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More notes from a country kitchen.

By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Jul 19th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Summer always makes me think of hay and that is one hot, sweaty, and itchy subject! When we first started farming, we had many acres of hay ground. We didn’t have any animals that ate hay as we only raised pigs, but we sold our hay to others. Since we were a husband and wife team – and I use the term “team” loosely – we had to figure out a way to put up hay when we were both available. I worked full time Monday – Friday so we had to figure out something.

Den taught me how to rake the cut hay using our old M Farmall and a pull behind rake. I could do that evenings and weekends. I tended to panic every time I reached the end of a hay row and had to turn the tractor and rake around without getting the rake stuck in the fence line. I came close a couple of times but never got the rake stuck!

Once the hay was raked and dried, most farmers baled it up and had someone on a hayrack taking the bales from the baler and stacking them neatly on the hayrack. Then someone would haul the loads to the barn and a couple of people would unload the bales and some poor sucker got stuck stacking the bales in the barn loft. We didn’t have that “hayrack” person or unload person. Den decided the best thing would be to buy a “kicker” baler and several hayracks with high sides. He bought a couple of hayracks and then built one himself. Now he was set! He would spend the afternoons baling the hay and the kicker baler would kick those bales any which way into the hayrack.

Once all three hayracks were full, he would haul them to the house yard and leave them sit till I got home from work. Sometimes he would unload and let the bales fall any which way into the barn and then restack them himself. But, he usually waited for me. There is nothing more eye pleasing than coming home from a long day of work and seeing several loads of bales that have been kicked into a wagon any which way and knowing I have to dig those bales out and put them onto a conveyor! I put on my long sleeve work shirt, rounded up my leather gloves and went to work! I had to tug and pull each bale from the pile and you never knew when one bale had a broken string and loose hay would be all over the place. You just left those loose bales in the wagon and Den would haul that hay back out to the field to be rebaled next time. Pretty sure those bales weighed between 50 and 60 pounds each!

And the best part of finishing up a hay crop was knowing that there would be one or two more crops to go!! Eventually we stopped the hay ground and went with more corn and/or beans. I do not miss those days!!


Fruit Salad

4 medium Golden Delicious apples, diced (leave peeling on)

4 medium Red Delicious apples, diced (leave peeling on)

2 cups seedless green grapes, halved

2 cups seedless red grapes, halved

20 ounce can drained chunk pineapple

11 ounce can drained mandarin oranges

3 ounce package softened cream cheese

½ cup sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup white sugar

Combine all the fruit in a large bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and sugar until smooth. Pour over fruit; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately. Make sure all the fruit is chilled before you start using it.

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