It’s September. September mind you. You put up hay in June and July. Not September.
In September, if you farm, you combine. If you ranch, you give calves fall shots. You clean your pens out. You weld up broken gates and line up feed bunks. You pull your bulls from the pasture and practice swearing at them. You don’t hay. Not normally.
I’m not a religious person. Oh, I was an alter boy for a lot of years when I was a kid. I still maintain that if it hadn’t been for Schlitz beer and girls, I may have gone into the priesthood, but that’s another story.
But I think in my studies, I may have missed one commandment. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s hay”.
We had finished haying. One pretty good cutting in North Dakota, and two great cuttings at Will’s place in Harding County. Normally to get two cuttings in Harding County would take between 3 and 5 years. You don’t get two cuttings in a year. But thanks to 18 inches of rain (because I had rain insurance) this year was an exception.
Anyway, we had finished haying. But a neighbor had a bunch of hay that they had been unable to get put up because of the abundance of hay and the wet weather. And we coveted it. So we took it on shares. All we had to do was cut it.
I have spent the last week, lying under a 20 year old haybine, pulling wet hay out of the header by the handful. My hands have gotten so raw and bloody, that by night, I can barely hold onto a glass. That is bad. Real bad.
And this hay field is about a mile and a half from the neighbor’s house. I covet his house too. It sits on a beautiful hill surrounded by pine trees. He has a wonderful deck, where he can sit in the morning or the evening and enjoy the view.
From his deck, he can take his binoculars and watch me pull the wet bundles of worthless hay from the header. It hurts. It really hurts to know that he is sitting on that deck, sipping on a cool drink, while I have sweat running in my eyes, blood dripping from my hands, and bugs crawling down my neck.
Cutting this wet, lodged hay reminds me of the story of the priest that was starting the lawn mower that he had bought at a yard sale. He pulled and pulled to no avail. The little boy, whose father had sold the mower, was watching with interest.
Finally, the priest turned to the boy, “How did your dad start this thing?”
The boy replied, “He would pull on it a couple times, swear at it, and it would start.”
The priest said softly, “My son, I wouldn’t know how to swear”.
The boy knowingly nodded, “You keep pulling on that rope, and you will learn”.