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  • Kelly Whitmoyer and Sandy McNamara

Haying Season in the Bitterroot

This time of year, at the end of a long busy day, I love to relax on my porch in the warm summer breeze or lay in bed and listen to the sound of the bailers working in the distance. This mechanical lullaby is one of the great charms of the Bitterroot!

As a kid I loved to drive the truck while my dad bucked bales and stacked the hay in our barn. He always made sure there were steps for us girls to climb onto the stack and a pile of loose hay to jump into. I remember my Grandpa Corky and how he taught me the perfect way to stack small squares.

Despite the heat, haying used to be one of my favorite jobs, but I've put it on hold in recent years.This is because about 80% of my time was spent working on fixing what haying equipment we could afford, then haying until the early hours of the morning, grabbing just a bit of sleep only to rise with my kids a short while later to start a new day and head to work.

These days, I'm content supporting local farmers and ranchers by purchasing their hay. Though, much to my dismay, Dave and I still have the dusty, sweaty work of bucking and stacking it.

On the brighter side, our little girls get to reap the benefits of having a place to play outside, and the barn cats and chickens have a warm, cozy hiding spot to curl up during the winter.

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