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Who else has had the pleasure of bucking square bales off of a flatbed up to the loft? Then dragging them to the other end to stack? While dodging the bucket sized red wasp nests? I’ll promise you the local weatherman cannot estimate “feels like “ temps up there! This photo brings back a lot of memories, and believe it or not most of them are fond. Hard work with good friends, and making enough money for Saturday night at the drive in movie.

109739A7-9B0A-4CD1-A7FA-F4E315446043.jpeg

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Been there!!  Hundred degrees in the barn and four truckloads of bales!!  Load ‘em on the trucks, load ‘em outta’ the trucks into the barn, and drag ‘em to the middle of the loft ‘n’ stack ‘em!!  Only good thing was you could get to the loft from either end of the barn.  The bad part of that was we were loading into both ends at the same time!!

 

Three trips to the hay fields to fill the barn!!

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When I was thirteen years old, I worked in the hay field of a dairy farmer whose nephew was my best friend.  My friend and I were on the truck stacking, as other young guys tossed the bales onto the truck.  This man had a ramp so that he could actually drive the hay truck up into the barn loft, which eliminated having to toss the bales up into the barn.   As in all other hay fields where I worked, you simply rode the top of the hay to the barn.  Going up the ramp, a support beam broke, causing the truck to suddenly tilt before the ramp catching on the next support.  This caused the hay to shift, tossing me over the side, where I fell about 30 feet.  I wound up breaking both wrists, my back, and three ribs.  My friend fell off the back of the truck and was only bruised.  His uncle, who was driving, got the truck on up into the barn, then ran down, picked me up after seeing my broken arms, and I sat upright in the front seat of his car as he rushed me to the hospital, which was about 30 minutes away.  He didn't know my back was broken, and I couldn't speak from hitting the ground so hard and being unable to breathe well enough to speak.  By the time I was at the hospital, I was paralyzed from the waist down, and was told that I would never walk again.  But GOD is GOOD!   After eighteen hours in the ER, I was able to move my legs again.   I lay flat of my back for two solid months, never touching the floor, and had to learn to walk again.  I have been blessed to now be almost 70 and walk 4-6 miles daily with my little Schnauzer.  So thankful to have been blessed to prove the Doctor wrong...

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Thousands of them. Brome hay, straw, alfalfa... lots of great memories. ;)

 

And to think I want to get more horses someday.

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I still do some of it today, (but the alfalfa bales are usually rectangular or rolled, not square.)  Over the years bales have shrunk in size.  Ten years ago they weighed 120-135#.  Now most barely weigh 90.  And over that time the price in central CA has gone from $75/ ton to over $450.

 

Buying bulk hay in the field, renting equipment, and swathing it yourself is becoming the only economic option here.  Retail alfalfa is over $26/bale now locally.   

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You bet.  100 degrees in 100 percent humidity, stacking 6 or 7 high depending on the rack.  Then bucking or block and tackle or elevator depending on the barn. 

 

Then grandpa saying how easy we had it because they couldn't afford steel wheels in his day.  They had hand hewn timbers into skids, used a team to pull it.  You'd better keep up because those horses didn't stop once it started moving.

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1 hour ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

I still do some of it today, (but the alfalfa bales are usually rectangular or rolled, not square.)  Over the years bales have shrunk in size.  Ten years ago they weighed 120-135#.  Now most barely weigh 90.  And over that time the price in central CA has gone from $75/ ton to over $450.

 

Buying bulk hay in the field, renting equipment, and swathing it yourself is becoming the only economic option here.  Retail alfalfa is over $26/bale now locally.   

What dimensions are your bales?  I'm curious if you pack them tighter or make them longer.  

Edited by sassnetguy50
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Oh yes. When we had our farm and 3 horses, and raised Black Angus. We needed alfalfa Hay. I cut and baled them, Swung them on a flat wagon. Then haul wagon to end of barn and with the wife below I would climb to the loft and drop a rope with a hook which the wife would hook the wired bales and pull as fast as possible the bale up and by the time I stopped the bale would swing into the loft. Unhook and start staking them. Usually needed 1200 to 1500 bales. It got hot but we were both young. 

I could usually get 2 cuttings a year. 

Then there was the semi from  Wisconsin wood cutting place that we would order 1200 bales of wood shavings in 50# bags which we used for stalls and sold also. At least they were in a shed at ground level. But the driver set up a conveyor and as fast as he could put them on the conveyor, I was at the end taking them off and stacking them.

Getting up early was the hardest though, I had a job at Amoco, an hour drive, so it was 3:30AM to feed the stock. The wife cleaned the stalls. We also had pigs, chickens and goats and a 1000 acres to farm of which I owned 500 and leased 500.

As to bales size, yes they are smaller usually I see them now in the 76# range.

Edited by Marshal Dan Troop 70448
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Growing up in NW Missouri, I worked a hay crew during the summer for extra money. Nickle a bale, and a minimum 1000 bales/day out of the field and in the barn was the expectation.

 

Tractor and flat wagon, or an old school bus with the body and seats pulled. Loaders walked along beside the flatbed and strongbacked the bales off the ground up to the wagon, where the stacker finished loading them. Then to the barn to unload. Head back to the field, rotate positions, and do it again.

 

Most farmers wanted their barns packed to the rafters, and that meant being right up next to a tin roof in a barn with little air circulation.

 

Red clover was a popular hay crop and lots of farmers up there loved it. Not hay crews. Nasty stick-to-ya dust.

 

'Square bale' referred to the end profile of the bale; it didn't imply the bales were cubes. Depending on the density and tightness of the bale, most weighed around 40-60 pounds, I'd guess. You learned quickly how to knee the bale up to use your legs to get it up to the wagon instead of making it all about your back. The crew I worked with managed to avoid working farms with round bales, so we never used hay hooks, just handled the bales by the twine.

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Still do,  2500 square bales to keep 6 drafts and a pony fueled up all year.

Went high tech this year, bought a baler with a thrower so i dont have to pick the bales up out in the field and stack them on the wagons.

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I never bailed hay.   BUT..... I did use one of these.  Matter of fact, it looks like the one I used..... :lol:

 

P.S. -  Don't watch the video.  Just check out the first few seconds to get a picture of my mower.

 

 

..........Widder

 

 

Edited by Widder, SASS #59054
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56 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

BUT..... I did use one of these.  Matter of fact, it looks like the one I used..... :lol:

Me too. I also learned to use the original “weed whackers”.

image.jpeg.8bd87faafa9e4554f47987788b2e0d8e.jpeg
 

image.jpeg.8caa69d7d60609984aefddae3d039f4f.jpeg

 

I have worked on a lot of farms, but minimal experience baling, throwing, stacking hay. 
My Dad was a contractor. We did a lot of farm repairs from building sheds and outbuildings, to leveling and refurbishing barns. I wore a hammer loop on the right and a wasp spray holster on the left. 
I am pretty sure that all barns have a medieval temperature enhancement system. In summer, they are hotter, in winter, they are colder. 

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The 1st time I hired out to a farmer to throw hay over the summer in high school we did 1400 bales in the 1st day on some kind of a hay monster. He told us to come back at 6 AM the next day to get started as he had 5 more fields. I think in total we threw 9000 + bales for that one farmer.  He paid a nickel a bale and that was darn good money back then. Cash. :D 

 

 During the Spring I would drive around the back roads and leave my information with farmers or taped to their front doors offering my services to throw hay if they needed help. Left my phone number. That was an easy way to make money over the summer. Well not physically easy but it kept me in shape for football and my wallet fat for the semester.

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Never did hay, thank God after reading this thread! And I thought tobacco was hot and nasty. Just carrying one bale every once in a blue moon, I can't imagine throwing them up on to a truck the way I see them staked. Good work you guys.

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10 hours ago, watab kid said:

yes , when young , dont want to revisit that , 

For about three weeks when I was in high school.  Made more money picking  beans, then got a job helping a man install milk shed equipment.  Thought I'd found the pot at the end of the rainbow: ninety cents and hour, and it wasn't seasonal.

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Multi stage task - onto the hay wagon, stack on the wagon, onto the conveyor, move and stack in the hayloft.  Hot, sweaty, itchy work.  At least it was a big hip roofed wooden barn.  We never got close to the roof.

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11 hours ago, sassnetguy50 said:

What dimensions are your bales?  I'm curious if you pack them tighter or make them longer.  

The commercial bales Ive been buying are 42"x22"x14".  

They're about 95#.  They're baled too loosely for my liking.  They flex when handled, which makes them waaay more difficult to stack and carry. 

 

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Summer of 67 spent in NW Iowa. My cousin and I earned gas and girl money by bailing hay, carpentry, and cutting weeds in soy bean fields.

I got loft duty, baled 110 lbs, came up on a belted elevator. 100 degrees and 90% humidity.

We walked the bean fields with a machete chopping weeds. I mention this only because of a lifes lesson. I swing messed the weed and stuck the tip of the machete in my shin. Farmers wife cleans me up.  "you need to be more careful" was the extent of their responsibility. 'I know, sorry'. Went to ED, got a tetanus shot. $60, that I had to pay. Uncles words of wisdom, 'ya dumb ass don't do that again'.

Today lawyers would be involved, wouldn't allow a 16 YO kid to be doing it in the first place.  Lesson = take responsibility for your own actions.

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4 hours ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Summer of 67 spent in NW Iowa. My cousin and I earned gas and girl money by bailing hay, carpentry, and cutting weeds in soy bean fields.

I got loft duty, baled 110 lbs, came up on a belted elevator. 100 degrees and 90% humidity.

We walked the bean fields with a machete chopping weeds. I mention this only because of a lifes lesson. I swing messed the weed and stuck the tip of the machete in my shin. Farmers wife cleans me up.  "you need to be more careful" was the extent of their responsibility. 'I know, sorry'. Went to ED, got a tetanus shot. $60, that I had to pay. Uncles words of wisdom, 'ya dumb ass don't do that again'.

Today lawyers would be involved, wouldn't allow a 16 YO kid to be doing it in the first place.  Lesson = take responsibility for your own actions.

Little was physically easier back then,  and most active things were more hazardous.  But young people who made it through were allowed to learn "life's lessons".  All of us didn't need a JD degree and I.T. degree to get through the day. 

 

Was it "better" then?  I cannot really say.  I do like today's advancements.  But I think the lesson learning part had obvious great value, and its absence is now showing on our societal expectations.  

 

Today everything seems so coddled, in search of some perfect existence.  Unfortunately, much of it just serves to further dumb the population and its leaders down. 

 

 Back then, I could figure out that the hand break on my truck was set, or the door was ajar without an annoying chime to remind me.  And when a pencil sharpener broke, it could be disassembled and repaired without destroying cheap plastic parts or replacement of circuit boards. 

Back then, nobody had to worry about their bank accounts or property deeds being hacked and stolen. 

 

Are all of these advancements really productive?

Or are we just "feeling like we're winning when we're losing again"? 

 

(Sorry, I drifted a bit off topic)

 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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repairing vs replacing. My Dad taught me a valuable lesson. He was born on a rural farm in Iowa. A 10 YO kid when the depression started. He said, 'Jerry, if something broke and you couldn't fix it, it stayed broke. We didn't have money, as in they didn't have any money. I always try to fix something myself before I give up. But the quality of stuff has suffered so much, now it's better to go buy new.

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Picked asparagus one summer, that was less than amusing! They gave us nail aprons and a forked weed cutter offer. Can still feel that apron with the strings trying to cut me in half:D.

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11 minutes ago, Eyesa Horg said:

Picked asparagus one summer, that was less than amusing! They gave us nail aprons and a forked weed cutter offer. Can still feel that apron with the strings trying to cut me in half:D.

Back when there were two Germanies, East German women were migrant laborers picking white asparagus in West Germany. It was back breaking work. They had to cover the asparagus shoots, let them grow a little, the snip them and recover. White asparagus was considered to be a delicacy, much favored over green.

 

 

Edited by Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984
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Been there done that , and would rather do that in 90 degree heat then load , unload and reload a Cargo area of a Airplane sitting on the tarmac In Kuwait at 160 degrees plus the only good part about that is we had to be out that last day of a 15 month tour , I would be back in 5 weeks 
I was 6 when I helped with Hay , driving the Truck down the field in granny gear :)

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by PowerRiverCowboy
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I guess we were smarter than most and did most of our hay hauling at night.  Had flood lights on the truck than shined to the sides in the field and lights in the barn to unload.  I wouldn't even try to guess how many thousand bales of hay me and my buddies handled in our teens.   We had an old 55 chevy 2 ton truck we hauled on.  If we were in the missouri river bottoms we would just put the truck in low gear and get out and go to loading bales.  Someone would jump in it at the end of the field and turn it around and jump back out.  It just crawled along in granny low. 

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Howdy,

i would love to sit at that table and eat one meal made by aunt Ruby.

The other side of farm work.

Farm fresh FOOD.

Best

CR

 

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10 minutes ago, Chili Ron said:

Howdy,

i would love to sit at that table and eat one meal made by aunt Ruby.

The other side of farm work.

Farm fresh FOOD.

Best

CR

 

 

I'll never forget how DELICIOUS the food was that the farmers wives would bring out to the fields. Good Lord them ladies could cook!

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One of my better friends in high school family owned a dairy farm in Wisconsin.  I agreed to work for them for a couple of days of hay baling.  I asked to work "in the shade" (the loft).  That was a mistake.  

 

His dad sprung for the cold beer at the end of the day, but the following year when they asked me to help again, I politely declined.

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Last year I paid $14 for a 3 string bale alfalfa.  On March 30th it was $17.  On July 6th The only 2nd or latter cut was $25.  The farmer & hay broker I buy hay from hay barn was < 1/3rd full & had almost zilch 4 string bales of alfalfa.  I paid $22 per bale for 1st cut alfalfa which I have always been told was too hot for horses.  I was assured that hay was OK for horses because it had been cut after it had bloomed.

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