Although hay baling isn’t distinctive of Louisiana, it is a big part of my growing up. My family lives on a plot of land across the street from Bayou Teche that is nearly 70 acres. My dad grew up on the back end of the property, and my grandfather used to grow sweet potatoes and have cattle on the land. Now my father uses the land to bale hay. He bales hay in the summer for extra money , and he has a few loyal customers who buy the hay from him each year.
My father has two old International 806 tractors that have been around for as long as I can remember. I used to ride on the fender while my dad drove the tractor.
There is a gravel road from my house to the back end of the property that runs for about a mile and a half. I learned how to drive mostly by learning how to drive our old tractors, and I learned how to drive a car by driving my dad’s old Ford pickup from the 80s. After I learned how to drive, my dad would have me pull a trailer in the field so he could load up the big round bales to put them in the barn. To this day, there’s something sort of nostalgic for me in seeing the tractors and the equipment. Even now, the sound of that diesel engine is still one of my favorite sounds to this day.