During the baling season, there’s was always a smell of freshly cut hay. When I catch that smell now, I remember stuking sheaves – 3 and 4 in a group, like a Teepee. We also stuked the bales sometimes, but not often. The smell of hay was part of the air we breathed during that season. I always thought of the baler as a monster swallowing rows of dry hay without chewing and then excreting it out in big tidy compressed rectangles.
Wayne and I would ride on the wagon, while Uncle Emmett or Dad would be grabbing the bales as they came out of the baler and stacking them on the wagon, started at the back. We’d begin by sitting on the first bales, and as they were stacked, they made a stairway, getting higher and higher. Wayne would help by putting the top bales in place. We’d end up sitting very very high on the wagon. Mom said she was always afraid we’d fall off.
I remember always regretting wearing anything but long pants, because the bales were prickly on my legs.
When the wagon was up to a safe limit, the tractor would be detached from the baler, and then attached directly to the wagon then carefully pulled to barn. Sometimes the wagon would go over ruts and ditches in the field and I remember swaying big time back and forth at the top of the bales. I don’t remember ever falling off, nor do I remember the bales ever tumbling off.
The thrashing was all about oats.
The oats where all about pigs and cows.
The oats where ground into provender with the grinder in the granary.
The provender was used to fatten up pigs and calves.
The timothy was seldom harvested for seed .
If it was, Russell Riddle would come over with his combine and do it.
The same with the clover seed.
Planting oats was a big job.
First you plowed the field.
Then you disked the field.
Then you harrowed the field
Then you seeded the field
Then you prayed for good weather.
Then you cut it with the binder
Then you stooked it
Then you thrashed it
I remember the sweat...
It’s a hot summer’s day and Dad has come in for lunch from working out in the fields. His skin is glistening with perspiration and he heads for the kitchen sink to wash up. The soap and mixed with the smell of fresh cut hay and his sweat gives off a sweet fresh smell. “You’re all sweaty, Daddy!” He smiles and says, “Yep.”
Also, on hot summer days, Mom would ask us to take water out to Dad and Uncle Emmett working in the field. We have a white and blue large thermos type container, with a wide opening with an equally wide screw on top. Wayne and I would fill it with water and ice and carry it to the field. I remember it was very heavy when it was full and while carrying it, the sides would bang against my legs. I could hear the ice cubes knocking against each other inside and the cool condensation on the outside wet my bare legs.
When we got close to the tractor, baler and wagon, Uncle Emmett would shout for Dad to stop so they could have a cold drink. I felt so important and so proud that I wasn’t bringing something so valuable to them that they’d stop they work. Uncle Emmett had a big huge smile. He’d pour the icey water into the wide screw top lid, and drink from it. Then with a loud “Ahhhhh! That’s just what we needed” and a smile as big as the sun. Uncle Emmett’s sweat would form rivulets, dribbling down the sides of his face. Both of them were dressed perfectly to get the best farmer’s tan – shorts sleeved cotton shirts, opened in the “V” at the neck.