Most of you probably have the luxury (depending on how you look at it) of making your own hay. Making hay is terribly hard work, but if you have the equipment and hay fields from which to make it, you should consider yourself pretty lucky.
I’m one of the many horse and livestock owners that have to depend on the kindness and manpower of others to acquire a year’s supply of hay. I’m also one of those people that constantly stresses about the possibility of running out of hay.
I was fortunate enough last year to buy my hay before the drought hit, but I was afraid that last year’s hay shortage might bump some other customers up the list to purchase hay ahead of me if they were in desperately need of it. I didn’t have much hay left myself this year, and I wanted to make sure I started storing hay for the winter of 2014. I had no reason to worry. I can always count on my “hay men.”
Mike Bush has been supplying hay for me all of my adult life. He and his father, Harold, bale about 40 acres in Morrow County. Mike always laughs and asks me if I go out at night and count and recount my hay, and he is not that far off the mark. Having enough have for my horses is a serious matter to me, and making high quality hay is serious business for Mike.
I invited myself to the Bush farm to watch my hay being made. Mike and Harold were kind and patient enough to put up with me. I missed the mowing but I watched some tedding, raking and baling. After standing in the sun a couple of hours and watching them work so hard, I would have been happy to pay whatever they asked for a bale of hay. Making hay is hard work.
Not only do Mike and Harold work hard at making the hay, but they also employ some local teenagers to help when it is time to bale. Mike has three teenage daughters, so he knows many of the local young people.
“Usually, it’s my daughter’s boyfriends,” Mike said of his help. “That’s how I test out the boys.”
Sure enough one of the young men helping happened to be a boyfriend of one of the girls. He even helped my husband, Mark, and I stack hay at my house, and if I were the parent of the young lady in question, I would give that hardworking young man a hearty nod of approval. After all, if you like a gal well enough to come back for a second summer of hard work making hay on the farm, you must be committed and dependable.
Thanks to Mike, Harold and their young helpers, I now have a barn full of hay, and nothing looks better to a livestock owner than that hay stacked high.
Remember, be nice to the men and women who help harvest and stack your hay. It’s a hot and hard job that is often overlooked by those who have never ridden on a hay wagon in 85- to 95-degree heat and baled hay themselves.
Be nice to your hay man!
Watch the video below to see my hay being made.