The last week of July was hay week. Its like Shark Week… only dustier. Its all hay, all week.  I bought a square baler this year. Pretty sure it was built before 1960. That little baby threw over 800 squares this week… And I touched pretty much every single one, either to pick up, stack, unload, or restack. Or sometimes all of the above. I called this work out plan the “overnight animal.” It works like this: eat well all year, work out minimally, then, during hay week, lift bales all day for 96 hours. The results are startling. There will be loads of sweaty laundry. There will be cramping. And tears. And Advil. But your body will look amazing. It will hurt like hell. But it will look good. Without flexing. Because flexing leads to cramping. Which leads to tears. Then Advil. The saving grace this week was help from our dads. Dani’s dad can make any piece of machinery work. He had that baler running smooth in no time. And he handled a pretty good share of the bales too. And he brought both grandpa Warren and “grandpa” Doug with him to lend their expertise. My dad showed up in time to help us get the last couple loads out of the field and into the barn and surprised us with yet another aspect of farm life in which he is well versed. He surprised us with his chicken catching and sheep taming skills last year and I was like, “What? When did you learn to do that?” Having help makes all the difference in the world. Without it, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the  sheer multitude of work. Help means that there are people that might think that some of what you are doing is crazy, but they believe in you.   So, during hay week we learned about when to cut hay, and the different machinery you can use to do cut it, and working with your neighbor, and raking the hay after it gets rained on, and getting a baler to compact and form hay into segments and then tie and knot the twine around the segments to form a bale. Think trash-compactor-meets-sewing-machine, dragged behind a tractor. We learned about how to make tight bales or loose bales and that there are different kinds of twine and that no matter how you do all of that other stuff, picking up 800 squares, putting them on a trailer, unloading them, and then stacking them in the barn 7 high is hard work. But it’s kinda fun. And it’s nice to have a barn full of hay.

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