Hay Bales

This past week my neighbor injured himself and had to have back surgery. It was unexpected and unplanned. There are a lot of things bad about the timing of this – he is a stone mason in the middle of a very large project, they recently bought into the family farm, raise cattle and its baling season, and he has three, young, energetic boys. Not only is this my neighbor, these are my friends, like family. My brother from another mother so to speak. He learned his trade as an apprentice with my dad.

Now flashback many years ago to when my dad used to help his friends on weekends with hogs and cattle, corn and soybeans. His brother from another mother. My mom was a nurse at the hospital so we were often with my dad on weekends. As a kid I spent a lot of time on the farm, riding in the tractor and playing in the hay loft. Those were the days of walking alongside the trailer throwing bales on and stacking as you go.

In farming you don’t get to decide timing and schedule. You follow the seasons and we are in the season of moving and stacking bales and getting ready for fall and winter. Some are doing a second cutting.

This past weekend we had gorgeous weather. We visited with our neighbors and decided that with nothing of our own pressing it would be a good time to move bales and so Sunday afternoon was spent moving hay. I had two trucks with trailers attached. My dad on one end loading and my friend’s wife on the other end unloading and stacking. It was like old times! My dad and I loading hay. I got to crawl up on the wagon a few times to adjust tie downs. I don’t remember repelling down the straps being that much fun though. It didn’t dawn on me until I was headed over with the first load that I haven’t backed up a trailer in probably the last 15 years. Good news, it comes back quick!

Even though I didn’t get a single thing done at home, and I’m allergic to grass, I had a blast! My neighbors are grateful for the help. I’m happy it’s done and off their list of things to do. I can’t believe I didn’t take a single picture.

Friends, family or whatever…when someone needs a hand, lend one! Giving – it does the body good. #PayItForward

Progress

This spring I tried diligently to find a contractor willing to give me a quote for labor on a large shop project on our property. It is a DIY project that got sidetracked and our physical resources got allocated elsewhere. After much searching, calling and conversations I got a quote. It was a bit higher than I was looking to spend but in my mind worth it to advance our project along.

That was about two months ago and little has happened in the way of progress. At least until about a week ago when I awoke at 7am on a Sunday to noise outside only two find a couple snappy young fellas working on the roof. Apparently the contractor subbed out some of the work. Hmmm.

Fast forward a week. My roof is done (except for where Menards shorted me materials) and the fellas have now offered to the contractor that they could do the rest of the work. In the mean time I’ve asked the two boys for a few other project quotes. It looks like I could get lots more done than I had imagined. Suddenly things are moving along.

The stone work is still a DIY and we are also cruising thanks to really good weather. The look of progress this past week has come in many forms. The “lawn” is getting bailed, the inside of the shop can now stay dry and the stone is going on. I’m happy.

The Price of Progress

So my husband and I don’t live in the same house most of the time. It’s the price we pay for our careers. That will soon end with our upcoming move to the north woods. Between now and then we need to put up field stone on the new house and get the current house market ready. So, the separation continues for a few more months. 

Tomorrow I will be spending my day doing home improvement projects, boxing up my life and cleaning. I might do some work work in between all that too. My husband will be spending the day with my dad laying stone. It is going to be marvelous when it is finished. There is such pride in being able to do something yourself, especially something so massive and decorative. It’s the centerpiece of our new home. I will be helping soon once our home in the city goes on the market. My goal – sell it in under 14 days.  

My husband will come home Saturday night with a truck and enclosed trailer. Sunday will be spent loading. That’s our one day together this week, then back to work. We are fortunate that we are both handy in different ways. You have to be a little resourceful moving to the country. The hardware store, the bank, the grocery store and the gas station – they are several miles away – not a few blocks like they are now.