Friday, June 06, 2008

More adventures with hay

I don't know what it is, but picking up hay with Susan has made me laugh every time. I have laughed so hard that I fell down and peed my pants. Just a little. Yesterday was no exception.

Yes it was time to pick up more hay for Kaswyn. I bought 90 bales in April for him, and my friend S. bought the rest of the load. She has a barn with a hay loft and said that I could store the rest of my hay there, since I only have room at Kaswyn's barn for a stall full. I was down to one bale and was lucky enough that Susan's work told her not to come in yesterday.

The good news is that it looked like we were going to be able to go over and get the hay and not get rained on. That meant that we'd get to leave our old friend the tarp, Big Blue, at home. The bad news was that it was going to 90 degrees. Ugh, so hot! Hot to be doing anything, especially hauling hay around.

When I got to the barn Susan said "You're really going to make us do this aren't you?" Susan doesn't do well in the heat. I don't mind it, really. I hate the cold much much worse. Susan, on the other hand, would rather just live in Alaska. I promised that I'd buy her gas and some cold beer to drink when we got done.

The first part of the plan went very smoothly. We were able to back the truck into the barn and just throw the bales out of the loft and into the truck bed. With a little arranging and careful stacking we were headed back home. We started discussing how we were going to get the hay from the truck down the aisle into the hay stall that I set up. Last time we enlisted Marge's younger son to help us, and we really didn't want to get him involved this time. He seemed a bit crabby last time even though we did give him beer. My idea was to use the ATV and the dump cart to move the hay.

So here is the deal with the ATV. Used to be that the stalls were cleaned by loading up the dump cart with manure and then dump the manure in the pile. Then the ATV got older and older, and started having all sorts of issues. The electric starter went out so you had to kick start it. Then the transmission went out, at least a few times, and it was decided that the ATV would be used to hay only, and stalls were to be cleaned with wheelbarrows. Marge has a guy who comes in to work at the barn on Sundays. Leo does all kinds of stuff around there, but most importantly he moves the hay from the hay barn and stacks it in the aisle. He uses the ATV to do this, and over the years he has decided that it's his ATV and nobody else is allowed to use it.

A few years ago We needed to use the ATV for something and the key was missing. It used to be hanging on a hook in the hay barn and it was gone. We looked high and low for it, and Marge finally asked Leo where it was. He said he had the key because he didn't want anyone to break it, cause then he'd have to haul hay with wheelbarrows. Marge insisted that he leave the key just in case she needed to use it. He agreed, but not readily. At some point he decided he'd hide the key, so technically it was in the barn, but only he know where it was. That's just as helpful as if he'd taken it home.

So the last time we got hay we went to get the ATV key, and of course we could not find it. We looked in all of his hiding places and it was nowhere to be found, so we moved the hay with wheelbarrows. It was long and exhausting, but we did it. Then Susan asked Leo for the key, saying that we really needed to use it to haul hay. He was suspicious, but told her that it was in the box on the shelf. I had looked in the box, and it wasn't there. Whatever, just leave it from now on!

Yesterday when we headed into the hay barn we found the key right away. However, we could not get the damn thing started. It used to be easy to start, even to kick start, but now it's old and I think there's some trick to starting it. I must have kicked that thing 20 times with no luck. Leo showed Susan how to start it, but she said she wasn't really paying attention, and I was about to give up.

Then Susan had a great idea. Marge's riding mover has a place to attach the cart to, so we put the cart of the mower and drove it down to the barn. Then we loaded the cart and drove it down the aisle. On the first trip down Susan forgot that the blade housing sticks out of the side of the mower, and she ran into the bales of hay stacked in the aisle. We also had a bit of a issue with the long, sticky fly strip that Susan had hung in the middle of the aisle that morning because the flies were so terrible. I walked beside the cart and tried to keep it off the Susan, the hay, and me. Once we were past that obstacle she motored down the aisle and stopped in front of the hay stall for the unload unloaded.

Then it was time to back down the aisle with the dump cart. Backing it is just the same as when you back a horse trailer, except that since the axles of the mower and cart are so close together you have to make very tiny adjustments to steer or else you end up getting very crooked very fast. Susan tried a few times to back up but ended up running the cart into things, so I unhooked the cart and backed it down the aisle. Then she just had to back the mower up and we were back for load #2.

On the way back down the aisle after unloading #2 and preparing for the last load, Susan was backing down the aisle. She forgot about the fly strip, and I walked back into the aisle just in time to see her run into the thing. It stuck in her hair and she starting flailing around, trying to get it off of her, which just made it worse. It was like something out of a cartoon, or some slapstick movie. She was laughing, but she was also grossed out and frantic.

I laughed so hard that I walked out of the barn and collapsed on the grassy bank. I wish I hadn't been laughing so hard, for two reasons. One, it would have been nice of me to help my friend out of a sticky situation, but in my defense it was really damn funny and I was totally incapacitated. Had I stood up I would have peed my pants, not a little but a LOT. Two, I didn't get a chance to see how she finally got herself free of the fly strip. She ended up none the worse for wear but had sticky stuff on her hands and in her hair. Luckily the strip only had a few flies on it so she didn't have little fly bits stuck to her. Still gross, but very funny.

We have to get hay again in about two months. The first hay trip we had to deal with Big Blue. The second trip we moved too much hay and ended up exhausted and slap happy. This time we had The Battle of the Fly Strip. What's next?


Rising Rainbow said...

You guys need to be followed around with a camcorder when you're doing hay. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

craig said...

Yeah, it could be a reality show sponsored by Depends.

Katee said...

I laughed out loud reading this. I can only imagine how funny this was in person. Funny and yucky!

chasingiqs said...

Oh I know how those days can go.

At the barn where I work we also have an ATV...but it's really quirky.
You can't really go on roads, and if you lean too far to one side it'll start to drift...alot.

It's just a quirky piece of equipment.

Anyway, I understand the calamity that goes into day to day chores...such as hay pick up.

Keep in touch!

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