the third cutting

Monday morning we woke up a little groggy after a huge weekend of parades, candy, volunteering and Jesse James. Rory went to work at half day at the butcher shop where he is working part time to learn more about processing our animals. And I loaded the kids up to purchase baling twine at the Case Dealership and to pick up the fixed PTO shaft at the Foundry. We got home at the same time as Rory and it was time to hit it. I made a quick lunch of brats and smashed potatoes and we were off. Rory went to see if the fixed shaft would fit in the baler. I began putting babies down for naps.

Rory came in a bit later and said he was using degreaser to clean out the shaft...the part was too tight in there. He couldn't get it to go in. He was so discouraged. But I looked at him and said, "We are baling that field today! This is the day we're doing it. And when we go to bed tonight there will be a whole lot of small square bales piled in that barn." He said, "How do you know that? You can't actually know that." And I said, "I know it because for the next 10 hours all we are going to be doing is working on that field together." And that's exactly what we did. Eventually he did get the shaft hammered into place and then he felt a little more confident that the day may turn out well.
First we got the rake hooked up to the tractor. Attaching implements is quite the tedious job. But we got that pin slid through the holes and then Rory was off. This rake comes from the farm my mom grew up on. My Uncle Jake is letting us use it until we find one of our own. I have been wondering which of my uncles and if my grandpa used this rake. We are so grateful for it!
And then we got the baler hooked up. And it worked!!!! This is the first bale that popped out of our baler and the dancing and shouts and fist pumps made for quite the celebration. Little bale, you made our day.
 Every so often the twine wouldn't tie and Rory would hop down and fiddle with this and tighten that and then it would work great for more bales until it didn't work again. It meant that I got to help spread out the hay again for the baler to run over for another attempt of being tied into a tidy bale.

I also would like to say that at about 4:00 I went in the house and my kids were ready for a mother to come and settle a few things. Mostly their stomachs. So I made dinner while our neighbor Gary went to get more gas for us. Neighbors are the best. And I got all kids situated after blueberry pancakes. The big kids were done with the little kids, so the little kids got to come with me to help spread out the hay stacks.
They were pretty good sports about it. I just kept feeding them apples and graham crackers. And they made for fun company. They were quite thrilled to see their dad going by. (We never were actually very close to him...)
 Even the cat came along for a while.
Then it was time for Hattie and Alden to go to bed and that made things a bit easier. When I was walking the babies to the house my neighbor Maureen saw me and I told her I was so dog tired. Every part of my body was exhausted. And she hollered back, "Sweetland, Becca!" And her saying that was like a reset for me! It was so wild. That movie has the scene where the husband and wife are working together to get in their harvest. And that's what we were doing. I decided to muster up more energy. Plus it was the glorious part of the evening when the light turns everything to gold. And Ivar and Elsie still had loads of energy, partly thanks to their Jesse James parade candy...
 Ivar and Elsie played in the back of the truck and later I found a bazillion pictures of Elsie being silly.
And of me, stretching out my back. It hurt so, so bad. I lay like this for half an hour while we let Rory finish the field. And we backed the baler safely into the barn with the truck (implement detaching and reattaching) and parked the tractor so we could head into the field and gather up our bales. Our friend Jeff came at just the right moment to help load them up. Elsie and I drove in the cab and the boys worked in the back. The sky was black with stars when we were done. And another sweet memory was made.
We made serious progress this cutting! We raked AND baled ALL BY OURSELVES this time! Our last frontier will be to cut the field. The first cutting was all about learning how to drive the tractor. The second cutting was learning how to use a small square baler (our neighbor's). The third cutting was using our own rake and our own baler.

WE ARE GETTING THERE!!!

I told Ivar, "Ivar, Your dad is learning all of this so that one day you can call him up and say, 'dad, I need your help.' And he'll come figure it out with you and together you'll know what to do."

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