If cutting wheat is like a haircut for a field then baling straw is the barber whisking the hair off your shoulders and sweeping it into the dustpan. Once the straw and chaff roll, grind, and shoot out of the combine, the cut straw scatters across the ground. Fresh clippings wait to be picked up by metal tines and packed tightly into standard rectangles with plastic twine (orange AND blue, so flashy).
This year I get to be the “barber” and am so excited at the prospect of running the baler (let’s be honest, happy to be out of the house without the kids) I may “misinterpret” dad when he tells me how many bales to make. But who cares? I am running the BALER! I skip figuratively to the tractor. The clunking and thunking of the packing arm rocks the tractor to and fro. I shove squishy orange ear plugs into my ears to drown out the noise of both the tractor and the baler. The dulled repetitive sounds of the engines are a strong contrast to the silent fluffy clouds slowly pushing northeast. My brother drives the combine in the distance and I periodically see dad work at getting one of the towers on the pivot irrigation fixed.
At the end of a few hours of creating imaginary patterns in the field, the machine pooping out bales, I am dragging the baler behind me like a tired puppy. Bales have dropped off the machine at random intervals and now the field is littered. I ponder how I can make the pattern more regular next year and possibly create an aerial smiley face? But for this year, success! 163 bales.
I report my general awesomeness to dad and he informs me that he had asked for about 100 bales. I am nothing if not an overachiever and possibly poor listener (the latter is certainly debatable and positive references would be appreciated).
Luckily, straw bales are light, easy to buck, and I didn’t make too many to overfill the hay loft. As we picked up the bales and stacked them on the trailer to move them to the barn, I made myself extra useful by carrying two at once. I felt like this. I probably looked like this. Why didn’t anyone get a picture of that? (Insert gratuitous photo of adorable children below.)