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Kayli, 11, and Tynan Granberg,14, are proud of a job well done on their small ranch outside Lakeview, Ore.
The haybales stretch out across the field, rectangular, linear,
the assembly line of ranch life. The methodology of haying seems
to go against my nature; though I recognize its importance, I
resent its control over the length and content of our days. During
midsummer in this country, ranch life centers around the cutting,
raking, curing, baling, loading and stacking hay. Hay that is
vital to the survival of the cattle and horses through the long
barren winter months, and provides necessary cash flow to the
This morning my 14-year-old son and I are the hay crew; we are
a small outfit and we bring our hay in one pickup load at a time.
I drive down the rows and my son picks up the hundred-pound bales,
lifting and stacking them on the bed, tapping on the side of the
truck three times with his hay hook to let me know to move on.
Twenty-eight bales to the load, and then up to the pole barn where
together we fit the bales into our expanding Chinese puzzle of
a haystack. I cannot lift the bales as he does, they are too heavy,
I grab them with a hook and roll them end-over-end to shove them
Cynthia Vaughan Granberg teaches grades 5-8 in Bly, Ore. During
her free time, she works on the small ranch in south-central
Oregon that she and her husband Richard own.