Bales and buggies

As the cows have been munching quite quickly through their hay, I realised they would need a new bale before the Crofter came home. Come in ‘wee bales’. Aye, not the big, round bales where you feel like you are dislocating your shoulder, giving yourself a hernia and with all your might trying to negotiate rolling them between the 1958 tractor and the coal bunker of cow nuts (and that’s just to get the round bales out of the shed) so you can get the pregnant tractor with the front loader to come pick them up and drop them in the ring feeder. Yes, I call it the pregnant tractor. Why? Because last year while pregnant I was told to stop ‘heavy’ lifting. Although no one defined heavy I took that to mean anything more than 20 kilo (chicken food comes in 20kg bags – toss over shoulder and off you go; cow nuts come in 25 kilo sacks and are a bit of a pain for shifting so hence my definition). With that as a definition I generally did stop heaving large, round bales and lifting the ring feeders (most of the time..) so a new tractor was needed. Cue Dingwall implement sale and another tractor was added to the family. Both have got their uses but the pregnant tractor is too tall to fit inside the shed. Hence rolling bales out to the tractor. However, on this day we only had one large bale left and as the Crofter was due home soon, I reverted to the easier option…

However, the term wee or small is also deceptive. These are our own bales. That’s right, ones that we made ourselves. Not an easy task and probably cheaper to buy in hay but maybe not as satisfying and not always easy to come by. Not always made perfectly either. Some are really light, falling apart if you touch them; others decivingly heavy. On this occasion I was attempting the chain reaction by myself of shifting several with the mini crofter observing. Except he decided he really wanted to be a part of it which meant I did try and combine the two…And the answer is no. Or at least not with the current set up. A bit of adjustment would work I think. If the buggy makers could make two long planks to go above the shopping basket on the buggy to balance the bale would be good. Wee bales generally need to be kept with equal pressure on both lots of baler twine so that the bale does not split open on route to destination (that is depending on how well they were made). This means usually standing like I have a bad back and walking like a penguin. Moving and Handling policies to facilitate better lifting? Ha, aye right. I usually just want the quickest option. That and I’m not sure they would like my idea of lifting it over a fence and into the ring feeder to avoid a long trek to a gate and bog field. Particularly when I had decided to do it ‘on the way past’ and I didn’t have my wellies. I looked more like a scarecrow by the end with hay everywhere. Taking them in a wheel barrow would have been an easier option, I would just need a way to attach a wheelbarrow to the front of the buggy, or is that why people buy double buggies?

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