I’d like to meet the man who invented plastic baler twine. I’d wrap that stuff around the most sensitive part of his hands and steadily tighten it over several days until the skin was smeary and white and he wailed for mercy.
We’ve now endured everything that might possibly have gone wrong with the hay. I bust the mower’s power drive, and in so doing gathered up such a ball of grass on the PTO shaft that it was baked into concrete. Then we tried to finish the job with a topper and we broke that too. Of course there was a big wheel puncture, and a second one came a little while afterwards; shortly after we had taken all the tools home. A radiator began to leak and the finger tines shattered away from the bob leaving smithereens of steel littered through the crop. So perhaps it was inevitable that the baler should’ve slipped a spring and called to be restrung a dozen times, and it was only at a final pitch of fury and upset that rain came in from the sea in smirry veils.
It might have been an excellent crop, but now it’s only moderate. I’m spoilt by the glory of last summer when the grass was fried in a withering sun and the hay was safe beneath the tin less than seventy two hours after it was cut. Now I’m reduced to picking and digging at the best bales, carting them around indecisively in batches of sixty or seventy. They’ve been built into diamonds and stooks, then turned and reversed to catch the sun and crisp in the breeze when it comes. But the air is thick and soupy, and while I can imagine moisture blowing off the field, it’s blowing onto it from other places just as keenly.
Every time I’ve moved those bales, the twine has slit into my fingers like cheese wire. I’ve exhausted the comfort of a dozen different ways to carry a hay bale, and at last I’ve fallen to hugging them like fairground teddy bears. And I’ve torn the skin off my shins and dumped the full weight of the baler’s clutch onto my fingernail. My forearms are prickled with a million tiny jabs of cut grass, and the back of my hand was partially flayed by a rusting mudguard.
This has been a trial from the start, and there are still two hundred bales to fetch in before I can relax.