Puttin Up Hay…

2015-09-28_10-21-28RJs Autobiography BannerIts been a while since I did a bio thing so I thought I would give you a little history lesson and  tell you about my time in rural America and specifically about putting up hay.  I know most people who have any idea of hay think of those big six-foot diameter bales that strewn around the countryside but in my day hay bails were smaller, much smaller. The picture at the right show how it was done in my day.  When the wagon behind the baler was full it was unhitched and taken to the barn and an empty one attached.

The bails were about 2x2x4 feet and weighed around 80 lbs. I spent one summer on a bailing crew. The boss of that crew owned all the equipment needed to make the bails and  he went around from farm to farm with his crew putting up their hay fields. As I remember I got paid $0.75 an hour to work in the top of 100+ degree barns.

2015-09-28_10-40-55Lets do another history lesson here.  Most of the old-time barns have now disappeared from the landscape. Almost all of them contained hay lofts where bails of hay were stacked to protect them from wet weather and to feed the livestock on the ground level. When I say stacked they were actually stuffed. Wherever there was a space big enough for a bale of hay it was used. That meant someone had to craw around in the very peak of the barn to put those last bails in place. In my crew that someone was me. I was the littlest guy on the crew at about 120 lbs.2015-09-28_10-41-20

My face would get as red as a beet in those upper reaches of the barns but I kept going anyway. Now I know that a heart anomaly was the reason for that redness. I thank the Lord that those days did not kill me as the potential was definitely there. 

My days as a farm laborer were limited to my junior and senior high school years but I for the most part remember them fondly and even at 75 cents an hour they helped pay for my first year at Purdue University.

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