BY MELANIE BUCK –
Some folks just prefer simplicity. Some crave a simpler life. In the case of Delton Heath, he craves to go back to those days when everything and everyone moved a little bit slower; the porch sitting days after a long, hard day’s work, and he’s found just that. In a society that strives to do everything faster and easier, Heath embraces a different philosophy.
Heath, a harness maker, also owns and leases land to cut hay. After years of riding a loud, rough tractor, pulling a mower or a baler for hours on end, Heath met John Turk, who had moved here from Wyoming. Heath saw him using an antique sickle mower about three years ago. Intrigued and inspired, Heath had to have one. “I break horses and mules to work and I thought when you put one on a sickle mower and get them to mowing hay, you can work them just about anywhere,” said Heath.
“To me, mowing with a tractor makes me sore from turning, twisting and looking, and there’s always dust flying. With the sickle mower and horses, there isn’t much dust and it may be ten times slower, but it’s much more enjoyable. It’s more enjoyable than any other way I’ve ever done hay.” And other than a little help from his friend, Grafton Roberts, Heath does it all on his own.
This year, Heath is working on a 16-acre plot with the sickle mower and next year hopes to cut an additional 25-acre plot as well. “It will probably take us all year to do it but that’s ok,” Heath said. Heath hopes to have two sickle mowers going next year and also hopes to rake and bale the hay the old fashion way as well. “If I can get a little ag baler by next year, that’s what I want to do. If the good Lord will allow it and bless me,” smiled Heath.
When asked how much slower it is, Heath referenced a story from a friend. The friend told his son after a nine-hour day of raking and baling 50 acres on tractors, that it would’ve taken his grandfather all summer long to do it the old fashion way with a sickle mower. “I admire the Amish because that’s the way they do it all the time. It’s slow and simple and it’s the foundation of the haying business,” stated Heath.
Heath said he would advise anyone interested in learning the old fashion way to “get after it…It’s the old timey way and I think I was born 100 years too late,” he added. “I’ve always figured if you could work at something and enjoy it and be happy that’s the best way to be. Even if it’s slower and longer.”