Baling straw is another of the many weird things that I enjoy doing. It’s very methodical driving up and down a field picking up the straw that the combines have left behind. It reminds me of vacuuming. You can go to a new field and see the hours of work there is to do to clean it all up – and when you are done and you look back at all those nice round bales there’s a real feeling of accomplishment.
Also, the telemarketers cannot find me when I ‘m in the baler, and I get another feeling of satisfaction in the evening when I come home to 5 or 6 hang up answering machine messages that I know were from someone doing a survey, or wanting to clean my furnace ducts, or trying to sell me a new and improved cell phone service….which I could really use.
However, the kids can find me when I’m in the baler. It’s hard to keep up to three combines when I need to stop and shut down because someone forgot their football equipment, or their lunch….or both. My personal favorite is the phone call from our daughter that lets me know that I will have to come pick her up from school because if she goes on the school bus she just knows she will barf.
I may not be the world’s most efficient baler, but it’s nice to have the best of both worlds. Having the opportunity to help out by keeping the baler running (most of the time), while also putting meals on the table and trying to keep clean clothes in the house is a bit frantic at times, but it is very short-lived. Harvest usually lasts for a few months, and then things are back to normal….whatever that means!
Here are some things that I’ve learned while in the baler….
- Never ever shift into neutral while rolling down a big hill. You’ll have a runaway on your hands. Kind of like life, when things are going down hill it’s not a good time to coast, you need to stay in control.
- When baling alongside a major highway, one should always limit one’s fluid intake. This is not the time to overload on coffee and water.
- You can find the best toboggan hills while baling. If you drop a bale and it rolls down the hill, through the fence, across the road and into the opposite ditch…..you’ve found yourself an excellent toboggan hill!
- The baler will skip over a rock the size of your head with no problem at all, but the little stones that are the size of your thumb will stop it dead, break the chain and have you out of commission for an hour. Kind of like life, if you skip over the big things, the little things will cause trouble.
- Radio stations tend to co-ordinate their crappy songs, leaving me with only the voices in my head for entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, those voices are pretty entertaining, but I prefer music. On that same note, Sunday mornings are very bad radio mornings…..make sure your iPod is charged before heading to the tractor.
- When your baler bursts into flames….and it will….there’s no need to take the time to tell your rescuers where you are – they can see the smoke for miles. There’s also no need to emphasize that you are ‘completely on fire’. They will come even if your baler is partially on fire.
We have a few days of baling left to do, but other than that harvest is done for another year. We were fortunate to have had great weather and very few major breakdowns …. or fires.
“Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant” – Robert Louis Stevenson