Cutting hay is a miserable, dangerous job. Strangely the farmer, who I won't name because I didn't ask for permission, loves it. We have placed large objects on tree stumps that are invisible due to the tall grass and he laughs at us. He has cut our place and knows every dip and stump. That is a man that knows what he is doing.
He works a full time job and he and his family run cows, in addition to that. Most of the people around here that raise cows do that. Its hard to make a living doing just one job.
He says he loves to cut hay. That is hard to imagine. You cut the grass and let it dry out in the field before baling it, so you have to cut when it is scorching hot. The bugs are out and the air is still. He does it after working a full day elsewhere. Are there any young people coming up that are willing to work this hard?
This year the farmer got 35 giant round bales for his work. That gives him 35 days of feed for his cows over the winter. No money changes hands. He gets the feed for his labor and his diesel to run the tractors. We get our fields cut and this also prevents junk trees and other plant life from taking over. We used to get hay for our horses, in exchange for allowing him to cut our pastures, but we no longer keep horses, so all the hay goes off the property.
Then Lee got out our tractor and bush hogged the slopes that are too steep to use the baling equipment. Once again, this is dangerous and hot. You have to go straight up and down or risk rolling over. You want to cut as close to the tree trunks as possible, while trying not to smack yourself with the branches that are right in your face.
A tractor doesn't stop. It just keeps chugging along in the direction you pointed it. The operator has to keep looking ahead and behind while keeping track of multiple foot pedals and hand controls. You have to maintain focus while going back and forth and around in circles on the same pasture. Don't hit a hidden tree stump. Don't swerve and flip. Remember your seat belt!
But when the fields are cut and the rolls of hay are randomly placed, it is a beautiful sight. I try to remember to stop and appreciate the fact that I get to live here. It is a damn fine place to be.