Monday, 23 July 2012

Hay Making Stage 1 and 2

Probably a highly tedious blog post this one but Carl says I must share top tips with Paul (NB every bit of advise on haymaking, no matter who from, is only true 85% of the time - and sometimes not even that!)

Essential Equipment
  • Gloves - bailer twine is very hard on the hands after your fiftieth bale
  • Ear defenders - unless you can afford a modern tractor
  • A cab on your tractor - no matter how old
  • A tractor - the bigger the better
  • Barometer plus radio tuned to frequent weather channel
  • Light trousers - shorts are a big mistake as hay scratches
  • Radox, paracetamol
  • Good book and a place to hide
  • DIESEL - very embarrassing if you run out half way through and the weather is on the turn
  • Water - to extinguish occasional field fires (not so necessary if you have a tractor that does not occasionally leak combustible stuff)
  • Water - to drink
  • Friend with better tractor/stronger arms/bale grab/bigger trailer/spare bailer twine uneaten by something
  • Quantity of small bottled cheap imported lager
  • Stock of spare tines for Haybob/woofler (Do not go to Agricultural merchants to get replacements without knowing whether you need left or right ones)
  • Many easy nutritious snacks and more substantial fayre which can be eaten whilst pacing/woofling/baling . . .

Stage 1
Notify all friends, relatives and distant acquaintances that you are planning to make hay thus avoiding confrontational remarks such as Postman, "We could do with a drop of rain . . ."

Walk purposefully two strides into hay field.  Glare ferociously at sky.  Stoop and pick long piece of prospective hay.  Chew this whilst staring skyward.  Sniff grass, air and anything else within sniffing distance.  Rub grass between fingers and pronounce either, "We'll leave it a bit" or "That'll do" (a shepherding phrase).

Stage 2
Grease and diesel tractor - grease everything.

Retrieve ear defenders (not necessary if a newer tractor) and don sunglasses.
Drag mower from nettles (NB tempt dog out from under mower before starting)
Take deep breath and cut (This stage has been preceded by much discussion of which way to cut - mowing across the slop or up and down - headland first or second).

Refuse to allow The Boy to use mower or bailer as, being used to much larger machinery, he goes too fast and blocks up mower/bailer.
Explain to boy that Mower has just got blocked up due to a failure of a technical nature and not due to Dad going too fast.
Stand with hand on hips in various parts of hay field and kick turned hay whist alternately smiling and frowning at sky.

Stage 3 Woofling will have to wait for tomorrow as the blog is getting out of hand!

But finally, on the alpaca front - Lily's little one now has a name - Tropical Storm.

And so does Flem's baby - Arctic Lad!


  1. Aah, so that's how it's done! Isn't telling those tips a bit like a member of The Magic Circle giving away their secrets?!

  2. Our tip would be to have a son-in-law who has lots of town mates who actually think throwing bales around is fun...especially in exchange for alcohol!

    Great cria names!

  3. My tip is ...go onto round bales...and let the tractor do the work !.....Jayne