Custom Baling

As told by James R. Bever on February 24, 1991.  

Every summer after we finished planting corn, there'd be someone ready to bale hay. We'd start because that's how we made our living, by doing custom baling. 

One of us (Uncle Bob Higgley and Grandpa) would drive and one would load on the wagon. Everyone wanted the bales loaded on a wagon. We would take turns driving and loading. I run most of the summer without my shirt on. I'd be as brown as can be. I'd wrap that old hay stubble up against my stomach to get it tough. It'd be awful hard work, but we didn't have to unload. The other guy would take it and unload it. That wasn't as bad as baling our own. When we got to our own, we had to take some time off to unload. We'd go from hay to straw about the whole summer long. We'd bale 1,000 to 1,500 bales a day. (Which doesn't seem like much today.) We'd grease up the baler and get it ready to go as soon as the dew was off. We took a little time off to eat dinner and then bale until dark. Then we'd have to come home to do our chores. Bob would always have some cows to milk. (He fed most of it to his dogs, I think.) Anyway, there was a bunch of dogs waiting for him to get his milking done. Dump part of it in the pan, and he'd end up with some. And that's how we spent our summer.