It seems like every time I turn around, there is another opportunity to relive a bit out of the Little House books. I would tell you it's for the children's sake, you know, for homeschool, except that I usually enjoy it as much as they do.
We had our hay cut, back about the 4th of July. A neighbor did it. Unfortunately, between the time the hay was cut, and the time it was to be baled, a different neighbor's irrigation water flooded our pasture, so the haying neighbor couldn't bale part of it for a couple of days.... except then he was going out of town for two weeks the next day, at the start of monsoon season. Rain + hay = bad. We could've called around to find someone else to bale the rest, but for the 20 or so bales we would have gotten, we hated to bother anyone.
Which meant that we had a whole lot of hay laying on the ground, all dried out and needing to be put up.
So we called upon our knowledge of Ma and Pa and Laura and Mary, and off we went out to the pasture. Remember when Laura helps Pa bring in the hay in The Long Winter?
"[The hay] came tumbling loosely over the high edge and Laura trampled it down. Up and down and back and forth she trampled the loose hay with all the might of her legs, while the forkfuls kept coming over and falling... The sunshine was hotter and the smell of the hay rose up sweet and strong. Under her feet it bounced and over the edges of the hayrack it kept coming."
Ma wasn't all too pleased that her daughter was out doing man's work - "She did not like to see women working in the fields. Only foreigners did that. Ma and her girls were Americans, above doing men's work."
But Laura was glad to have been able to help Pa, even being the "Half-Pint" that she was. While I'm not sure my girls have the stamina to keep at it for days, they sure did enjoy it for a few hours! (Here's hoping we have no need to twist this hay into logs for the fire this winter...)
Our experience, of course, was a high-tech version of that. We had a pick-up truck, and instead of Daddy driving the horses, I drove the truck along.
Daddy pitched the hay into the back of the pickup...
And then Two Little Girls jumped and stomped and danced and packed it all down tight.
With their help in doing this, we were able to get most of the hay in only four pickup loads.
And of course, they were rewarded with a hay ride over the bumpy pasture back to the barn.
Huck and Izzy supervised (read: napped in the tall hay)
And Bandit tried to figure out how he was going to reach just a little bit further to get to that big ol' pile of hay by his stall.
This whole farming thing is a lot of work, the hot and sweaty kind of work that leaves you exhausted... but on days like this, when the work is accomplished all together as a family... well, that's why we're here, doing what we're doing.
“It is a good idea sometimes to think of the importance and dignity of our every-day duties. It keeps them from being so tiresome; besides, others are apt take us at our own valuation."
--Laura Ingalls Wilder