This is another short hay year. Late rains last Fall and a fairly dry Spring meant a bit less than expected so we needed to buy extra. Given this year's high hay costs, we opted to buy straight out of the field from a neighbor.
Picking up hay from the field is a great lesson in teamwork. Beside appreciating the power of machines which one person can do, the real lesson is in working together. While working, I thought about automation of our farms, our reliance on technology and petroleum and what this does to those regular team-building exercises that our ancestral farm families have always done. Working together at 5 in the morning we pulled up over 22 tons of hay onto our truck and flatbed and stacked it in our big barn. Doing this, I learned how to balance on a 10 foot high stack on a moving flatbed, while my 12 year old daughter Maria learned how to drive a truck. Chris organized paths for the truck to drive in and Ella and Alex learned how to efficiently handle and lift and work together.
This was not all harmonious mind you, and was accompanied by a certain amount of yelling, admonitions, and hair-pulling. In the end, we worked it out because we had to. There was no automation to save us, no harrow-beds, and not perfectly stacked hay. For that, I'm thankful.