So several people have asked what "swathing" is. Well to be honest 2 years ago if someone had said swathing or swather to me, I would have googled it. But then I met the man of my dreams who thought I could drive one. LOL. First let me preface by saying that I don't mow, J knew this going into our relationship, so in my mind, that leaves me out of the whole mowing/swathing thing. So one evening J decides that I'm going to be the next swather extraordinaire, and teaches me how its done. Remember when I said I don't mow, well besides my car, I had never operated big machinery. I think I'd ridden on a tractor before, combine no, swather, no, and he wants me to run this thing? Let's just say a special drink was involved. So J teaches me the same way his Dad taught him "WATCH YOUR MIRRORS, GO STRAIGHT, ARE YOU WATCHING YOUR MIRRORS, GO FASTER, NOT TOO FAST, ARE YOU GOING STRAIGHT?" This lasted for about 10 minutes. When you cut down hay/alfalfa/brohme/etc J was taught to make 3 circles around the whole field then start making the rows. Well after 10 minutes going around, I say, one of us is getting out of this thing--it can be you or me. See I learn best given good direction, then a little push to go out on my own. I know I'll make some mistakes, but I'll learn and be fine. And two people in the cab of that swather was getting crowded. Looking back on it, I understand why J taught me the way he did: 1) the rows need to be straight so the baler can pick them up 2) going too fast does cause the header to plug 3) So I could be the best swather I could be--and I'm pretty d*mn good at it!
And, I name things, so this New Holland swather is named Sally (her pic is below). Sally and I have spent numerous hours together, last year and this year. J trusts me to do my own rounds now, and even go into pastures I've never been in before. I've gotten up close and personal with Sally cleaning out her sickles (blades), I've cleaned out her radiator fan thing, I've cut down short grass, tall-thick CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) grass, made it over terraces, through gulleys, around trees, dodged deer carcasses, all kinds of adventures. The picture below shows one of my swath-rowed pastures. Side-bar its one of the prettiest pieces of ground we farm--the Scary Dairy. If you live in my area, hit me up and we'll go by there, it will take your breath away.
There really are some amazing things you see and experience when you get to ride around in field with really no one else. I've had a "Dances With Wolves" moment with this coyote that kept following me around. I've seen a family of little deer, with the fawns still with their spots. The best butterflies you will ever see, are in alfalfa fields, and when you go through them, they just float up to the cab showing their pretty colors. When J and me are working the same field, me cutting down, him baling what I've cut, we wave at each other, knowing we're working for the same thing. The baler is pretty funny too (we do big round ones). Once he's picked up enough hay to make a bale, the baler lifts its hood and out poops a bale. Yes, I said poops out a bale, because that's what it looks like. Its the smell of money baby--lol! Everytime it poops out a bale, its food for our cows or money in the bank!
And that's how its done :-)