Sunday, July 26, 2015

Twas the Day Before Hay Cutting and.....

We got the baler home this morning. She looks a lot more faded int he bright sunlight than she did in the shed but still pretty good for her age.

My son and I left at 4:30 this morning, met up with my dad who drove his truck as a trailing vehicle and moved the baler just as the sun was coming up. At first I was worried as I couldn't get more than about 15 miles per hour without the baler bouncing around and sounding like she was going to fly apart. After we got out to the main highway however she pulled smooth as silk. I never took her above 45mph though and mostly tried to keep her between 35 and 40. My son rode shotgun and kept a constant eye on how close the overhang came to the road edge.

The entire thing worked out beautifully and we barely met any traffic at that hour.

It was also pouring down rain most of the morning as well. Go figure.

After getting her home I spent a couple hours greasing every fitting I could find. Used some WD40 and oil on moveable parts, some of which were a little reluctant to start moving once again. It was then time to drag out the 861D and see if the baler would hitch up and at least run even if I had nothing to bale yet.

Everything appeared to work perfectly. I did make a call and decide to pull the baler around with a cross bar between the two point instead of the hitch bar off the bottom. I really like the emergency lift capabilities the cross bar allows me and the slight bit of extra clearance. Maybe it will be a mistake I am not experienced to know yet.

After testing the baler it was time to pull some fluid and lubing maintenance on the 861D. Something I should have done months ago when I brought her home but didn't since she seemed to run so well. As I mentioned she was showing way over full on the dipstick so I drained the oil and replaced the filter. The service manual says 5 quarts of oil with the filter change. I drained over 2 gallons of oil out of the old girl. It was thin stuff too. I was really worried that perhaps something was leaking into the oil pan but it passed the flame test so it couldn't have been diesel fuel and the hydraulic fluid levels were fine along with the coolant. I know I didn't put four extra quarts of  oil in the old girl. She must have been pushing out oil since I got her I guess.

So after the oil change and lube job she was running like a kitten and I put the sickle mower on in preparation for tomorrow's mowing. Weather permitting of course.

With the old MF 31 dynaflow sickle mower hooked up I went around and found all the lube points the reprinted owner's manual I have shows and got her set.

All three implements and both tractors appear to be in top running and working shape now. As near as my inexperienced and untrained eye can determine anyway. The 8N required a negative ground lead to the battery be fixed and I had to clean the sediment bowl out once again.

There are still about a million things that can wrong. The baler especially is just a huge question mark at this point. I have it lubed, threaded and I know the moving parts work but who knows if the timing is set properly still or if I am even properly knowledgeable enough to run it. Honestly though I think the sickle mower is the weakest link. It is old, has suffered uncounted undignified field repairs over the years and is actually missing a front piece off the outside ground guide which I didn't notice until today. I am not even 100% sure it is totally set right with all the extra wire and crap someone has put on it.

Unless it rains the adventure/experiment begins tomorrow. Lord knows I have sunk a huge amount of my long term operating cash into this little experiment.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!


  1. Have a great day bailing hay! Everyone here at the cabin is busy finishing up the first cuts since everything grew so fast and so tall this year.

    1. Max - We are allw ay behind here. Should have cut and baled this almost a month ago but it has just been too wet. We did get one cutting off the small Alfalfa field back in June and we may get another off it this year yet but it is still weedy since the rain has kept them growing. We will see if my old sickle mower is up tot he task.

  2. Well Farmer Grit your teeth grip the steering wheel tight and hang on. Nothing like the first experience of trying something new or old that is. Heck the Amish work with stuff older than what you have! Anyway I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

    1. Anon - Heh. It isn't like I haven't worked hay for years when I was younger. I have just never been in the drivers seat nor the one who had to handle the problems or keep the machinery running before. It's a very new experience that I am just not sure I have it all figured out yet.

      Thank you for the well wishes :)

  3. I have helped square bale over the years, mainly throwing the hay on a wagon but it seems the biggest problem was the adjustment on the bale. Some were so heavy that we could hardly lift them and the twine would bust or they would go lopsided and pull apart. I think there is a pin that shears off if you pull a limb up in one and of course you have to stop and look for another one. Your fields are in good shape so you might get away with a good day of hay making.

    1. Sf - Ya I have thrown many a bale, raked a bit too but the baler bothers me because I have never had to be the one messing with them before and I have no experience even being around an old Ford baler. My mower worries me too because I am not sure it is up to the job either.

      Got a small spot in the main field that has some small trees starting in it I am gonna go around this year I think.

  4. Everything will work just fine...enjoy. Haven't hayed since I was a teen, and all I can remember is it was hard friggin work. I cut, my father bailed and my younger brothers humped the bails on the was their place. You haven't lived until you've cut hay in the hot July or August sun of Florida. Lot's of rain, still, here.

    1. Stephen - I don't know I have spent some time in Florida as far South as you can go except for that fort out passed Key West and I never found the Florida Summers any hotter than Missouri ones. They did have more days of them though I will grant ya that.

      My first job as a kid was dragging bales to the wagon for the bigger cousins to stack. Then I graduated to stacker were I got my wagon legs, eventually I graduated to one of the rake runners but never got further than that. Been 20 years since I raked the stuff except for a tiny bit last year and I never was the one who had to keep the stuff running or worry if it didn't :)

      I think that last is the most time consuming part.

  5. dude - i am sending goods mojo your way - all will be good tomorrow - lord knows you have earned it!!!

    btw - nice job with the tires - LOL!!!


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