Friday, September 21, 2012

200 bales of hay

today i helped load and unload 200 two-string 70 # bales of alfalfa hay...

for the loading, it was me and [the rancher's stepson] on top of the trailer while the alfalfa farmer's worker used a tractor with a hay grapple attachment (or hay bale stacker) to lift 6 bales at a time to us ... we simply repositioned the bales on each level and built our way up 6 levels ... the first level had 38 bales turned up on their side, and then each of the next 5 levels had 32 bales, regular way, and criss-crossing each level, for a total of 198 bales sewn together on one twenty foot trailer ... it wasn't bad ... but i cringed when i heard that those hay stackers are a new gizmo and that [the rancher's stepson] has in the past done this same job by hand ...

the unloading was equally cherry ... a best case scenario ... there were three of us for unloading at the first location ... and four of us at the second location ... the fourth guy was a new friend of [the rancher's stepson], and had just moved to town from connecticut ... he learned today why ranchers wear long sleeve shits after he scraped and poked his arms with the hay ... i understood quickly after i arrived here that the long sleeves are protection from things that can poke you and protection from the sun ... the hat is additional skin cancer prevention ... or simply, to keep you from burning your neck and ears ...

i grew up in florida ... land of sun and beaches ... and yet i never really used sunglasses until i moved out here ... you've got to have a hat, sunglasses, and at least 30 spf sunscreen or else you will cook.