Hay Hauling Meditation
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Hauling hay home from the field is something I enjoy.   It’s an activity almost meditative in nature.  Hauling hay is a feast for the senses; you feel the sun’s heat, smell the baled hay and taste victory as the result of a job well done.   Yeah, you could say I like hauling hay.

I seek simplicity in the tasks I perform.  Cutting hay with a haybine involves a sickle, a wobble box, a gearbox and the tractor to make it go.   Baling hay is an even more complex action with infinitely more opportunity for noise and an occasional break down.  Hauling hay is simple and fairly quiet.  I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced a breakdown while pulling the harvest home.  I use an ancient Lahman stack mover behind my old Belarus tractor.  I removed all the moving parts from the stack mover and the old hitch then replaced it with a pintle hook.  My Belarus is anything but beautiful but if you wipe aside the leaking hydraulic fluid you will find dependability embodied.  I had a special hitch built for the three point so I can simply back up to the stack mover and hook-up without leaving my seat.   Few moving parts and a low revving tractor answer my needs for simplicity and quiet.

The fact that I’m hauling hay means I’ve passed several tests.  Rain, cut, rain, rake, repair, rain, repair, bale, rain and a final bale are the steps that proceed the haul.  Hauling hay is living proof that I’ve ran the gauntlet and that my hay now deserves acceptance through the gates of the hay shed.  I have nothing to monitor when I haul hay so there’s time to reflect and enjoy my work.   I know better farmers than I who have yet to finish first-cutting so I also take time to count my blessings.  I consider that one day I will be old and wish I could haul just one more load.  It’s good medicine for the head and heart to be thankful especially out in a field of alfalfa.

I finished this column shortly after baling hay.  Two of the belts on my baler rolled over each other and then upside down to a point where it would have been funny if I wasn’t so angry.  I hate breakdowns and it made me crave the simplicity of hauling hay with my faithful Lahman stack mover and oil-smeared Belarus tractor.  I did feel a sense of accomplishment and victory when  I’d completed the repair. Upon reflection I would gladly trade that set of emotions for the peace, serenity and almost meditative state of stacking one bale at a time then hauling  the load home.