Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Friday, June 14, 2013

This "Roll In The Hay" Was Fun!

          Life on the farm can be dangerous.
          Young Eli came face-to-face with that truth recently as he was baling hay on a fairly steep hillside.
          Haymaking has evolved since I was a kid and we loaded loose hay onto a wagon before piling it in the haymow of the barn.
          Today's farmers – including many old order Amish – use the massive compactor/baler machines that compress the hay, roll it into a 1000-pound lump that looks much like a giant marshmallow and birth it onto the ground to be wrapped and stacked later.
          Eli, who is in his early 20s, knew that bales ejected on the hillside must always be carefully deposited sideways so they don't start rolling downhill.
          He followed that safety principle religiously until a few days ago when an emerging bale caught an edge, slowly turned downhill and began to move.
          Jonas later remembered, "I always told him, never get on the downhill side of a rolling bale, and he remembered.  I'm really glad of that."
          Eli grabbed at the trailing edge of the bale, trying to turn it before too much speed was gained, but he's 150 pounds of Amish muscle and the half-ton bale had a destination in mind.
          Jonas was working higher up the hillside and he saw it go.
          "It headed straight for my brand new, high tensile fence and I figured 'Well, there goes my fence!'
          "But when it hit those wires, it flew up into the air like a rock coming out of a slingshot and it went right over the fence.
          "I feel pretty good about the way we made that fence," he said in typical Amish modesty.
          "Of course the next two fences on the hill weren't high tensile wire and they weren't so new.
          "That bale went through them like they were made of string.
          "It was kind of a fun day!"


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