Sunday, 10 August 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

It’s been lots of work here on the farm. The ploughing is slowly progressing. On the whole it looks good but there are large patches where the plough just skims the surface, which roughly corresponds to the damp/clay areas.

The weekend was forecast dry with Sunday being 30°C, ideal for haymaking now that the hay cutter had been repaired. So Saturday dawned and I waited for the dew to dry and went to set up the cutter. It wouldn’t lift the cutters plus the hydraulic connection was leaking. G came out to have a look and see if anything was moving at all when I operated the hydraulics. The ram had opened to the full extent but the chain was still loose – not right as the repaired chain had only had a link changed. While looking at the cutter G said, “what’s that for’? He was pointing at pulley, a pulley that really should have had a chain wrapped round it but didn’t.

We then proceeded to spend the next few hours taking the mechanism apart, and putting it back together correctly. It took a couple of goes, partially because we didn’t have the right tools and partly because it was trial and error until we got the adjustment right.

Eventually we were successful. I stood in awe of G’s strength when he heaved the cutters off the floor so we could get some working slack in the chain; something I would never have been able to do by myself.

It was now well into the afternoon so I didn’t finish cutting until after it was dark.

Sunday was warm and bright and I was able to set down the hay cutter without breaking the chain this time. I then filled the tractor with fuel and went to hitch on the tedder. It didn’t take too long to attach the side arms and adjust the lift arm and attach it so all that was left was the drive shaft to the PTO. Would it go on, would it h**k; I squeezed the release catch, I pushed the universal joint but it just wouldn’t lock on. Eventually I got G out – his treat for the week was a lie-in, but even he couldn’t’ get it on. Eventually I got the lump hammer and a piece of wood; G held the release catch and I applied the persuasion – it worked.

OK so I was running about an hour late but I thought there would still be time so I started on turning the grass. What I was expecting to take about an hour took nearly 4.

I remember the neighbour who cut the hay last year mention something about it being ‘mur’ (better). Turns out it was my lack of understanding his accent; he was talking about ‘mure’ (blackberries). There were long strands of blackberries running through the grass and these tendrils wound themselves tightly round the tedder until it was completely jammed. This of course happened when I was as far away from the house as I can be on the farm and no I didn’t have my knife.

This happened a couple more times although I stopped before the tedder was anywhere as completely jammed as the first time.

I didn’t have my camera during the first pass but took this picture when I went down to do the second pass. It shows a bit of the problem although this was nowhere near enough to jam the machine and only took a few minutes to pull clear.

I finally finished the first pass with the tedder around the time I was expecting to start the second pass after leaving the grass for an hour or so to dry.

I did get another pass in but the grass still has some wet leaves in it so baling wasn’t possible. I now have to hope that the forecast for tomorrow is wrong and that we don’t have rain but I think I will be drying the grass starting Wednesday and hopefully baling by Friday.

One hay field.


Georgina said...

God Deborah, thank god you finally got your hay cut. Have you square bailed it? Debs x

dND said...

Hi Debs,

It was to wet to bale yesterday and far to wet now! Hopefully I can dry it out on Wednesday and Thursday and then get it baled. It will be square baled - so much easier for me to handle

aims said...

I remember my father cutting hay and how much trouble his tractor and equipment always was. Why is that?

Thankfully I found out how allergic to hay I am and managed to only have to turn the hay - not throw it around. A couple of asthma attacks was what it took to convince my father I couldn't be of much help.