Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.


The Coolest Thing Since Geo-Safari

Actually, two really cool things. I got to do two really cool things yesterday which now you have to hear about.

First Cool Thing:

One of Jeni's now former professors has a farm just north of Spokane. He farms entirely with draft horses. No tractors, no combines, just horses. Yesterday I went out to help him and his wife bring in hay.

Things I didn't know about hay 'til very recently:

1. Rain is not always good for farmers. Sure, it's great to have rain when the hay is growing, but once it's time to harvest rain is a real nuisance. To harvest hay you need to cut it, let it lie on the ground and dry for several days, rake it into rows, and then run over the rows with a baler scooping the hay up and making bales. If it rains anytime in this process, you're screwed. An entire crop can be ruined by an overnight downpour after the hay is cut. Wet hay rots. It's also really heavy and can damage the baler. For the past month or so we haven't gone more than about 5 days without rain. This last week was really only the second opportunity to cut and bale.

2. I appear to be pretty allergic to hay. You can fill in the blanks there.

Aside from the allergies, the work was really cool. Four horses were hitched up out front pulling the baler. A wagon was hitched behind the baler and the baler had a chute feeding bales up onto the wagon. It was my job to stand on the wagon and stack the bales as wee rolled through the hayfield. The whole rig was probably about 60 feet long from the nose of the front horses to the back of the wagon. Oh yeah, and the baler didn’t have an engine to run it or anything. Instead, the mechanism is run by a large ground drive wheel. As the horses pull the baler, the wheel, via a bunch of big chains and gears, powers the inner workings. I may have a few pics to post in a while.

Second Cool Thing:
Later on Jeni and I went back out to the farm for a 4th of July BBQ. Before we ate, Dr. Mike asked us if we wanted to go treasure hunting. Unsure of what we were getting into, we said yes. We grabbed some webpage printouts and an old GPS unit and drove off out into the middle of nowhere. We stopped at on the side of the highway and stomped off following the GPS coordinates from the printout. After a lot of wandering around in circles and clamoring up and down hillsides, we found an old dynamite shack with a container hidden inside of it. The container was full of all sorts of trinkets and a logbook of people who had found the spot before us. The most recent visitor had been earlier that day! Crazy. Anyway, we found out on the drive back that this is a sort of GPS game called Geocaching. People plant caches wherever they want to and then post the coordinates to Geocaching.com. People then find the caches, take something out and replace it with something they brought and sign the logbook. It was a whole lot of fun, and there are caches all over the place. So, as you might imagine, Jeni and I went out and bought a GPS unit today and are looking forward to lots more geocaching fun.

Oh, and now after my GPS research today I know the difference between a bearing and a heading, and why compasses have adjustable declination. That all just makes me that much cooler.

1 Responses to “The Coolest Thing Since Geo-Safari”

  1. # Blogger Amy Souza

    when I worked at REI, i learned about geocaching. people would come into the shop and buy a GPS so they could do this. I always thought it sounded really interesting!! that is fun you guys can do it!! Tell us about your adventures.  

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