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  • Bobbie Emery

Stacking Hay

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

I was thinking, that if I was ever told I only had one hour to live, but I could spend it doing anything I wanted, I'd choose stacking 300 bales of hay in our hay loft, on a 97 degree day – because that hour would last an eternity.

Normally we wait until the weather turns cooler to get the hay in, but we were worried that the price is going to skyrocket again this year, so we went ahead and ordered it. It was delivered, of course, on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year.

When the truck arrives we put our hay “elevator” on the bed of the truck where the driver can load the bales onto the conveyor that transports them up to the loft, where I stand waiting to unload them. The fifty pound bales come quickly, one after another, and it's always a struggle just to keep up. I grab each bale as soon as it comes within reach, but before it falls off the end of the conveyor, either dropping back down to the ground - or worse yet, derailing the rest of the load. Once I've successfully grabbed the bale, I throw it to the person doing the stacking. Each bale lands with a decisive “thunk”.

The interminable mechanical clacking of the hay elevator reminds me incessantly that I forgot to tighten the chain - and the screeching of the gear cogs lets everyone know I also forgot to oil the gears. Unsuccessfully, I try to distract myself by making up lyrics that go with the screech, the clack and the thunk. Here's the best I could do;

The screech of the cog

the clack of the chain

the thunk of the bale...

The screech of the cog

the clack of the chain

the thunk of the bale...

The screech of the cog...


I know - it needs a little work.


Even in cooler weather it's a monumental chore to get the hay in. Last year, I was the one stacking the bales, and even though it was a crisp November morning I quickly overheated so I removed my sweatshirt and hung it up inside the loft - promptly forgetting about it until the last bale was unloaded and I started cooling off again. Calculating that the sweatshirt was, at that point, buried about 400 bales in, and we only use 5 bales a day, I probably wouldn't see it again until sometime in late February. I was extremely pleased, however, to discover that my car keys were not in the sweatshirt pocket, which in itself would have necessitated making the hard choice between restacking the 400 bales to retrieve them, or trying to convince Anne it was time to buy a new truck...




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