Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cutting Hay the Really Hard Way.

So yesterday besides the excitement of rescuing a baby deer fawn, we made hay. Lot's and lot's of hay.

Probably too much hay. Because the weather had been uncooperative, I basically had one day in which to make all my hay so that it would be good and dry before I stored it because wet hay can catch on fire and burn your shit to the ground. No pressure or anything though.

Now being me, I make my hay by hand, with a scythe. Which is fun, but also requires a lot of upper body strength.

So I did what any red blooded American does when they are faced with a enormous, labor intensive task of herculean proportions, I drank a bitchshitton of caffeine. Which worked like a charm really. I was the first one out to scythe since Scott was cleaning his office that morning. It was a beautiful day. The temperature was perfect, with a deep blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds and a swift clear breeze. And about eighty bazillion flies. And we were out of bug spray.

After searching both mobile homes, I managed to find a tube of suntan lotion that also contained bug spray and smeared it all over me. Which did work, for about half an hour. Luckily, Scott dug through our travel bags and located some before the insects were able to lift me off and carry me to their terrible kingdom of itchiness.*

I was really enjoying myself. I could watch the birds in the sky, and see the shadows of the clouds slide along our ridge. The caffeine masked any tiredness and aching and I was left to enjoy the labor and the day.

That is until we finished with the upper meadows.

The upper meadows are more sparse, as they used to be grazing for horses and still shows the signs of overgrazing even all these years later. So cutting the hay out of them is relatively easy. But the lower meadows, oh god they are as dense as motherfucking antimatter.

Now the upper meadows we sort of seeded lazily if at all, same with weed removal.

But the lower meadow, I had a goal. I was going to make a hay field. Not just any hay field, the best goddamned hay field the world had ever seen. So I spent two years cutting the weeds back. And then we seeded it with grass seed and then when the grass came up I hand harvested it for fresh treats and bedding for my bunnies. Always being careful to never take to much from one area and to watch the ratio of plants to judge the health of the soil.

And this year the grass was as tall as me.

Which was both awesome and terrible. Awesome because that is some good ass hay right there, and terrible because cutting it by hand was pretty fucking awful.

I couldn't do a full swing, so moving forward one step involved several passes. Also, there was no way to see the ground beneath my feet, so I kept hitting my scythe on rocks and stumps and shit.


But we goddamed did it. Even with an angry mama deer breathing down our necks and watching us from the safety of the forest thinking dark malevolent thoughts.

Except that by the end of day my arms were shot. I have to explain that my right arm takes almost the full wight of the scythe, and it hurt like a bitch. It hurt almost as bad as when I had broken my finger. Once the caffeine wore off I sent Scott to the store for beer. Except I had forgotten that my painkillers were in the car that he had left in to obtain said beer.


Even taking a shower didn't help. It was like a achy dull pain that would intermittently form a sharp stabbing pain whenever the fuck it felt like it. So that evening was spent crawling around trying to find a position where my arm wouldn't hurt like hell (there wasn't one.)

It was one of those nights were you count down the minutes until you can reasonably go to bed because your body is shot and you are covered in bug bites. And sunburn.


Nothing quite like this glamorous farm life.

Kill me.

*It 'tis a terrible place.


  1. I have this picture in my head of the mother deer, peering from the dark forest with red, angry eyes.

    If i tried the things you do, i would most likely be dead! :)

  2. Okay, this is my favorite line “…I drank a bitchshitton of caffeine” and thank you, Holly, because “bitchshitton” is now my favorite new word. :D

    After all the grueling work you did (which is downright amazing) I think you could have used a bitchshitton of beer plus a bitchshitton of pain killers. Oh dear…have I said bitchshitton too much? ;-)

    1. You can never say bitchshitton enough, really.

    2. Right there with ya Super Earthling. I learned a new word today "bitchshitton" and I'm gonna ROCK that word this weekend like nobody's business!!!! Thanks Queen Holly the Magnificent for the education!!!!

  3. Between you and Ken I keep getting massive amounts of disillusionment thrown at me and it is making me question my long, deep seated desire to be a farmer/homesteader/Amish woman.

    Now. I demand posts about frolicking in the meadows, collecting shiny clean eggs from happy chickens, and cute little goats that follow you around like puppy dogs because they love you, and orchards full or ripe heavy fruits waiting to be picked and enjoyed right under the tree.

    And shouldn't there be a barn raising and a quilting bee too?

    1. Don't let us disillusion you! This farm was the best thing that ever happened to me besides marrying my husband.