Hay, Horses and Tractors June 2008
Found this picture of Claude, our percheron cross and somewhat elderly farm labourer, being pressed into service a few winters ago rolling out a round bail of hay for his mates. Pasture hay is a big part of our winter feeding prgram, and the bulk of the hay is cut from our own land in late spring, early summer and stored for the following winter.
In this scene the boys decided to improvise and set Claude up with a modified pack saddle to act as harness, ran a pair of ropes through a running cinch and attached the other end to a spike pushed through the bale. With Tom on board to drive the “tractor”, Claude took to the task with enthusiasm. Hay was delivered on time and on budget!
For many years we pressed our hay into small square bales, because they are easier to feed out without a tractor. Big job getting the bales into the shed, having to pick them up pretty well behind the baler, load them onto a truck then hand stack the shed, tossing the bales up into the high space in the shed, just under the hot roof. Usually happened around December in hot weather with the threat of a spoiling thunderstorm putting the pressure on.
So we progressed to large round bales a few years ago, and battled on tipping them into a trailer, or whistling up Claude.
We struggled on for years until we accepted that we just had to get a tractor, for the sake of our backs and all the jobs we could get done around the place without using a contractor.
You know the story, looked far and wide with no luck until we heard about a Ford just down the road in Mytleford, and now Claude can look forward to an easier retirement.