Research Papers to Hay Raking

Saturday morning I found myself in my grad student cubical working on a research paper, and I felt like I was getting somewhere because I was finding the sources I needed to make my case. (For those of you who have been in grad school, you know sorting through the plethora of other research papers to make a solid theoretical framework can be challenging sometimes to get it JUST right.)

I had decided I was going to go to Georgia to see Chandler after I was done in the office to spend Palm Sunday with him and take a break from the office. I packed up my things from the office, and told him I was headed north.

Text Conversation:
Me: “On my way!”
Chandler: “Why don’t you just come to the other cow pasture”
Me: “Ok, send me the address please. I don’t remember how to get there”

When I got there, the day had turned into a beautiful Georgia day. The sun was shining, the wind blowing slightly, the sweet smell of fresh cut grass – soon to be hay and it is not too hot yet down here. I jump in the tractor with him to start raking hay. He had just finished fluffing the cut grass to dry it a little more before it was made into a big round bale. About five minutes went by, we were chatting and he asked:

Chandler: “Are you ready to work?”
Me: “Sure, I guess?” (Thinking I was just going to be buddy passenger for the afternoon)
Chandler: “Switch seats with me, and your going to learn to run the rake so we can get done before dark.”

My eyes must have gotten big because he got a puzzled look on his face.

Chandler: “Haven’t you helped with hay before in Ohio?”
Me: “Well, yeah! I was just on the very end of the hay production chain of throwing the square bales into the haymow when the boys needed help.”
Chandler: “Well, you’re going to learn something new today. This is the clutch, this is the brake, here is where you can shift your gears, this is the lever to bring the rake up and down when you go turn a corner.”

I cautiously slid over, trading him seats, and put both hands on the wheel.

Chandler: “Push in the clutch to take it out of neutral and put your rake down.”

I proceed to do that slowly, and he said to take my foot off of the clutch but apparently not slowly enough…

*Up until Saturday, I’ve never driven a stick shift or anything with a clutch for everyone’s reference. 

Chandler: “Easy Jess! Don’t throw us through the window.”
Me: “I am trying!!”
Chandler: “Try again”

I started getting more comfortable, so he let me go on my own and said to call if I needed anything.


Thinking to myself, “I got this! Now, I can add “Hay Raker” to my resume :)”
(Chandler reminded me it should probably be amateur hay raker if I do put that on resume – I totally agree. Maybe by the third time I do it I will be a professional.)

I got the whole field done, and was extremely happy because I was able to help out today. For as much as I love being the buddy rider, doing the actual work on the farm is 100x more satisfying.

I took away a couple things from Saturday. 1) Chandler never lets me fail, and he always pushes me to make me better even when I don’t think I can do it. 2) You’re never too old to learn something new. 3) You’re never limited to one position when your life revolves around farming. 4) Farming and agriculture is still the COOLEST industry I know.

hay4After Saturday, I think I can say I can add another #FarmHer star to my hat. Working on the farm is one of the most satisfying and rewarding feelings.

The cows now have the first cutting ready to eat when it comes time to start feeding hay again. I was able to work on my research papers and farm alongside Chandler – about as perfect of a day as you can get if you ask me. It’s pretty fun being a farmer’s girlfriend.

*Don’t worry – I didn’t throw out my back too bad with the jerks of the clutch. Still working on becoming better friends with that pedal though. Maybe next time, clutch, maybe next time. 


Today is national sibling day! Don’t forget to tell your sibling how much you appreciate them. Chandler and I both have pretty rock star siblings – Thanks for being you, Curtis and Callie!

Have a blessed week,




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