Thursday, August 03, 2017

A Day in the Life by Paty Jager

me and my swather
Last Friday I woke knowing we would be cutting the alfalfa. I made breakfast while hubby checked the dairy pivots he manages.

After breakfast, while I fed Apollo and George, hubby changed out the sickle bar on my swather and filled it with gas.

As soon as that was finished, I climbed up and started cutting the blooming alfalfa. The scent of the field was sweet and in some spots almost sickeningly sweet. Hubby likes to let the alfalfa bloom once during this summer. He believes it keeps the plant healthier than always cutting before the plant can mature. The second cutting always goes to a feed store and cattle customers. The hay doesn't have to make "test" or have as much protein and nutrients as the first and third cutting that we sell to a dairy.

looking out my swather window
Each path I made of our semi-circle field took me on average 15 minutes. The first couple were closer to 25 minutes and as the path shortens so does the time. On the fourth pass, the header clogged. I had to get out and pull the cut plants out, climb back in and try to spin the header, climb back out and tug out some more plants, before it unclogged and I could continue.

plugged header from the top
This happened three times. The first time hubby came to see what was up and I'd pulled enough plants out of the reel that when he tried it, the header spun right away. I hate when that happens!

plugged header from the ground

As we both worked cutting the hay a band of bucks wandered out into the field. I took a few photos.

four bucks in the field
Later a harem of does, fawns, and a buck with a broken antler also arrived to eat the flowers on the alfalfa as we cut.
harem of does, fawns, and a small buck
We stopped for lunch, a 15 minute break, and then started back up. I only cut about three rows and my swather started back firing and losing power. Hubby came over with a screw driver and loosened two of the gas hoses. Hot gas spurted out. Then he opened the gas cap and hot air poofed out. He was questioning the gas as his swather had been doing the same thing. The gas was boiling and causing problems with the engine.  He messed with my swather twice and told me to let it cool down and try it again in 30 minutes.

my swather cooling off
He continued cutting the hay. Knowing I would need to go back out in 30 minutes, I didn't want to get on the computer, so I worked on the book bags I make to give to people who purchase my print books.

book bags
 I tried my swather after 30 minutes, it still wasn't running right. Hubby worked on it a bit, but we couldn't get it to not back fire and to have power. He told me to park it and he continue cutting.

When 6 rolled around, and he said he was going to cut until it was finished, I took him a sandwich, banana, and iced tea. He continued cutting as he ate. I went back in and continued sewing.

He texted needing more fuel. I jumped in Sami, saw hubby walking toward the house, and drove out to pick him up. We went to the shed, grabbed gas cans, and I took him back out to the swather, as he was filling the tank, he looked toward the east pivot. He couldn't tell if it was still running or if it had become stuck. After the swather was fueled,
evening bucks
I returned the gas cans and drove out to the east field to make sure it was running. It was.

While I was driving through the field to return the gas cans I spotted some different bucks coming out to eat.

I returned and fed Apollo and George and filled the water tank for the horses on the hill.

I continued sewing and waiting. 8:30 hubby came in the house. He still had three swaths to go but had run out of gas and it was dark. So we showered went to bed. Hubby was up with the sun the next morning, fueled the swather, and finished the last three rows. 

We'll see how the raking, baling, and picking it up goes.


Maggie Lynch said...

Wow, what a long day for both of you. Love the pictures of bucks and does. It sounds like you don't mind them eating the flowers from the alfalfa. I'm sure they all see your fields as a smorgasbord of great deer food. :)

Paty Jager said...

Hi Maggie, Yes, the deer are always snacking away on the alfalfa, but they seemed to really like the sweet smelling flowers when it was in bloom. Thank you for stopping by!