Spent most of today baling hay (those horses Just. Keep. Eating.).
In case you’re normal and have never farmed hay before, here’s the cliff notes version of the process:
- Cutting and raking – Hay for horses has to be dry to avoid molding. While cows have multi-chambered stomachs that can basically ingest old shoes (and moldy hay), horses have extremely sensitive digestive systems that require a bit more finesse. This step can take a few days depending on weather to make sure the hay is ready for baling. Luckily we have a farmer who share-crop the land and he handles this step.
- Baling – A trailer (like the flatbed in the photo) is hooked to the tractor and baler with people (read: me) to catch the bales. We use the small square bales, which can be anywhere from 40-100 pounds each. Each bale is caught from the baler and stacked for the first time (that’s right, the FIRST time. Stay tuned).
- Unloading – The thing about those fancy looking stacks of hay on trailers is that you can’t really store them. So regardless of whether we are keeping the current cut (like today) or selling it (next cut), the hay has to be unloaded and stacked AGAIN in its final home. This is more often than not a dusty loft with zero ventilation.
In the midst of all this hay-baling funness, I started thinking about ballet. I really think doing this kind of work has helped me in my ballet classes – or maybe my ballet classes have made farm work easier? I find myself in a nice demi-plie to lift a bale into place. My improved core strength helps me balance on the swaying, bumpy trailer. And I know my stamina for both keeps getting stronger and stronger.
I suppose this is what everyone means by cross-training??
Do you find ballet creeping into completely unrelated tasks and activities and improving them?