17 January 2013

Blog Tour Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman with giveaway

Please join me in welcoming Pam Hillman to my blog today as part of her Claiming Mariah blog tour. You will find chances to win prizes at the end of the post along with a way to win the book here on my blog. Pam has written a post about Making hay which is quite interesting.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “make hay while the sun shines.” A simple saying, really, meaning to get your work done while it’s daylight, before time runs out, or while things are going good. But, literally, there’s more to it than that. I grew up hearing this saying. I’ve lived it. So, let me explain how to make hay while the sun shines from a Mississippi farm girl’s perspective.

There is a short window of time when grass is ready to cut, and the weather plays a huge role in how long that window lasts. Btw, we never actually say we’re going to go cut the grass. We say we’re going to cut hay. Cutting grass is just mowing the yard. Just sayin’

So, my modern-day cowboy has to keep one eye on the hayfield and one on the weather. He uses weatherchannel.com to track one, two, three, five day forecasts. Sure, meteorologists miss the forecast on occasion, but having those reports is better than what my daddy and his daddy had to work with. Next, my cowboy goes to the local watering-hole and talks to the men there. They all have an opinion about how much rain to expect, when, and how long it might last. He takes their opinions to heart because some of those men have been baling hay for a long, long time.

Once he’s made up his mind to cut hay, he goes at it with a vengeance. He sharpens the blades on the hay mower, makes sure it’s greased up, fires up the John Deere and away he goes. He can cut hay day or night. Doesn’t matter if the dew has fallen or not. So, he might cut hay into the wee hours, or get up really early and start a field. He has been known to enlist one of our sons or a neighbor and run two mowers at once.

Once the hay is cut, the sun dries—or cures—it. This generally takes 36-48 hours, depending on how thick the hay is. About half-way through this process, it’s time to fluff the hay. When I was a teen, I rarely remember us fluffing hay unless it was extremely thick. Now, we almost always fluff it just to speed up the process. There is a special piece of equipment called a hay fluffer. Basically, the fluffer stirs the hay, turning it upside down, and letting the sun dry the hay that has been on the bottom.

There comes a point when the hay is just right for baling: not too green, and not to dry. And you hope it gets to this point without a storm rolling in while the hay is on the ground. If it rains between cutting and baling, you have to let the sun dry the hay, fluff it again, dry some more, then rake and bale. But there’s only so much of this fluffing/drying/raking cycle the hay can take before it looses most of its nutritious value.

The hay has been cut, it’s been fluffed, the sweet scent fills the air, and a storm’s a brewing! Yikes! But wait, you can’t just jump up at daylight and bale hay. Not in Mississippi. You have to wait until the sun burns the dew off the hay. So, we’re chomping at the bit waiting for mid-to-late morning, hoping to beat the rain.

Two tractors hit the field, one pulling a double-sided contraption that rakes the hay into windrows, the other pulling a big round hay baler. It can take half a day to bale a forty acre field, but it’s a wonderful feeling to finish up before that first big, fat raindrop falls!


Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
Claiming Mariah

Claiming Mariah

In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Fredrick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.

Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of! Claiming Mariah is her second novel. www.pamhillman.com

To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.

Facebook Drawing: Kindle/Nook Giveaway
Newsletter: Pam’s newsletter.

Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’

Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.

Pam is especially excited about this week’s giveaway:

January 16th: Blogging with Dora Hiers

January 18th: Blogging with Preslaysa Williams


I finished this book but haven't had time to do a review yet it will be up in a day or so. Have to take it easy typing at present. 

I am giving away one Kindle ecopy of Claiming Mariah from Amazon to one commenter on my blog if I get 10 commenters. Pam has some questions for you to answer you can answer any of them to enter. (Putting please enter will not be considered without an answer.) Please leave a way to contact you. You have til Jan 24th 6pm Aussie time to enter.

"Are you surprised at the amount of time and effort it takes to bale hay? Did you know the weather played such an important part of the process?"
"Is there anything about farming or ranching you'd like to ask?"
"It's your turn. Are you a city girl or a country girl? And have you ever dreamed of leaving that life for the other?"


Narelle Atkins said...

Hi Pam and Jenny, I was surprised at how complex the hay baling process is and how rain at the wrong time can ruin the hay. Thanks for sharing :)

Pam Hillman said...

Narelle, thank you for dropping by.

And not only that, but the weeks leading up to harvest are critical. The state of Texas has had a severe drought for the last 2-3 years and they are a huge producer of beef cattle.

No rain = no grass = no HAY!

Mississippi, where I live, has been blessed with a fair amount of rain, so we've harvested every bit of hay that we could, and transported flatbed trailer loads of it to Texas. It's not nearly enough, but it helps.

PurlingPenny said...

I loved this trip down memory lane. I'm a definite country gal, and spent plenty of hours making hay too. I didn't rake or bale, but did ride the stooker and built magnificent hay loads on the wagons and mowed plenty of bails as well. Some days you just worked sun up to sun down trying to beat the approaching weather. I loved my farmgirl life! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Hi Pam!
This was GREAT!
Was a city girl until 11 years ago when we reformed our wicked ways and moved to the country. Now our front "yard" looks like your photo once a year, twice if we get good rain.
I LOVE the fluff part and am glad to hear someone else call it that.
Thanks for the good explanation!
Hi AusJenny! Thanks for having Pam today!

Pam Hillman said...

PurlingPenny, it was a pleasure! ;) Oh, yeah, farmers get up with the sun and work 'til it goes down.

Do you know how hay is harvested and stored in your part area now?

99% of ours is those big round bales that you see in the picture. I finally found a pic of my cowboy baling hay. Gotta take more of those!

And...if you'd like to read more about my life on the farm as a kid, check out Daddy’s Girl.

Pam Hillman said...

May & KC, so glad you stopped by!!! So, who is it that likes the "fluff" part, May or KC???

I can see May frolicking in the windrows, bouncing over them, ears flying and tongue wagging. :)

Narelle Atkins said...

Pam, I hope the drought in Texas breaks very soon and the much needed rain falls at the right time.

Jenny Blake said...

Thanks all for dropping by.
I lived on a farm til I was 8 then lived and still live in a rural area where we have lots of crops and haying. Didn't know all that went into it but in Dec we dont want rain until the hay is up and carted. Now days its more those big round bales. When I was younger it was the smaller bales that had to be collected and stored and rain could cause huge issues like wet hay can ignite. I enjoy visiting the city but could never live there.

Amanda Deed said...

I think I'm a country girl at heart, even though I've always lived just at the edge of suburbia. My uncle had a farm and I loved spending time there. Would love to move to the country one day. Thanks Pam, for sharing such an interesting story. :)

PurlingPenny said...

Thanks for sending me to Daddy's Girl..... wow we had similar experiences growing up. I was my dad's side kick too. My wardrobe consisted of overhauls and rubber boots, straw hats and gloves. I worked alongside my dad too every chance I could get. I had two brothers to compete with, but I could muck a stall along with the best of them. We liked to hang out at the hardware store, visit with the neighbouring farmers , hang out at the cattle auctions and for excitement we had our local fall fair to enter competitions in. Now days, hay is made in huge round bails and handled with a forklift. Probably good for the body , but not as satisfying as the family working together I wouldn't think. Anyway, again, I'm thankful for country roots and country attributes. My father has been gone for nearly 24 years. He left us very early, but full of life lessons and powerful memories. Blessings!

Pam Hillman said...

Jenny, damp/wet hay can definitely self-combust (is that a word? lol)

I've seen big round hay bales on fire in a hay field. It's rare, but I guess they were baled too green, or something. Good thing the farmer didn't put them in a barn immediately.

The small square bales weren't too likely to do that, and it was critical that they be put in a barn before they got wet, so many times farmers would hire local boys to "haul hay" the minute it hit the ground.

I wasn't strong enough to hoist many square bales of hay onto a flatbed, but being a tomboy, I tried. But most of the time I ended up driving the truck. Even as a little bitty kid, daddy would put it in first gear and let me steer around the hay field. I was maybe going 1 mile an hour and all I could hit was a bale of hay! lol

Pam Hillman said...

Amanda, hold on to that dream. I can see you in a darling little cottage with a picket fence growing flowers and vegetables.

You can invite me over for tea, and we'll sit outside, listen to the birds singing, and hear the wind in the trees.

What fun! :)

Pam Hillman said...

Penny, are you sure you're not me commenting as you????

I'm so glad my rambling has brought back some happy memories for you...even if I'm still a little worried that YOU are ME! :)

Julie Lessman said...

Pammy!!! Had NO idea so much went in to a bale of hay ... HOLY COW!!!

I will never take that saying for granted EVER again ... making hay while the sun shines!!

Hey, Jenny, thanks for featuring Pam -- fun post!!


Faye said...

Congrats. Ms. Hillman on your newest release! Hopefully this year is better than this last one for making hay, I know my uncle, who is a rancher, had a tough time of it. Thank you for your lovely post :)

crazi.swans @ gmail dot com

Jackie Smith said...

My husband and I downsized and moved to the "country" near his family about 4 yrs. ago....there are many farmers here, and I have learned some amazing things!!!
Love the tour, Pam!
Jackie S.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Amada Chavez said...

Did you know the weather played such an important part of the process?"
Yes I did. I live in New Mexico and hay is grown a lot out here. The humidity has to be JUST right before cutting for excellent hay. It really is an art.

"It's your turn. Are you a city girl or a country girl? DEFINITELY country!

And have you ever dreamed of leaving that life for the other?" NO! I am a country girl through and through! :)

Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a) Chavez

Mary Cline said...

Here in western Nebraska getting the hay to dry is nut usually a problem. Still,id does seem like just when somebody has their hay down it rains.
Around here three cutting of hay is a good year. How many do they get in your part of the world?

I am getting more anxious every day to read Claiming Mariah.
You know, Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman just looks so pretty printed out. All the letters look so nice together.

Marissa said...

Currently I live in the city, but I've always wanted to live on a farm or ranch in the country!


Pam Hillman said...

See, Julie, I figured everybody knew the origin of that saying. :)

Faye, so glad you stopped by. We've had it pretty good the last few years, but so many haven't. Praying for your uncle has a good year!

Pam Hillman said...

Jackie S, don't you just love the country? And thank you so much for riding shotgun on this tour. You're a real blessing! :)

KarenK, you're IN the drawing! Don't you think it's really cool that we're all chatting living thousands of miles apart? Amazing....

Pam Hillman said...

Amada, you are so right about the humidity. I was talking to Mary Connealy one day and she lives in Nebraska, and like Mary Cline says below, their humidity is very low, so they don't have a problem with drying.

Mary Connealy even said that they can bale hay into the night. Can't do that here. You pretty much have to shut down the baler when the sun goes down.

Pam Hillman said...

Mary C, 3 cuttings is about right for Mississippi, but my cowboy said that if you can cut bermuda grass every 28 dyas if the rain and timing work out right.

Speaking of my cowboy, when I asked him that question he declared that "making hay while the sun shines" is a modern-day term that originated with irrigation. Don't ask. I have no clue what he's talking about, but, to prove my point, I googled it, and found this:

Whan the sunne shinth make hay. Whiche is to say.
Take time whan time cometh, lest time steale away.

Isn't that cool?

Pam Hillman said...

Mary, it does look real purty, doesn't it?

Marissa, come on over to the sunny side way out in the country! You'll love it. :)

Jenny Blake said...

I have to say here they will harvest will into the wee hours at times to get it done. but dont know if there is more than one cutting. (we have dry summers and this year it was a dry spring also).

I have to say hay makes a wonderful mulch for the garden.

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