I heave the hay bale from off the field onto the trailer pulled by the white Ford. It lands with a thud. I am content. Sweaty. Aching. Happy. Smiling. Looking for the next bale.
There’s a constant line of us picking up bales. Not a perfect line, but a line spaced far apart.
I am in rhythm.
I walk to hay bale. Stand by it… claiming it as my own. Wait for the truck with trailer creaking behind it to inch it’s way in front of me. I lace my gloved fingers under raw orange strings and pull. I amble to trailer and… thud... the bale is thrown by this girl near the waiting, but constantly working, hands of the stacker. The stacker rides on the trailer and places the bales into the most space saving position.
This is hay baling… or at least my small part in it. This is my summer. This is one of the things I live for in summertime. Hay baling is work. But it’s also rewarding. This is how I receive a discount on hay for my horses… by earning it working in the field.
A different rhythm begins. Pull bale off trailer. Lug to stall stacked with hay. Throw down for the stacker. Repeat until the trailer is empty.
Then it’s back to the field.
This is dirty. This is glorious.
This is work. This is thrilling.
Oh this wonderful country life that I love!
note: this article was published in this magazine this summer