Yee Haw! :)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
So I baled hay the other evening...when I say I baled hay I mean:
Wagons (trailers, whatever you want to call them) loaded with anywhere from 60 - 90 "square" bales, each weighing in anywhere from 50 - 80 lbs a piece. You've probably seen them along your travels in life, you know...hay :)
We had 3 men up in the loft waiting at the end of a long motorized chain/belt-drive conveyor (which only handles 4 bales at a time unless you sort of "help it" along). So anyway, they are up there waiting, then your's truly climbs up into the 1st wagon and makes a "spot" where I can safely stand to start loading the bales....one at a time as fast as I can and the conveyor will handle. Then once I get some bales moved and some space made my Father-in-Law's wife hopped up in and joined the fun. She helped yank the bales down so I could grab and load them onto the belt. (her back wasn't 100% so I didn't let her do the high lifting...she's "vertically challenged" so above the waist lifting to the belt I thought would be pushing it)
Keep in mind that these bales are NOT stacked in the wagons neatly, they are thrown in by a machine as it's baling the hay in the field, literally flung willy-nilly and just a big heap in the wagon...I LOVE IT!! :) You gotta climb and pull and sometimes fall down in the bales...it's a blast (well, when I'm just starting and laughing at myself) I do get "in a groove" and focused on really heaving the bales to try to keep up with the guys at the other end so the only thing they are waiting on is the belt speed, NOT ME. And also remember that they can each PULL 2 bales off at a time, one in each hand, while I can only LOAD 1 at a time and only as fast as the conveyor moves...but I do manage pretty dang well to keep up for the most part.
Anywhooo, we finish the 1st wagon and the 2nd is brought in and it continues on. An older neighbor (guy) joined in I think around this point which meant I handled probably 2/3 the bales in each of the next wagons (I am younger and honestly quicker LOL)
I figured it took about 20 minutes on average to unload the wagons which I thought was pretty good considering as you empty the wagon/trailer you have to run over and grab them from farther away and carry them to the conveyor...cause it doesn't move and the bales don't either unless you make them ;)
I FELT GREAT when I was done. 2 hrs 20 min from start to finish and includes a little "down" time when the harvester had to bring 2 of the 5 wagons and we were already done with the ones we had. It let us get a couple minutes of clean air (as opposed to hay filled air lol) and some water...which we really sucked down as well as pile up the loose hay that invariably ends up all over but is not wasted (horses love the days following the restocking of the loft LOL)
We usually get to do this at least 1 time a year (sometimes twice) and we aren't finished with this harvest. Have to wait for the guy cutting/baling to finish the main field which should be good for a few more wagon loads. I'm looking forward to it! (shhh don't tell my in-law-family, they aren't LOL) I just hope it's in the evening again or at least when I can go and kick my own butt. I wore my HRM just out of curiosity and only burned 752 calories (would have been more had I been the only one in the wagons LOL, but oh well)
Maybe next time I'll try jumping rope or something in between wagons if we have any downtime (would make my hubby wonder what I was thinking I'm sure)
Might see about working the loft next time for the longer walking/hauling but handling almost every bale in the wagons is really what I like doing along with keeping up with "the guys" LOL.
So, if you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend unloading bales of hay and the cleanup that follows. It proves to be a great total body workout AND you get to see something develop (organized stock) when you are finished, it's a good feeling YEE HAW!