The farming news

I need to amend a couple things I’ve written previously.  First of all, when I said that maybe only the first mowing is good for making hay bales, I was wrong.  Now that summer is almost over, the last mowing has been turned into hay bales around us as well.

Also, I wrote some time ago about how sad it was to see the corn dying and wondering if it had to do with a water shortage.  The question has been turning to alarm as I’ve watched huge corn fields wither and turn brown from Gore to Muskogee.  I even saw a home garden with brown corn stalks.  Finally I had to have an answer.  I had Mark stop at the municipal building in Gore and tried to ask the question to the startled woman in the water department, but she didn’t know the answer.  Then we stopped at Harps for groceries and I asked the store clerk.  She didn’t know either, but the next shopper in line was an old man with a cowboy hat, so she asked him.  He said that the first ears of corn were picked fresh, but the rest was allowed to dry out.  Once dry, the stocks are cut and gathered to dry even further.  Then the corn is harvested for cracked corn and feed for cows.  So all that dead corn is intentional.

Today Mark and I were sent to Webber Falls, the small town on the opposite shore of the Arkansas River from Gore.  We’ve driven past it a number of times on our way to Gore, but we’ve never gone in.  We were sent to a feed store to buy hay bales for the hay ride we’ll be offering on Saturdays during the last five weeks of our stay here.  The feed store was like something from fifty years ago.  It was full of everything a farmer could ever need.  There was an elderly man behind the counter.  When we told him we needed bales of hay, he asked if we needed alfalfa and we said it was just for decoration so straw would be okay.  He told us where his personal barn was down the road and told us we could go in and get what we needed for less than what we’d have to pay for the hay at the store.  We thanked him and went in search of his barn.

When we first got there, we saw hay bales that looked like they would be too big for the two of us to lift, but when we looked inside the barn, we found the smaller straw bales.  We were driving the company truck, so Mark dropped the tailgate and backed up to the stack which was probably fifteen or twenty feet high.  I jumped up on the stack and brought bales over to Mark who was in the bed of the truck arranging the bales in the bed.  We were supposed to get forty bales, but on our first run we could only fit twenty-two in the bed of the truck.  Mark tied it down tight and we went back to the feed store to pay for it.  Then we took it to Marval and unloaded it.

Before heading back, we stopped for lunch because we’d worked up a hunger.  After lunch we went back to the barn and pulled the truck alongside the stack of hay.  When you’re standing on a stack of hay you have to be careful not to step in the crack between the bales because your foot goes in.  I was having to climb to get the bales this time.  We finally had the last eighteen bales loaded and firmly tied in and took them back to unload them again at Marval.  I think I can safely say we had a good workout today!

Besides picking up and delivering hay, we also raked pine needles and took load after load out to the burn pile at the back of our big field.  Then Jeff had us go get the eyes I painted on ping pong balls yesterday and cut the backs off them and glue them onto boards with LEDs behind them.  It will be interesting to see them lit up in the woods after dark knowing the reality of what they are.

Tomorrow is our Friday and then we get a three day weekend.  Please pray for Mark.  He gets the bandage off his left hand from his carpal tunnel surgery on the 19th and then has a prostate biopsy on the 20th.

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