Well, we made it. Mostly. I think we used up all of our good hay karma last month though. This round of hay making was just a wee bit more stressful (and if you detect a note of heavy sarcasm there, it's the heat, my brain is still boiling). In the end, the hay is good and it's in the barn. That's what counts.
Everything was looking great right up until we started baling. The baler made 63 beautiful bales of hay and then, kaboom, it broke. We were sort of lucky because the guy who knows the most about fixing balers (which are incredibly complex and finicky machines) was there. He was there because Riding Buddy had had to call him over to work on their baler the day before when it broke. We did get that hay in as well. Eventually. After working on our baler all afternoon with no progress, we finally went and got RB's baler. It limped along with troubles of it's own and at 5:30 we were still looking at an entire field of hay ready and waiting to be baled.
We finally called the neighboring dairy farm to see if they would come and round bale it all for us. Round bales are hard for someone like me, with just a few animals, to handle, but I would have found a way. We didn't think they would be able to help out this time though, as they too, are trying to get hay made.
I am not quite sure how it all worked out, but they showed up with their square baler instead and baled all of it, finishing at about 9:30. Ordinarily it is not good to bale after the sun goes down. The air changes and the dry hay starts to pull moisture out of the air, which is not good. However, it was soooooo hot that the air stayed dry, our work crew was still there, hanging tough, but couldn't come back the next day. When the sun went down, the farmer asked me if I wanted him to stop, he thought the hay was still OK, but we were really cutting it close. I asked if he could bale it the next day and he told me they had 30 acres of their own to bale and another 40 acres to round bale. I told him to keep going as long the hay was dry enough to bale. With the threat of rain coming, no help and an iffy baler, it wasn't worth the risk. He baled it all.
We looked things over this afternoon. The fate of the baler is grim and uncertain. We are hoping it can be fixed, but don't know yet. We are still hoping to make some second and third cutting, but they are always easier because it is a small amount. The majority of the hay is done and it looks good. Baling it late doesn't seem to have hurt anything this time and there is enough of it. Everybody gets to eat this winter. And we all need a week to recover.