1st Crop of 2007

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. 52007-steven-rakes-the-north-field-020.jpgBut 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. 52007-cow-thieves-001.jpgThe work commenced 2 weeks ago when Roger made the first cut on the north field. 52007-steven-rakes-the-north-field-027.jpgSteven came into town for a few days and was able to rake the first field, 52007-steven-rakes-the-north-field-011.jpgbut 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. 52007-1st-crop-baling-on-memorial-day-023.jpgThen, the loading commenced. 52007-1st-crop-baling-on-memorial-day-007.jpgI 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. 52007-1st-crop-baling-on-memorial-day-017.jpgHe 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). 52007-1st-crop-baling-on-memorial-day-012.jpgRoger’s face is leathered with sun and back sore from lifting, 52007-1st-crop-baling-on-memorial-day-022.jpgBrian’s arms are scratched and scabbed. His face is one giant histamine response as his allergies have reaked havoc on him. 52007-1st-crop-baling-on-memorial-day-032.jpgBut 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.62007-grandpa-nana-loading-hay-002.jpg 62007-grandpa-nana-loading-hay-007.jpgShe 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.52007-1st-crop-baling-on-memorial-day-039.jpg

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!

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5 responses to “1st Crop of 2007

  1. Jill, you’re my hero. Part of me wishes we were here more so we could help with the hay, and part of me is so glad we don’t live here!

  2. You are so tough! Don’ t you just love hard work sometimes. (easy for me to say from the comforts of my air conditioned living room) How fun for your whole family. I can just see the Hall boys grinning ear to ear while harvesting. And that picture of Andrew is so cute!

  3. I’m just amazed that Mom drives the tractor. Who knew?! Jill, you are so awesome not only to help with all the hay, but to document it all with pics and words. That is so priceless. THANK YOU!

  4. Looks like a lot of work, but very rewarding when it’s all done, so that’s good! Mark keeps telling me he wants to have a farm someday with horses on it, not so he can take care of it (he’ll just have someone else do that) just so he can sit on his big porch, surrounded with lots of land, and have a good sit. I don’t know.

  5. There is something so amazing about LAND. My parents live on a small farm (even though my dad is a lawyer) and everytime we visit I leave feeling so refreshed ’cause it is like I can finally breath & enjoy the open outdoors. I’m so glad I can pass that on to my kids…they love it. I’m sure yours might not love it all the time, but when they grow up and come back they will always be glad you put in the extra effort.

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