DWR life lesson # 1,456: Makin' Hay While the Sun Shines
You've probably heard the expression "Make hay while the sun shines", right? Do you ever wonder "what the heck is that supposed to mean?"
Well, folks, I can tell you exactly what it means. After a few short years of being married to a hay-man, I've learned the expression's meaning well.
This time of year is hay time. That means if the sun is shining, Justin is out working. Yep, it's time to cut hay, and ted hay, and rake hay, and bale hay, and then cut hay, and ted hay, and rake hay and bale hay, then cut hay and ted and. . .I think you get it.
From about mid-July through September we're responsible for the mowing and baling of approximately 800 tons of grass. It's a good thing we do it, because if we didn't, we'd be buying hay all winter long to feed our cows and horses. And as many of you know, hay is not something you can buy on super-sale at Wal-Mart.
So, to get to my point here, let me elaborate on the procedure. First, we mow the hay. This is exactly what it sounds like: a giant lawn mower cuts the grass and lays it down in the field.
Next, we ted the hay. Tedding fluffs the hay to expose it to as much air as possible and speeds up the drying process. This brings up a point--you can't bail wet hay, it will rot. That's why if it's sunny out, you have to be working. No dilly-dallying, mister, you never know, it might not be sunny tomorrow or the next day.
Then we rake the hay. The rake, like the tedder, turns the hay to ensure the hay is dry from top to bottom. The rows left by the rake are called wind rows. These wind rows make it easier to pick up the hay with the baler.
Finally, we bale hay. We do both small bales and big round bales.
After the bales are made, we pick them up and transport them to a sheltered barn where they stay nice and dry until we need them. During the winter, we'll ration out two or three round bales a day to our cows and horses we keep at the ranch. Additional hay is fed to the horses kept at the Walden ranch.
So, the moral of the story? The saying "make hay while the sunshines" means work hard, very hard, while you can because you don't know for sure if you'll be able to tomorrow or the next day. And all you make while working--save it. Keep it in a safe place so when the snow and cold comes and you need it, you'll have it.