|Must be About Milking Time!|
|The Big Orange|
|JOHN DEERE 60|
Later in the summer we would mow acres and acres of alfalfa to let it dry before chopping it with a forage harvester behind the D-17. The alfalfa would be chopped up and blown into wagons towed behind the chopper. This could be a real train and a handful on some steep hill-sides.
We shuttled the wagons back to the barn where they were unloaded into a blower that blew it up a pipe into a silo. For a while we had no automatic silo unloader - so come feeding time I would climb the rungs of the 80 foot silo and get on top of the silage and throw it down a chute with a pitch fork! The first time I went out to do this after lunch I had just climbed into the top of the silo and Dave came running out and scrambled up the silo to get me out. I was not aware that the fermenting alfalfa creates a toxic gas. He had realized where I was going and saved my butt!
|Those Beautiful Gentle Faces|
Much of the Alfalfa was mowed and then raked into windrows to be baled. Many evenings Cindy would drive the tractor pulling the hay wagon with Pete in her lap. No fancy big round bales, but very heavy square bales which we picked out of the field with hay hooks and stacked on flat hay wagons. Dave, Sam and I always competed to see who could stack the highest load. There was more than one time that a wood-chuck hole in a field would bring a load tumbling down.
|Watch Out For Chuck Holes|
Most days we were working from around 5AM 'til 9PM at night. We worked every day but sometimes took Sunday afternoons off for a family get-together. Of course we had to get back for evening milking! Often we were working zombies! I recall "napping" on a tractor while disking or mowing on a hot and dusty afternoon.
Another thing about farming is you are always braking things. A mower hits a hidden fence post in a field or a power-take-off shaft gets bent while backing a wagon. So we spent a lot of time fixing things. I learned a bit about welding and the value of keeping moving equipment greased and adjusted. Dave could fix anything.
Cows are wonderful - huge but gentle. Each knows her own stanchion so when it is milking time she will come into the barn and go to her spot to be milked and fed. There is nothing quite as nice on a cold winter morning as snuggling your shoulder up against the warmth of the cow as you put the milkers on her udder. We loved and were proud these animals; most every one had a name. We groomed them and often washed their tails in buckets of warm soapy water.
As I said this was the greatest job I ever had. I will never forget these times, these animals, and most of all the family that took me in as one of their own.