Time to Change

This year’s haying season’s been full of changes. We’ve had big and frequent rains, tall, thick forage growth, and a record number of bales on our hay ground compared to the past eight years.

During a haying frenzy, my husband and I were trying to get a couple of fields baled before it got too dry or rained on. On one of those days, I was committed to helping out a girlfriend get her rental cabins cleaned in the morning. The plan was that I’d grab us lunch from town and bring it with me. He’d windrow until I showed up then I’d take over so he could switch to raking what we had cut the day before.

Since I dress for the jobs I do according to practicality and comfort, I cleaned cabins in an old pair of cutoff shorts and brought my work jeans and boots to change into before heading to the hayfield. I had underestimated how long work and stops would take and didn’t make allowances for setbacks, which delayed me. A cabin needed extra attention, kid arrangements took longer, and there was a line of people at Subway when I went to pick up lunch. I held off hitting the bathroom or changing my clothes and boogied for the hayfield since I was already late.

When I showed up, the windrower was headed in the opposite direction but once it was about halfway back to my end of the field, I realized the plan had changed and I was baffled because our neighbor running the windrower. My husband had agreed to do a welding job for the neighbors on a broken rake and had cut them a deal to do the welding if somebody would keep cutting our hay to avoid a setback in our progress. After getting the scoop on his whereabouts, I headed back to my car to take his lunch down to the neighbor’s place. It wasn’t until I started driving there that it dawned on me I probably surprised my poor neighbor with an unintentional “show.” 

The field we were haying was near a highway so when I first got there, I hid between our pickup and welding trailer and as soon as the highway was clear of cars coming, I quickly got rid of the gallons of coffee I drank. I’m a modest person, but I’m no pansy when it comes to bathroom and changing room environments, so at the next gap in traffic, I scrambled to switch from shorts and shoes to jeans and work boots. I was proud of my speed changing before the windrower made it back to my end of the field and cars approached again. I stood in line with the windrower ready to take over when I noticed my husband wasn’t in the cab. I tried to figure out if I had misunderstood our plans and hadn’t even thought about what I had just done before walking over to meet the windrower.

To make matters worse, I could’ve spared myself embarrassment if I had kept my trap shut. Our neighbor didn’t know anything about my blunder until my husband jokingly brought it up at coffee the next day. Nevertheless, I was a changed woman the next time I went to help put up hay. I did all my changing at home instead of at the hayfield.

This column was originally published July 20-26, 2008

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