Up until about 6 years ago we baled our own hay. The geriatric baling crew consisted of the 86 year old neighbor John, my husband Bill then in his mid seventies and myself. We Tom Sawyered any unsuspecting young kid into helping with the offer of a few dollars an hour. ( Only one ever returned the next year). Our ancient baler had no kicker but at the speed John drove the tractor, the bales weren't exactly flying out the chute. You could hook one and stack it on the wagon before the next bale appeared. We were the poster crew for "slow and steady wins the race." It like riding a lurching Zamboni, but my sheep ate the most beautiful hay and leafy alfalfa ever seen. I lament the day we retired from the business and sold our equipment to the Amish. That baler is now being pulled by horses and it is probably going faster.
Where am I going with this??? Well..... yesterday my purchased hay arrived. Made by a local farmer, it smells like stale cigars and looks like straw that was rained on! My comments were not appreciated by the farmer. I gave some to the Shetlands who quickly left the barn after one whiff. The first load I got from him was nice so I expected better than this! Mumbling under my breath while stacking the stuff in the barn, I managed to grab a handful of wasps nesting on a beam. My swollen hand took my mind off the disappointing bales. Passing the hay entries at the York Fair later that day, I saw what looked like my hay six years ago with a blue ribbon it. Fortunately, the sheep don't remember the good stuff.