If someone would have told me that I would be living in Medford, helping to work a 45 acre hay farm I would have laughed. But that’s exactly what I am doing. I am helping in what I would call a very small way. The first two fields have been mowed, raked, baled and now bought and sold. 1700 bales have come and gone. The work commenced 2 weeks ago when Roger made the first cut on the north field. Steven came into town for a few days and was able to rake the first field, but humidity kept it from being baled until Memorial Day. In the meantime, Roger cut the second field, then the Tuesday after memorial day Brian raked the second field and it dried so quickly Roger began baling it that evening. Then, the loading commenced. I helped drive a tractor for 6 hours on Memorial day. Andrew helped by tipping all 640 bales (60 lbs each) in the north field over for easier loading. He was exhausted and spent a couple hours on the tractor with me. Brian and Roger have lifted nearly everyone one of the bales….twice (on and off the trailer). Roger’s face is leathered with sun and back sore from lifting, Brian’s arms are scratched and scabbed. His face is one giant histamine response as his allergies have reaked havoc on him. But if you asked either one of them if they would do it again tomorrow. They would say YES! Even Rozanne has poured her heart and soul into the work, working till 11pm at night both Thursday and Friday night driving the tractor so that Roger can load even more bales. She even has cute overalls. Friday night a thunder and lightning storm passed through the Rogue Valley and she, Brian, and Roger helped get the last loads of hay in before the storm. The lightning danced around them as they loaded, trailor after trailor of hay deep into the night.
The first crops work is now nearly complete as there is still one field left to mow. We are just waiting for the current storm to pass. Weather has become a huge deal for us. I find myself watching the weather report intently each morning and checking the national weather service web site daily. Even the slightest chance of rain can impact when you cut your hay. We lost nearly our entire first crop last year to rain and that mistake was not going to be duplicated this year. So when an unexpected storm went through the Rogue Valley late Friday night (June 1st), it was potentially devastating to all hay farmers who were in the process of finishing harvesting their crop. We all changed our plans to race out to the ranch. I have helped in small ways, driving the tractor, loading hay, unloading hay, I have the scratches, bruises, and dehydration to prove it. And I might sound crazy….but I love it!