Labor Day, Literally

It’s Labor Day! The day that used to be part of my favorite weekend, back when I was a kid and my sister Tab’s and my birthday party was this weekend at Lake Brownwood every year, following our dad’s Friday night football game.  We are always one year apart in age for 8 days in September, which kind of ticked me off back then, especially adding the fact that Tabitha was a head taller than me by the time I was 6.  I felt like she might just catch up with me for good one day…she’s currently the Head Honcho of Therapy or some such at a hospital, is still 4 inches taller than me, and the prevalent word I associate with her now is “badass.”  Maybe she did surpass me…but I’m still the oldest, forever and ever, even if we are just one year apart at the writing of this post. (Happy birthday, Tab!)

Anyway, Labor Day since we’ve moved to New Mexico is no longer the best weekend of the year.  First, where’s the lake?  Second, where’s the homemade Big Red ice cream and confetti-cake birthday party with my grandparents?  Third, why doesn’t Matt have the day off?  All of these questions are rhetorical, so keep the answers to yourself for once.

Speaking of lake, let me tell you where it isn’t: this circle of hay grazer on our farm.


Matt asked very nicely, so I loaded up the girls this morning and met him and his trusty assistant Trevor out in the field to haul hay.  In my experience, sometimes hauling hay, mainly when it’s square bales, is crazy manual labor.  A couple of guys sweat it out under the blazing sun, lifting bale after bale on a trailer that the bossman (or his wife) is pulling behind the air conditioned pickup truck.

Layne baled round bales for us last night (literally, in the middle of the night – the relative humidity has to be just right when you bale hay or the bales could spontaneously combust on a hot summer day – believe me, I’ve seen it with my own two eyeballs), so Matt used the tractor with a hay fork to pick up each bale and load them individually on the hay trailer that I pulled around the field.  Let’s use the words “hay” and “bale” a few more times in this paragraph, shall we? Bale: a noun and a verb.  Hay: a noun and a verb.  Hay bale:  just a noun.  

hay on tractor

I haven’t pulled a trailer in a while, and I’ve never pulled one this long and train-like, but it’s just like riding a bike.  Riding a bike through a river bed with two monkeys jumping in your lap fighting over an iPad and a baby strapped to your back and 48 flies buzzing around your head, that is.  Just comes naturally.  

train of hayI wasn’t exaggerating – it’s a hay train with Claire, Kate, and me at the helm.

T and meBest part of this photo is T’s hunting cap reflected in my glasses.  Day 3 of these hunting clothes, somebody do the laundry around here.

We hauled the trailer full of hay down the road to the place where we store all the bales for winter, a drive that includes two sharp turns and a couple of huge dips, and which I masterfully maneuvered, if I do say so myself.  Matt rode with us in the truck to drop the bales off, but no way was I letting him drive when he could hold the baby and dole out snacks to the monkeys.  For the record, I feel confident that I could pull that trailer anywhere, especially if it was hooked on to a couple jet skis and a boat and the road led to the lake.

hay train 2I mean, let’s take another look at this thing.  Did I mention the 2 sharp curves I managed?

Since we are still American, Trevor and Matt did a little dove hunting before the hay hauling commenced, so Labor Day hasn’t been a total bust. The hunting around here is a bit different, though.  First off, the birds live in our yard because it’s the only place with trees for two miles, therefore Trevor believes that when one is out hunting, one can simply walk in the house for a snack or potty break, no big deal.  Maybe he’ll learn during deer season…

birdsDove in New Mexico.  Also referred to by me as “the cats of the sky.”  

Big thanks to everyone working hard to keep this country and all its retail outlets running today.  And thanks to everyone actually at the lake, soaking up my fun and sun; somebody’s gotta do it.  Matt’s still out hauling hay off the field so we can plant wheat this week, because the work goes on forever and the party never ends in Sedan.


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