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It all makes sense

Lead Summary

By Christine Tailer
HCP columnist

Somehow, those things that used to just pass through my mind, in one ear and out the other, pause now and linger, and with their lingering, make ever such perfect sense.

For instance, we have certainly learned to live with the weather forecast in mind. I usually turn to the weather app on my smart phone several times a week and check out what lies ahead. As I check the forecast, I also check to see how wet the fields are. By my reckoning, there has not been a single week this summer where it has not rained at least once, if not twice. And this has made it somewhat difficult to bring in the hay.

First, the fields need to be dry enough so that the tractor, haybine, rake, and baler will not leave deep ruts in the soil. Then, once cut, the hay needs to dry, for at least one day before it can be raked into windrows. Then, the weather needs to stay dry, so that the windrows can be raked back the other way, to dry off the bottoms.

Finally, with the passing of at least one more day, and when the hay rattles like a gentle wind chime in my hands, then we know it is time to bale, stack the trailer high, and then unload and restack the bales in the barn. Only then can we breathe deeply, and not care if it rains. And so it is that I really understand the old saying "make hay while the sun shines."

For you see, we were pretty tuckered out the other day. The windrows of hay were perfectly dry, ready to bale, but it was growing late. I turned to the weather app on my smart phone. Bad news. The weather called for rain the next day, but we looked at our watches and realized that we still had several hours of daylight left. All of a sudden, I understood. We were going to make hay, while the sun still shone.

There was no doubt about it. My muscles ached as I climbed up on the trailer to stack the last of the bales, five high. Each bale seemed ever so much heavier than the last. Finally, the sun crept over the valley hill and dusk fell. I somehow found a slight comfort in the realization that we were probably not the only ones in the county bringing in hay that evening. I imagined the others, working past dusk, loading up the last bales before the next day's rain. We had joined the numbers of those who truly understood the meaning of the old saying.

And then there are the chickens. Every evening I go down to the chicken coop to collect their eggs. Some evenings, after dinner, I wander out to the goat yard to talk with the goats. They come right up to me, begging to be rubbed between their ears. They lean into me and vie for my attention, and the time passes quickly. Often, I realize that the chickens have all settled in on their roosts, and it is time for me to go gather their eggs, and head back to the cabin myself for the night.

The other evening I was tired, or lazy, and decided to head straight down to the coop without going back up to the cabin to retrieve my egg gathering basket. I opened the back door to the nest boxes and collected the multi-colored eggs. I pulled up my shirt and lay the eggs in the pouch that was formed by my shirt folded back up against my chest. I triumphantly headed back up to the cabin, calling to the dogs that it was time to settle in for the night. They bounded past, dropping the old soccer ball at my feet, ready for one last volley about the yard. I pulled back my foot for a mighty kick. It landed perfectly with a hearty thwack, and the ball went flying.

The dogs bounded off in hot pursuit, after the ball, as the eggs all tumbled, like multi-colored gum balls, out of my shirt and onto the ground. The old saying immediately flashed in neon across my mind, but as it did, it occurred to me that I would revise it just a bit. Don't put all your eggs into one, hastily made, basket. Somehow, it all made perfect sense.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at

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