can take half a day to bale a forty acre field, but it’s a wonderful feeling to finish up before that first big, fat raindrop falls!
Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
Click cover to visit Amazon page. Also available at B&N
To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.
Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’
Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.
And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.
(3 Pewter Bookmarks from Deirdre’s Handmade Jewelry PLUS 40% off coupon at Deirdre’s online store. Click link to register and for coupon code)
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