Hope you wore yer long-sleeved shirts! We're marching out to the back-forty hay field. Cheryl's out there with a touch a humor and a load of fresh straw. Go fetch yer Bible too, cause she's bringing home another of God's truths! In case haven't met her yet, here's Cheryl!
Here at our farm, we depend on a huge stockpile of straw and hay from summer to sustain all of our many animals during the winter months. We normally cut hay three to four times throughout the spring and summer. However, after an unusually wet and cool spring, our hay fields were ready for harvest. Over-ready would be a more appropriate description really. The hay had just grown and grown, higher and thicker.
In order to harvest our hay crop, we use a haybine that cuts the hay off at the ground level and then rolls it through a set of rollers that also crimp the stems so the moisture can escape more quickly. Then it must lay on the ground for one to two days to dry. After it is dry, then we use a tractor and rake to combine two rows into one large windrow. Then we bale the hay into very large sixty-six inch bales. Each bale weighs around twelve hundred pounds.
This is a very tedious process which is all dependent upon the weather. The equipment we use is precise, and the baler is attached to a computer. For this reason my husband, Darrel, and I are the only ones to operate this equipment. We both have been raised driving tractors and are accustomed to the uneven fields that may result from such a wet spring. With all this unusual rainfall, the local farmers have been forced to delay the wheat harvest as well. Darrel was cutting hay and the farmers were cutting wheat. Everything was ripe for harvest all at once.
Luke 10:2 "He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the worker are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (NIV)
With all of the crops ready at once, the Lord gave me this scripture. He showed me that so many people are willing and ready to follow Him, but the leaders (workers) are few. We must step up and be the example of Christ to this crazy and lost world.
Since Darrel was cutting the hay and the farmers were harvesting the wheat all at the same time, then it became my job to bale the straw. We bale the wheat straw right behind the farmer’s combines. It was nothing but, go, go, go!
For many who do not know me, I am quite short. I will not mention that I am pretty stocky as well. Okay, I am sort-of sort and plump! Anyway, at barely 5’2” tall, it is a stretch for me to operate our baling tractor. Our tractors are older and designed for taller men, not short-legged women.
To bale the straw or hay, the machine is pulled over the windrow with a tractor. Each bale is accumulated until it reaches the proper size. Then the operator must depress the tractor’s clutch while the baler wraps the bale with net wrap. Next, the operator must eject the bale out of the baler. This is where I have to twist to my right and look backwards in the seat while holding the clutch in with my left foot. I have to watch that the bale is ejected properly then pull another lever to close the baler and start this process all over again.This is a very difficult position to hold for someone so short. So as I am baling, praying, and stretching, Prov. 4:27 pops into my head.
“Do not turn from the right or the left: Keep your foot from evil.” (NIV)
I was barely keeping my foot on the clutch, how, I wondered, could I possibly step on evil? Obviously God has a sense of humor while trying to teach me to follow directly behind Him, step for step. Okay. Lesson learned!
This baling process goes on and on all day long. Did I mention that our Indiana weather had turned off hot? And I mean it was hot! We had three days of 105 degree heat index. I can usually bale ninety to one hundred round bales of straw a day. So you can imagine how contorted I am after baling four-hundred and fifty bales! I was stiff in the neck and my back was suffering from muscle spasms. After ten days straight of baling, except for church on Sunday, I was worn out. Our tractor’s air conditioner could not keep up either, so I was blowing lukewarm air to boot. Guess some air was better than none.
We were, as a team, able to get all of the straw and the hay baled. I am a firm believer that, as Darrel’s wife, I was designed to be his helpmate. After this harvest I am confident that I have fulfilled this obligation.
I’m thanking God we are finished for now and all of the hay and straw was harvested with no rain. We finally go all of the bales out of the field and stacked in rows for winter. And God said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10
I can honestly say: 2 Timothy 4:7
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (NIV)
Love and Smiles,