You know that thing where kids only mention their shoes are too small as you’re leaving for church? or that you’re out of peanut butter after the other cookie ingredients are mixed? or three minutes before the shop closes, they announce a grade threatening need for poster board?
Well, farm kids do a lot of that! “Oh, by the way, we’re out of sheep feed.” “Oh, by the way, the turkeys’ waterer is leaking and won’t hold water!” “Oh, by the way, Poppy had babies, she won’t use a nesting box, and it is 11 degrees!”
“Awesome! You couldn’t have told me this in time to 1) pick up feed on my way home from work, 2) try to fix the waterer by day light, or 3) check on Mama and babies BY DAY LIGHT?!?”
The answers are always different, yet mean the same. “I thought ‘so-and-so’ told you!” “I told Daddy last week!” (Daddy never has any memory of this!) “I told you this morning!” (This leads to a conversation about how if Mama is busy and doesn’t answer, then you didn’t really tell her! I must respond to be held accountable!) They all require last-minute rushed action!
So, Liam and I were annoyed, but not shocked when at 07:35 pm we were informed that there wasn’t enough hay for the following morning.
- The hay is used by all three kids during the work week. Therefore any of them could have mentioned it.
- This was the middle of the work week, which means it would be impossible for us to get hay the following day.
- The store is twenty minutes away and closes at 08:00 pm!
Awesome, again! So, Liam and I (grumbling) headed townward!
If you’ve been reading the blog long, you’ll know some of our hay hauling adventures. Namely that we used to do all our hauling in a small SUV. We now have a pick-up and can fetch hay without embarrassment. It was in this truck that we made a mad dash to town.
Along the way, we chatted about our farm expansion plans for the year. We were deep in a debate about the merets of Herefords versus Beefeaters, when we reached the Sticks and Stock hardware/feed store. Liam went in and paid for eight square bales of coastal hay. At the loading bay, he got out to help the guys load up.
Being Liam and therefore an even mix of pedantry and caution, he bungee strapped the bales to within an inch of their lives. Then, he hopped in beside me and began to make a case for adding a few scrub-eating goats to the farm. I don’t want goats! So, as we drove through the night a pleasant debate was enjoyed by all.
A mile from home, we saw our neighbor Earl standing at his mailbox. His raised a hand to wave. Then, as we passed, he began a strange stiff-legged arms-raised dance! This was so odd, that our ‘to goat or not to goat’ question was forgotten!
Instead, we discussed Earl the Odd Duck. We couldn’t think what would cause a chubby middle-aged cowboy to caper like a loon. By the time we got to the end of our drive, we’d decided Earl must have had a spider run up his britches leg! We laughed heartily at Earl’s expense and were grateful he hadn’t shucked his trousers then and there!
Just as Liam slowed to pull off the road, he glanced in the side mirror. His eyes went wide and he stood on the brakes! As the truck screamed to a stop, Liam was already leaping from the driver’s door. My question of “What?!?!” was interrupted by a sound as close to a squawk as a man who sounds like James Earl Jones can get!
The squawk was followed by sounds of intense combat! I conquered my strangling safety belt and ran to join the fray! As Grace would say, I’m an Amazon capable of fighting at my man’s side!
At the back of the truck, I found my husband locked in mortal combat with…a bale of hay. Huh?!? As I stared, I realized that Liam had ripped off his coat and was beating the hay with it. As he lifted the coat for a further assault, I realized there were glowing embers on the corner of the bale.
Assuming Liam could handle one flaming hay bale on his own, I began to peer at the remaining hay suspiciously. I wandered around the truck staring into the darkness looking for fiery eyes staring back. The rest of the hay tried to look innocent.
What happened? Well, a strap had broken. The guilty bale had shifted and fallen when we turned onto our road. It caught on one of the bungee cords and was dragged silently behind us. It’s over five miles from the turn to our drive. The entire five-mile stretch that bale was dragging!
The bales are bound with old-fashioned baling wire. That wire was dragging along the road throwing up sparks of anger and protest as it went! The sparks and resulting heat had caught the bale alight…barely.
When Liam had glanced back, he’d seen a rooster tail of sparks spraying from behind us! He’d stopped just as the hay began to catch in earnest. It was a miracle the bale hadn’t set the rest of the load ablaze!
We made it to the house, unloaded the truck, and inspected the bales for further treachery. Suddenly, Liam grinned and a deep chuckle rolled up from his chest. I looked at him inquiringly. Still grinning, he said, “Earl wasn’t shaking a spider from his britches or doing a rain dance! He was trying to tell us the hay was on fire! Ha! Ha ha! He was doing an ancient redneck Fire Dance! Ha ha!”
The kids and I joined in his laughter. In fact, we’ve giggled quite a bit at Earl’s Fire Dance, but we’ve laughed even harder at Liam’s roadside version! Mostly, we’re just glad no one was hurt…and we’ve vowed to stop and talk with Earl anytime we see him shaking a spider from his britches leg!
Leave me a comment if you have the time! I miss talking to y’all!
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