Hauling hay: the hardest job ever? | Business
By Gene Hall
My grandfather’s element was the hay field. He loved it with great passion. We baled our own hay back on our East Texas farm. We also “custom baled” for other folks. Sometimes it was for money, but most of the time for a share of the hay. I always lobbied for the former. The latter meant hauling it home, and that meant me.
In the summer months and on into September, we would cut large, multiple fields three and sometimes four times. It was hot and very humid. Aside from the occasional minor injury, no work I ever did on the farm hurt me. It taught me how to work. For keeping a boy too tired to get into trouble, hay hauling was in a class by itself.
Our crew was my brother and I and a couple of hired hands. A low boy flatbed trailer was pulled by a tractor or truck. Driving was the most coveted job. We took turns. A “stacker” would stand on the trailer and do what the name implies. The other two would trot along and throw the bales onto the trailer. The bales were small in those days, not the large ones you mostly see in fields now. The bale of dried grass, usually Coastal Bermuda, weighed about 70 pounds as I recall. A strong young man can do it alright, until you start throwing the last bales up six or seven rows. Then we’d haul it to the barn.
We had a cavernous space designed for storing hay. However, we baled for some folks with unconventional places to store their winter feed. One guy kept it in an old house. Stuffing hay into the attic of that house through the three-foot square opening is probably where I learned to cuss. My mom corrected that in short order.
In terms of burning calories and potential for dehydration, there is nothing like hauling hay. My high school football coaches would get on me for not getting to the weight room in summer enough to suit them. I was hauling hay three times a week, sometimes deep into the night by the headlights of tractor or truck. But I always reported to fall practice in great shape!
It remains to this day the hardest work I’ve ever done.
What’s the hardest physical labor you’ve done?
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