Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday Tool Say Hay edition

I am, as has been noted by a lot of people, not native to the farm life.  I manifest my ignorance daily and profoundly. 

When we moved in here, there was a lot of stuff left behind by the previous owners.  One outbuilding, which had originally been a dairy but had been converted into a storage shed, was just full of stuff.  It's hard to be more specific than "stuff."  The times that I have packed our belongings to move, I try to pack each box so that it can be labeled on the outside in a sensible way: "winter clothes" or "plant books" or "kitchen gadgets".  However, it seems that I've always ended up with a box that has three toothbrushes, a garden trowel, a pair of socks, a screwdriver, a jar of pens, a book on Japanese woodcarving, two rolls of toilet paper, a spoon, and so on.  No other label can go on such a box but "stuff."  That's what the entire outbuilding was like.   

Among the fencing ratchets and citronella candles and rusty chainsaw blades and fuses, I found these:

City boy me, I didn't know what they were--vicious looking, and the guy used to raise sheep for meat, so maybe meathooks?

I also didn't know the difference between straw and hay, and I didn't know the difference between grass hay, alfalfa, orchard grass hay, first cut hay, and second cut hay.  My experience with such products was from bike racing a couple of decades ago, where bales of some sort of vegetable matter lined the hazardous corners.* 

While I still occasionally slip and call straw "hay," I have learned the difference, and while I am nowhere near the connoisseur that my sheep are, I have learned the difference between good and bad hay.  Also, I learned that those are hay hooks.  If you have a 2x2x3 bale of hay that weighs somewhere near 40 kilos, hay hooks are wonderful.  The bale still weighs a lot, but it's easy to hold onto.  And, from unloading eight bales of hay from my truck every couple of weeks, it feels like the bales have gotten a little lighter. 

*They still do this, which is the stupid result of honoring tradition over thought.  Back in the day, bales were smaller, and much less dense; an impact would be partly cushioned by the straw compressing, and partly by just pushing the bales around.  Nowadays, the bales are heavy enough to not move, and packed so that they are about as hard as a piece of wood.  It's not too much better than lining the corners with rocks.  Cardboard boxes would be much, much better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment