Hay camp?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cornhusker, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Unapologetically me Supporter

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    Just wondering if anybody else did the hay camp bit as a kid?
    I spent a few summers working 50 miles from town as a scatter raker.
    Had asperations of being a sweeper, but didn't achieve that lofty goal until my last year.
    They don't do it that way anymore. Where we used to mow, rake, sweep, stack, scatter rake, they just swath and bale now.
    I'd like to think I'm not the only one left who summered in the hay field.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I grew up hating the smell of new mown hay.
    No one done it as you discribe around here. We mowed with horses. raked it into large windrows with a dump rake, then went down the windrows with the dump rake and bunched the hay into small stacks. Next we took a wagon with a flat bed or hay rack as we called them (same as they are today except the wooden wheels) I wasn't tall enough or strong enough to pitch the stacks on the wagon with a pitchfork so I had to stay on the wagon and spread the hay out, and tramp it down keepng the load square as it got higher. We had a hay fork in the top of our barn that was used to pull the hay up into the haymow (upper story of the barn) A long heavy hayrope went through the top of the barn and the horses were hitched to the rope at the oppisite end of the barn to pull the huge forks full of hay from the wagon into a large door at the peak of the barn. A trip rope was held on to by the man sticking the hayfork on the wagon. When the hay got to where the guys in the haymow wanted it, they yelled, and the man at the wagon gave a jerk and the fork dumped the big bunch of hay, The man had to pull the fork and all that heavy hayrope back out to the wagon and do it all over again. Most of the barns had steel roofs. If the sun was shining it got hotter than a settin hens nest up under the roof. Make hay while the sun shines was the only way to do it.
     

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I didn't have to travel to put as much hay up as I could. I was in demand and could have kept 3 of me busy baling hay. Wish I had a nickle for every bale..........
     
  4. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    I baled for 5 years when in high school for my father. we did the machine thing. Tractor-baler-wagon. I hated standing on the front of that wagon staking bales right off the back of the baler. Before we started hiring others, there was a time my dad would just keep rolling along until he finally looked back and saw me rolling bales off the baler onto the ground before he'd stop, figuring maybe I needed a break.

    I think we baled about 10K 40 lbs bales a year. I personally handled every one twice, once to stack on the wagon and once to stack in the shed. Then probably half of those stacking onto someones truck. I still hate the smell of hay.
     
  5. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Heck I liked it. I was rather proud that I was always every farmers first choice and that I got paid more than everyone else.
     
  6. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    Oh ya, we had 60 milkcows and 150 beef cows that ate alot of hay. we hayed all summer,seemed like every day. by time we got the cows milked the dew was off most days and we would stop to milk again in the late afternoons and then sometimes pick up or unload hay after that till dark or later if there was a chance of rain. we could have got a big round bailer but they were pricy and the old newholland sq. bailer was paid for. we are still useing that old bailer
     
  7. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Unapologetically me Supporter

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    i always liked the smell of hay, but towards the end of summer, I'd get kinda tired of it all. We used to go up in the sandhills to put up hay on a big ranch. Sid and Charley were our bosses, they'd pick us up and six to eight weeks later, we'd get to come home. Sometimes after the Sandhill run, we'd go down to the lale and put up some hay down there. In the Sandhills, we slept in an old non working bus. The seats had been removed and replaced with bunk beds on either side. It was no place for fat kids as there was only about a foot between the beds. We had an old sheep herders wagon we used as a place to hang out and play cards in the evening. The cook house was a long narrow building with a shelf on one end. On the shelf was a wash pan and a pump to fill it with so we could wash up before eating. Lots of times in the morening there would be a little ice on the washpan.
    There was alos a shower house and an outhouse as well as another sheep wagon that served as quarters for Sid and his wife, and a little shack for Charley to stay in.
    In the mornings, we'd get up, sharpen sickles, replace broken sectioins, replace broken rake teeth, inspect our tractors, grease them, etc. Then head to the cook shack for breakfast.
    After breakfast, we'd head out to wherever we left off the previous day. the mowers were always at least a day ahead of the rest of us. They'd mow it down with 9 ft sickle mowers, and the rakers would go along behind and rake it into winrows. the next day, the sweepers would come along and buck sweep the winrows into piles until the stacker was positioned and set up. then the swepers would pick up their bucks and tke them to the stacker, pushing them onto the stacker head. the guy running the stacker, usualy Charley, would rev up and slide the load to top and into the cage. He'd point to wich side he wanted the load, and he'd tie the stack together by placing the loads in a pattern,
    When a stack was done, whoever was close, usually sweepers would open the cage, unhook the stacker tractor and walk the cage off the stack. Then as he pulled it ahead, we'd push the stacker closed and latch it.
    When the sweepers had quite a few bunches removed, the scatter rakes would move in and clean up all the dribbles and drops and make a winrow of them. the sweeps picked them up and took them to the stacker.
    I remember when the sun was low in the evening and we'd be heading back to camp, clinging to a 53 Chevy pickup, the meadow looked like a manicured lawn, and for some reason, I remember the shadows of the stacks pointing East towards the hiway that could take us all home.
    Back to the cookhouse to wash up for supper, usually a big stack of steaks, potatoes and pie for dessert. That was one thing, we got fed very well.
    By that time, it was dark so we'd take turns at the shower then go play cards until we were too tired to play. Head for the bus, and sometimes Jim would play his guitar, sometimes we could get Scott to sing and even rarer, the rest of us would sing along. I'm sure we scared the coyotes away,
    Anyway, that's the hay camp of my youth, thanks for letting me ramble down memory lane,
     
  8. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds like a great memory CH. I remember the food too. Sometimes I'd work on 3 or 4 farms a day, and get fed at every one. (when I got home ma would ask if I ate, and of course I'd say "no")
     
  9. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    One year I was buckin' bales and came across a bale with a snake hanging out of it. I screamed and did some kind of funky anti-snake dance while in a panic. After that I always got to drive the truck (cause I was the girl) while the guys bucked bales. Guess my hay days weren't as long ago as most of yours. We baled in the 60's and 70's then I moved away and didn't put up hay again until the early 90's. In the 90's I just drove the truck and hired high school boys to buck the bales.
     
  10. sellis

    sellis Well-Known Member

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    spent many a summer doing that , pay was only 7.00 dallors a day but we ate well and had fun with friends . we used tractors with sicle movers but the bailers and also rakes were all tractor pulled to , the problem was the boss wasnt a real nice guy if you walked off the job you walked back home , i never left but he was also a family friend . but we went for many miles working on what he called shares .