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Sunday, September 20, 2015


 meadow and haybales
The weather has been ideal for mowing hay the second cutting and packing it into barns. Plenty of sunlight to dry it. The grass was dry enough to be easy mowing, raking and baling. Up high on a ridge, the wind would help dry the hay. The land is about half way between the town of Sparta and the township of Whitehead. Dead Man's Curve would be a little ways beyond the trees. I rode with Justin in his truck to the hayfield so I could drive the truck while he threw the hay onto the back and stacked it for the highway. I felt like old man Tom Pruitt in his seventies driving the truck while somebody else threw the hay onto the back. I wanted nearly as much as Tom did to be out there throwing the hay bales. Not that I thought it all that much fun, but I wanted to be helping out, not letting Justin take care of all of it when I was sitting in the truck taking pictures. He hates putting up hay and was vocal about it. I understand. We were talking as people who have put up a lot of hay. I don't particularly like it either, especially alone. Yet, I'd rather be out there tossing the hay than be the one driving the truck.. In the truck I feel bad about seeing somebody else do all the work. Just like old man Tom. Now I'm old man TJ.
He had already packed by himself, and did the driving, twenty-eight bales that he brought to the donkey barn, unloaded and stacked in the barn. He came by the house to pick me up. I had just finished yesterday's writing, clicked the last button. I was ready to go. His truck is powerful. The tires are huge with major tread, expensive tires, such that it would take me a year to pay for them. My trucks in the past have not been power vehicles. They were just trucks, second-hand Toyotas. I never saw the need to put such money into a vehicle to get me from one place to another. Justin's needs are very different from mine. For him, it is a convenience to have such a powerful truck. He does some powerful work with it. Hauling twenty-eight bales of hay is a powerful feat for a truck. He drove it very carefully down the hills in the meadow and the way to the highway, shifting into low range gear, four wheel drive, and taking it easy. Lose traction, the hay is dumped and the truck on its side. I was witnessing great driving skills.
securing the hay for the road with one strap
How he packed the truck is one of many things Justin knows how to do that amazes me. In the picture you see twenty-eight bales of hay packed on the truck, secured with one strap across the back. We took highway back, a five to six mile trip to the donkey barn. The hay did not even wiggle during the ride up and down hills, through curves, some of them awkward. He backed the truck down the driveway with two curves to the barn like it was easy as driving forward. I back down it using the brakes. He backs down it with the gas pedal. He can drive backwards just like forward with side mirrors only. Justin's dad was a good driver, though Justin is a much better driver. His dad was a good fighter, and Justin a much better fighter. Age eighteen, his dad provoked son to fight him in the parking lot of the bowling alley where Justin played pool with his friends. Dad had in his mind embarrassing Justin by kicking his ass in front of his friends. He never hit Justin once, and got his own ass severely kicked. Justin tried to talk him out of it, said to him, "I will hurt you and I don't want to." Justin said of the event, "I know that swing from where it starts. I saw it like in slow motion. I moved my head back, he missed and I drilled him with my whole life."
at the barn

Justin threw the hay off the truck into the barn's opening. Back down on the ground, he packed the hay in the barn, then back on the truck throwing off some more bales, then back to packing it in the barn. Nothing for me to do but gape about and take pictures of him working like a slave for the donkeys. Done putting up the hay, I intended to take grain to the donkeys next. He wanted to be with me giving them the grain. He backed the truck up to the gate, opened the gate a ways to sweep the hay from the back of the truck where the donkeys could eat it. The abruptness of this huge white truck that rumbled like a Harley backing up to the gate, then opening the gate. Jenny got real nervous real fast. Justin wanted to give her grain by hand. She would not have it. She only backed away from him. Jack picked up Jenny's tension and backed away from him too. I gave Jack some grain by hand, then gave some to Jenny, talking to her, telling her she is safe, nobody is going to haul her away from here. I realized the last time a big truck with a white trailer appeared, she was abducted away from her life before, which she has not forgotten. She was terrified. I noticed her color a little bit odd. Her hair was standing straight up all over her body. For all she knew, I would betray her too, like her previous human Jenny believed was her friend. Justin and I took it as time to leave and settle it for her that she was safe at home with Jack.   

transferring the hay

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the photos. I grew up on a farm. I bet Jenny does remember.