Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 18th Installment

       “Now ‘door nail’ it” Vern said.

        “What? Do what?” Russ questioned. 
        “Haven't you heard the old saw 'dead as a door nail'? It means to bend over the tip of the nail to make the nailing permanent as they did making doors. The dead part means if you tried to re–use the nail it would be so weakened and bent that you couldn't use it twice, thus it was dead.” he explained as we banged away bending nails.

Linda was the tractor driver and would pull the slip between the rows of bales in the field. Russ and I would grab the bales as they went by and swing them onto the slip and pile them three deep, one on another, until we had 24 bales (about a ton) down the length of the slip. Linda would then pull the load to the end of the field by the stack yard. I would take the digger bar and pound several times in the ground through the middle gap of the slip close to the hay, making a fairly deep hole in the earth. Then Russ and I would throw our shoulders against the bar and brace ourselves as Linda drove away. Three things would happen, the right thing, the not so good thing or the terrible thing. The right thing was the bar would hold in the ground and our backs would hold out against the pressure and the slip would slide out from under the hay pile leaving a nice tight little stack swiftly unloaded. 'Neat huh?'. The not so good thing would be either the bar would slip through the earth or our strength would give out, smash us down to our knees and then the bar would slip out of its hole. The hay would not slide off in a neat little pile; Linda would have to go around and we would try again. The terrible thing that could happen was when the pile would start to slide, the bar would slip, and the nice pile of hay would tumble loose as the tractor drove off. This meant we would have to stack the pile back up again, thus doubling our work load by having to handle the bales twice.
        The Old Man had acquired an old army bomb carrier vehicle that was a truck sized jeep, and he fashioned a homemade hydraulic front loader on it. He would push the ‘fork like’ front basket under the pile of bales, raise it up and drive over to the hay stack and set the bales on top. He had improvised a hydraulic ram to push the bales off the front loader, and then he would zip back to the slip piles for another load. We would stack the bales in place making a stack with straight up sides and up to 18 layers high or over 20 feet. It was like a farmer's skyscraper going up.

       Finishing the haying for the year we

500 more words tomorrow

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