Yesterday I raked the hay in the big field behind Dean's. It was great. It was a beautiful sight as I came down the lane and caught my first sight of that field. All the neat rows of hay drying in the sun. The bright green, fresh cut grass contrasted against the darker hay that had been raked the day before. I felt the excitement growing.
The first time I raked hay in 2012 I did not like it at all. The tractor is loud and stinky. Raking the hay requires running the right wheels over the hay. I watched as the tractor spewed black exhaust right onto the food our cows would eat that coming winter. I was nervous, not sure if I was doing everything correctly. I wanted to do a good job, to help make nice hay for the cows.
This is my 5th summer helping with the hay. Raking has become much easier for me and there is mostly joy with a slight remnant of that nervousness remaining. Making hay for the cows is a very important job and I love contributing to this part of the farm. Driving the tractor now feels empowering.
Tractor work is one of those things. It must be done, for now. I love it because it is vital to having cows. Living in Michigan with cows means making hay. Making hay can be done without tractors. I do look forward to the day when there are lots of people here and we can make hay with hand tools and lots of positive energy. Energy that will come from a shared love of cows and milk and cheese. Until that day comes, I celebrate the tractor and its spewing of exhaust. It is what we do for now.
The cows are strong, creative beings. They thrive on the hay that we make. Things will only improve as the tractor work fades away.