What do you call six crazed young adults (all at least 16) throwing hay bales at each other?
Trouble. Or cousins.
My siblings were over this week for a visit with cousins, and since they were in the same state as I am (for once!) I decided to go visit every weeknight. So after a mad dash home from work for an equally mad dash to make supper and head out of town, I got to spend a few hours a day with immediate and extended family in an alternately relaxing and exhilarating environment.
Believe it or not, most of what we did involved watching superheroes smash supervillains to smithereens. Like the alliteration? The movie fest was like old times in college, except that I was related to everyone here and didn’t live with any of them.
(Movies are a staple of a young adult’s social life. Just tell me the next time you meet a single young adult who hasn’t watched some movie in the past week. I bet they’re either workaholics some other type of –aholic.)
Anyway. In the midst of one such super-smashing time, my uncle asked everyone for help on one particular seasonal chore:
Hauling the hay bales.
The day before, I’d seen him out with a rather strange-looking contraption attached to the small tractor they store in a barn down the road. It was a hay rake, my cousins told me. After he mowed all the grass in the field next to my cousins’ yard, the resulting hay-like stuff had to be raked into rows so the hay baler could scoop it all up and spit out some rectangular prisms of baled hay.
Oh, ok. Makes sense, I thought. Then what do you know, I get to see yet another contraption hooked to the small tractor the very next night. The long-awaited hay baler.
It looked almost like a corkscrew inside a spring…. or at least, that’s how I interpreted the unfamiliar wending and winding of machinery and metal.
But it scooped up the hay, for sure, and spit out nicely bound box-shaped hauls of hay bales. After a little while, there were random hay bales dotting the now clean-mown hayfield.
Then, as sun was setting, we were set to work as well. My uncle pulled the tractor up to a small wagon (without sides – the kind used for hayrides, of course) and, now that the hay baler had been unhooked, he attached the wagon to it and off we went into the field.
The hay bales were surprisingly light. Probably because we’ve had about one to three inches less rain than we’ve needed! So the dry, poicky hay bales weren’t hard to lift up to the wagon, but they scraped up our arms pretty good.
It was fun to toss the bales up at my brother and cousin, who were tasked with stacking them carefully, about four high. The Tetris game was so we could get all the bales in one load. And it made me feel oh-so-capable to be a city slicker that actually knows how to lift a hay bale and toss it onto a wagon!
It was a race to see how quickly we could get the bales onto the wagon. There was only so much daylight left, and our super-smashing movie called to ussss.
Once on the wagon, the bales were hauled over to the chicken/goat barn to be stacked somewhere out of the way. That turned out to be up in the haymow, I think. Or a hayloft. I never lived on a farm so I’m not sure what the difference is.
I and another cousin (the seamstress extraordinaire, but that’s not important here) climbed into the haymow to arrange the hay bales my uncle tossed up so they’d all fit. Some of the barn rafters made it a little bit tricky. Yay for more Tetris games!
The hay-baling job got done quicker than my cousins ever remembered finishing it before. And it was actually fun. There’s your teamwork moral for the day.
But the hay baling got me thinking, too. Why haven’t my local city slickers figured out how fun it is to get out on a farm with a bunch of rowdy relatives and start tossing hay around? Not only do you get a 3-D Tetris tower built precariously onto a hay wagon, you get a whole lotta laughs out of it. I’d totally pick that over a dumb evening at a bar any day, despite the sore arms afterward.
Therefore, I propose a citywide initiative to establish some tried-and-true entertainment for teenagers and young adults: Ship ‘em all out to a farm and set ‘em to work. Not only will they be able to make friends during the day, they’ll be too tuckered out later to get drunk or arrested.
And there you have it – the latest adventure of life on my own, starring a hayfield. More to come about the super-smashing movie fest.