One of the things we have thought about in connection with the return to older-style ways, is how to get in enough hay for our animals. You may decide to store diesel, buy an older tractor that is non-electronic, and use that when the time comes. Eventually, however, the time will come when there is no fuel unless you know how to make your own. But, for the sake of super simple, let’s go for a DIY SIMPLE HOMEMADE HAY BALER like the one in this article from Backwoods Home Magazine.
BWH magazine has been around a long time, putting out a wide variety of ideas, plans, and methods of doing things often in a more primitive way common to our pioneer ancestors. This article can be seen in full at http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/hooker82.html
The needs of the couple in the article were to supply 120 to 150 bales to their goats. With hay available they simply wanted an easy, inexpensive was to mow and bale hay — becoming entirely self-sufficient in this area was their goal — without spending a bundle of money.
The first winter they used plain old hay stacks covered down with plastic and weighted. This was ok, but they went further designing basically a cheap wooden box on skids to do the baling job. This method enabled them to bale about a third of an acre on a summer afternoon with their children jumping up and down on the bales, which they seemed to love doing.
The entire “baler” can be put together in just a couple of hours, using only a single 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ plywood, a couple of six-foot 2x4s, some 1-1/2″ wood screws, and a tube of construction adhesive. If you keep it painted or varnished for protection from the elements, it should hold up to at least a lifetime of use.
Steve simply flips the baler upside down, using the 2×4 handles as sled runners, then tows the baler behind their Gravely’s riding surrey to where he’ll be using it.
To use the baler, cut two pieces of baling twine, each roughly 8-1/2’ or 9’ long. Fashion a loop in one end of each piece of twine, and slip it over one of the protruding screw heads. Then you can sort of drape each length of twine loosely in place in the baler, with a couple of wraps around each of the opposite screw heads to keep them in place.
Once the baler has been packed as full as possible with hay, using your feet to stomp it in tightly, remove the twine from the screws, slip each of the loose ends through its corresponding loop, pull it tight, and knot it securely.
FULL INSTRUCTIONS ALONG WITH DIAGRAM can be found at the link shown above in an article by J.D. Hooker