5 responses to Why Amish schoolkids are on half-days this week
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    Comment on Why Amish schoolkids are on half-days this week (August 25th, 2008 at 16:48)

    When we rode on the train in Strasburg last summer, we saw someone bailing with this kind of bailer. It was fascinating to watch! It sounds like you are having a fabulous time in Lancaster Co.!

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    Comment on Why Amish schoolkids are on half-days this week (August 25th, 2008 at 18:04)

    When I used to work for neighboring farmers at hay baling time, one nice thing was that we didn’t work too late, even on long Minnesota days, because the hay would pick up too much moisture at sundown. Too much moisture, and you’d have a haystack that would eventually get hot and moldy or even catch on fire — usually on the coldest day of the winter. Maybe the temperature and humidity conditions are different in PA.

    Do the PA Amish use the kind of hayrack that holds 20 bales per layer?

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    Comment on Why Amish schoolkids are on half-days this week (August 26th, 2008 at 06:57)

    John they actually explained that to me, about how the moisture could actually cause it to burn–but even on a cold winter day? Wow. I don’t pretend to know too much about farm life but am making a go of getting a little education here. Perhaps what happened was that moisture collected as the day ended–we did two wagonsfull but then stopped in the middle of the third, when it had already grown dark.

    I don’t know about the hayrack–where would you find one of those?

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    Comment on Why Amish schoolkids are on half-days this week (August 26th, 2008 at 07:00)

    Teresa I am having a great time as always! I was actually surprised when I saw it starting to work, as I hadn’t paid much attention to how they operated before. I had to flip Daniel, who was driving the mules ahead of us, a double thumbs-up. I think he was pleased that I liked it.

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    Comment on Why Amish schoolkids are on half-days this week (August 26th, 2008 at 18:05)

    By a hay rack I mean a flatbed wagon like one shown under “Lancaster Tobacco Barn” in your sidebar. Except it would have a higher back. And maybe rubber tires.

    I presume the square bales you’re talking about are the square bales that used to be ubiquitous before the days of big round bales. The square ones can be handled by a person, as opposed to the big ones that require some sort of fork loader on a tractor. Usually a baler is drawn by a tractor, but I’ve seen gas-powered ones drawn by horses in Amish country. I was just curious about how big a load a team of horses or mules could handle. We would sometimes stack a load of 100 bales. Maybe those would be too much for animals to pull.

    I have heard a reason why those wet haystacks sometimes ignite on such cold days, but can’t remember just what it is. Maybe it has to do with a frosty outside holding the heat in. I remember seeing smoldering piles of hay when the temperature was -20F, but didn’t see any actual flames. It’s not hard to get the idea though. Rake up a pile of wet grass clippings into a big pile intended for use as mulch in the garden, then forget about it until a week or so later. Then take the pile apart and feel the inside. (Don’t put the pile inside a building that doesn’t have fire insurance.)

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