We’ve had a couple weeks of incredibly hard work with a mix of success, failure, and everything in between - really testing our limits and spirits.
Hubby had cut all of our grass for baling hay over a few days... it took longer because there was a piece on the cutter that attaches to the PTO shaft (yup, I know all about these machines now) that kept breaking. This involved many hours of fixing and re-fixing until it finally got done.
Then we were fortunate to borrow a square baler from a family friend of hubby's... although it had sat dormant for over 5 years. With plans to get started baling that night, we instead worked away at this machine for a day and a half straight, just getting it tuned up. We had really really hot and humid weather (between 30 - 40 degrees Celsius with the humidex), which didn’t make things easier! Many heat warnings were sent out, but the job must get done. After all that work, it was definitely a great feeling to finally get it working.
The baler was working, but the bales were coming out really crooked. We were close, but it still wasn't all there. More time, more troubleshooting, and we figured out that the rows of grass were too thin, and the baler was packing one side more than the other, thus making banana-shaped bales. We needed thicker rows.
Luckily my father-in-law had a "rake" that you hook to the back of the tractor and it combines multiple small rows into one big row. Hubby went to my in-law’s farm to pick it up. After driving an hour there, and an hour back, he pulled the rake while attached to the truck through the field to get it to the tractor. In the midst of driving through the field, a bunch of hay got caught under the truck. I noticed there was a bit of smoke coming from the hood, and figured the engine was overheated. We started hoking the hay out from underneath, and it was getting warmer and smokier. Then we saw it - a full fire happening under the truck. That was it - the truck was done. I've never seen a fire on that scale, and you know what? It's incredibly scary. Seeing the power of a fire like that, and knowing you are completely powerless... seeing the black smoke and hoping that nothing spreads. I'm honestly still reeling from it. While I'm upset that we lost our truck, what scares me the most is how much worse that situation could have been.
In any case I called emergency and we waited for help. I closed my chicken coop windows for fear of them breathing in that toxic air. I ran in the house to get Daisy with me outside for fear of debris landing who-knows-where.
The fire department put it out, and I could finally breath. My chest was so sore... not from breathing smoke, but from running all over the place with a mix of hyperventilating the entire time. When I thanked the fire crew I was a mess... I was just so grateful, and having never experienced anything like that before, couldn't be more thankful for them helping us.
After all that... as badly as we wanted to run in the air-conditioned house and hide from everything, we still had to finish what we started. Talk about feeling defeated.
If not for our amazing neighbour across the road, it would have been an equally rough night finishing the section we had started. He helped us immensely, and we could even enjoy the rest of the night with cold beers and good conversation.
Since then, we have officially finished the baling and stacking of all our hay bales! As we raced against weather warnings and storms (which were literally all around us), I drove the tractor with trailer attached, and Hubby hand-bombed over 370 bales in that trailer. That's right - Every. Single. One. He is amazing. I was able to help stack them, and they're now gathered together and tarped. We have earned our keep here, that's for sure!
Despite how weak and defeated I have felt throughout a lot of this, I have to admit that I have also never felt stronger. Me and Hubby just kept on going with it - that's what you have to do. No complaining and no quitting. It's not an option.
When I feel overwhelmed, I have to remind myself that we've experienced what many farmers go through over the course of a few years, in one week. That's a lot at once, especially since I've never done anything like this before, and I think we did pretty good considering!
Of course, Hubby is my rock. There are no words to express how much I love him and his positive outlook on everything that comes our way. We're in this together and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Also, for the record, I removed any candles in our house (I only had three, but still), and replaced them with LED candles. They are so perfect!