The farmers have been working so hard. The rain stopped, the sun has been shining. And shining! It was over 100 degrees a few times in the last couple of weeks. We got our hay baled--round bales again, though our stores of "square bales" are depleted. The big round ones last about a week each, requiring less work, but there is a bit more flexibility in feeding with the smaller. Children love hay bales. When I was a little girl we spent many hours making "hay forts" in the barn. The bales were heavy to move at the time, but it was a load of fun constructing networks of tunnels.
George and Bill, the farmer's sons, worked harder than anyone. Bill had hayfever and I can remember him working behind the bandana tied around his haydust-covered face. At that time there weren't all the big round bales you see dotting fields now. We were thankful for the fifty pound square bales and mechanized hay elevators. Gone were the days of hand raking and putting up loose hay in the barn with a giant hay fork. But there was still the hard work of walking behind the hay wagon after the bales had been formed, throwing them up to someone on the wagon who deftly positioned and stacked them. Thousands of them. For weeks. And then a reverse procedure to unload them all into the barn.
We are blessed at The Abbey Farm; the farmer who leases the adjacent land from the monks bales our hay when he does his. He makes the large round bales and lines them up for us near each pasture. He says it's "no trouble." We have a fraction of the land he does, and he says it's easy to open the gate and come through. His sons do the work and it takes a few hours over a period of a couple of days. Such goodwill!
These are hardworking young men. Brad and Andy are big and strong and have smiles about the size of Kansas. Looking down from their huge tractors, backlit by the blazing sun, they're like superheroes to our boys. They give the boys rides as they move the bales. The chatter that ensues in our house goes on late into the evening. Gus and Andy made plans for riding the giant combine when it comes time to harvest corn.
We made sourdough bread and homemade doughnuts to give as thanks. Hopefully, they like sauerkraut--we made that this summer in a big Polish crock. And Goat milk. Marie's goats are in full swing and she milks a couple hours a day. The bread, doughnuts, a can of sauerkraut, some fresh eggs, and a cold Mason jar of goat milk were placed in a basket lined with a floursack cloth. Brad smiled and graciously accepted the gift. Good lad! He said, "This is worth more than anything!" I'm not sure about that. But his smile and gratitude, and Superhero Haymaking sure were to us! Thank you, Brad and Andy! God bless you.
God bless all of you,
The Abbey Farm