Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Make Hay whilst the Sun shines

Well the weather has been a bit hit and miss during the past couple of weeks in Arisaig
Some days have been absolutely glorious and others, well you would think Autumn was coming in early.
As the weather was good my husband and I went down to Stirling last week to see the chap who we purchase our hay from.
Both himself and his wife were furiously making hay whilst the sun shone.
His wife was driving the tractor & hay bailer, whilst he was driving a loadall machine with a telescopic arm that could pick up eight square bales of hay at a time and stack them on top of one another.
We could see well covered haystacks all over the land.
His wife continued on whilst we had our trailer loaded up by her husband.
There is nothing that beats the smell of freshly cut hay.
They had been working none stop to gather the hay before the bad weather set in, if I might say so they were doing a fine job.
It is a long time since I sat and watched a square hay bailer in action.
In those days not so long ago the square bails dropped into a bed all higgledy piggledy, now the bed on the back of the bailer sorts them out into a kind of shoot once the eight shoots are full the back door opens and they are left behind in a nice neat squre.
The loadall comes along with the special grab that fits over the top of the bails collecting all eight bales in one go, which are then stacked on top of each other.
I think they were five rows high I could not be sure as I was busy trying to keep the dogs away from a prospective lamp post as you might say.
In the past men worked on the pile of bails stacking them by hand, I remember my father coming home with husks stuck in his back from lifting the bails and stacking them, my mother used to spend half the night taking the husks out of his skin.
Them days always seemed to be long hot and dry, these days we seem to have to race more against the weather.
We sat for a while our host had a flask of tea and home baking in a picnic basket, which in true Highland tradition we delightfully excepted, we were talking about the price of feed and the demands already being made for it, all the while we were watching the hay bailer, tractor and his wife working away in perfect harmony.
I could have sat and watched all day but unfortunately we did not have the time and we did not want to hold back the workers when they are trying to beat the weather.
The animal feed will be in short supply this year what with the flooding down South and the East coast not growing well either because of the wet climate.
We got home not to late and unloaded the trailer, the next day we put some of the bails out for the cattle and sheep it smells beautiful.
As they say the proof is in the pudding, our animals are fussy and will not eat just anything, they never left a bit so looks like they have given the Creag Mhor seal of approval.

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