Bringing in the hay in the past has been an adventure in organizing people who don’t mind hard, dirty, dusty work. For years I would have to borrow a big trailer and put scaffolding up to the door of the hay loft. This would have needed at least 4 people to carry out the job at high a speed. Speed was needed to keep the hay as dry as possible and in the last few years rain and hay has been an issue. This year I was quite excited about the job with a lot less dread as we had the vintage hay elevator to do the lifting of the hay into the loft.
The day started late as we had a very heavy dew in the morning, which needed the sun to burn off. It is very important to store hay as dry as possible for 2 reasons. First you don’t want damp hay to heat up and become combustible turning into a barn fire, (nightmare)!! Secondly to keep the stored hay from going mouldy. Good hay can keep for years if it is stored and kept dry. As many farmers found out this year when we had the fodder shortage, here in Ireland, due to the very late spring.
The first thing to do was to clean up where this years harvest of hay was going to go in the loft. Moving last years remaining hay bales which will become the first to feed the stock this coming winter.
Sweeping up all the loose dust, hay and mouse/rat droppings so the floor is as clean as possible. A very dusty job.
It was 10.30 before we set out to start a long day hauling about 50 bales at a time from the fields.
After years of stuffing the horse box with bales one knows how to make use of the space.
After the first load is packed on board we head back to the yard where we are to meet the reconditioned vintage hay elevator and put it to good use.
It takes a bit of maneuvering to get the elevator in place but it sure looks great when finally in position.
I was like a giddy girl with the excitement , kind of funny if you think this “Vintage” farm machine is younger than me. We pulled the cord to start her up, she needed a drop of petrol under her spark plug, then put her in gear and clackity clack she rattled away only for us to discover she had a missing bolt. A teething problem for any new or old piece of equipment when put in use for the first time.
So a bolt and nut were sourced and put in place.
Start her up and away she goes clackity clack not a bother on her.
Everything is running smoothly so now for the first bale of hay to go onto her spine of boards and be lifted up into the hay loft.
Once the first bale goes up I reverse the pickup and horse box to the bottom of the elevator.
Then we start the unloading and placing of bales onto the elevator in earnest.
The first hickup we find is that she gets really hot and bothered when we place 3 bales on her so really only likes 2 bales of hay at a time.
This is actually a good thing as it makes us slow down as the day is very hot and moving hay is not a light job especially in a sunny yard with not a whisper of a breeze to stir the stifling heat.
We are drinking gallons of water and enjoy the drive back to the hay field with windows open for a cooling breeze.
The heat is so much that every time we come back to start up the elevator she needs a drop of petrol to spark her up. So I have to unscrew her spark plug put in 2 drops of petrol replace spark plug then pull the starter cord and away she goes.
The bench of tools I’m using to keep the old girl ticking as we work our way through the hot day of storing hay.
Half way through each load we have to give the Briggs and Stratton motor a break incase she is over heating in this roasting weather. Maybe that was just the excuse I used to make us all drink more water as we were dripping in sweat. To stop her I had to short out the motor as the spring was missing. So I used the hammer with the insulated handle to short circuit the spark pug and the old mettle off switch.
The last load of the day was brought home with the sun going down so the cooling air was a welcome change to the sweltering heat.
When we were at the last of the unloading we finally had a curious cat looking at our doings.
Finally the last of the hay rose up the elevator and fell into the loft so it was time to clean up the hay that had spilled from the bales.
Here is a short film of the Hay Elevator working.