Thursday, September 4, 2014

Changes to Mowing the Field

The morning sun peeked through the trees sending long shadows across field. The air was brisk, refreshing and the wonderful smell of fresh cut hay filled my senses. Remnants of the predawn fog slowly dissipated in the sunlight. It didn’t take long before my feet were soaked and slipped in the wet crocs as I took photographs of the round hay bales and tractors.

The big field is usually mowed the first week in July and that didn’t happen this year. A couple weeks ago, familiar tractors and other equipment were brought in and the very far end of the field was done. A couple days later all the machines were gone. I wondered if there was something wrong with the field or if the hay wasn’t any good. My neighbor had told me that my little field is the wrong kind of grass. Did the big field somehow get contaminated?

Two days ago there was a tall green machine down the far end. What was that? From here, even with binoculars, I couldn’t tell. I’ve never seen anything like that before.

Yesterday I came home to hear a dull constant roar and upon looking out back, saw the field was being mowed. I was surprised and pleased. For some reason, I love the sound of tractors and mowing equipment. To me, that’s a highlight of summer (which is unusual because I normally don’t like the sound of loud machinery. Maybe it’s because farm equipment is a deeper rumbling roar.) Maybe it’s because it reminds me of childhood and how we used to play in the fields before and after mowing.

Near the stone wall to my property was a huge round hay bale. That was something new; usually this crew does the old rectangular bales. I grabbed my camera and hustled out to the field to photograph these new round bales. I couldn’t believe how much had been accomplished in a morning! An entire crew usually takes four to six days doing this one field with the mower, fluffing, raking into rows, baling, and finally a team of three or four would go around hefting by hand the rectangular bales onto a flat bed. In the four hours I’d been gone (and there wasn’t anyone in the field when I left) half of the field had been mowed and baled.

Now I saw that the tall green machine (green, John Deere, I should have realized that) made the round bales. The operator would stop the tractor, the back door of the baler would open, and the bale rolled out all neatly wrapped with blue twine. I was fascinated and took many photographs. I waved and gave the guys thumbs ups as they came around, one with the mower and one with the baler. They returned the waves. I felt like a little kid.

Later, I looked out to see some of the bales wrapped in white and being lifted onto a flatbed by the tractor. I couldn’t see the apparatus on the front of the tractor where the bucket normally would be, but I figured there must be some kind of gripper… maybe similar to those used to lift barrels.

They didn’t get all the bales wrapped and loaded. There is some work left for today, but this is a big difference and quite a time saver from previous years. Yes, I am impressed.

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