Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Good Morning, Class of '64
Peasants Stacking Hay - Julien Dupre
There is no reason to fear the wind
if your stack of hay is well tied.
Irish Sayings

For riches are not for ever:
and doth the crown endure 
to every generation?
The hay appeareth,
and the tender grass sheweth itself,
and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
Bible quotes
The Hay Harvest - Hermann Kauffmann

Another Day with Larry

Stacking Hay
Part 1

Stacking Hay - Henry Rollet
Stacking hay took several weeks each summer. It was hard vital work. The hay was the primary feed for the sheep, milk cows, and horse for the winter. We didn’t start baling hay until I was in my mid-teens.
Stacking Marsh Hay - Charles Henry Turner
Prior to that we stacked most of our hay outdoors. (We did fill the barn lofts, but they didn’t hold very much loose hay. They did hold almost all of our hay when we baled it.) 

Stacking hay is a lost art. I’ve seen only 4 or 5 stacks of hay in the last 20 years, and they were lop-sided, crooked, and generally laughable. Any real hay stacker would have been embarrassed by them. Building a symmetrical hay stack that will shed water is an art that has been lost forever.
Haas, Jessie. Mowing. Art by Joseph A Smith
The process starts with cutting the hay. We used a McCormick horse-drawn mowing machine. It used triangular-shaped blades riveted to a cutting bar. The circular motion of the wheel turning was converted to horizontal movement by a Pitman arm. The grass was held in place by pointed guards, and the horizontal movement of the cutting blades between the guards cut the grass. Tractor-powered mowers use the same principle except that the power comes from the engine through the power take off shaft. We sharpened the cutter blades after every use. That made it easier for the horses to pull the mower. The blades are not sharpened nearly as much on the tractor-powered mowers - they have power to spare.
Cutting Hay With Sickle Bar Mower - Harry Darius
We tried to begin cutting about mid-morning after the dew had dried. Cutting earlier when the dew was heavy would not have saved time; the hay cannot begin curing until the dew has dried. The dew dries a lot faster while the grass is erect. My brother cut with a team; we borrowed one horse. 

zig zag fence
Dad cut the fence rows with a scythe. Our rail fences were zig-zag so the mower could not cut very close to them. Dad was a fanatic about clean fence rows so they had to be cut. He also cut all the pasture fence rows. My job was to shake out and scatter with a pitch fork the piles of grass the scythe produced.
Woman Raking Hay - Julien Dupre
We turned the hay over and shook out any bunches left by the mower with pitch forks so that the hay would dry faster. Depending on the temperature, how heavy the hay was, and the dryness of the air, we did that late afternoon of the day it was cut or mid-morning the next day. We each took 2 swathes, a strip about 10 feet wide, across the field. Dad walked between the swathes and used his fork both right-handed and left-handed. He was the best I’ve ever seen with a pitch fork. My brother and I had to walk a zig-zag pattern to cover both swathes. Dad could always accomplish more than anyone else in the field, seemingly while doing less work.
Tedders At the End of the Day Theophile-Louis Deyrolle

Some people used a hay teder, a machine with 6 mean looking forks on its rear that kicked the hay up into the air to turn the hay over. It worked well, but few people used it correctly. Most went too fast, kicking it too hard, shattering the heads, and knocking the leaves off. Those are the most nutritious parts so many people significantly reduced the feed value of the hay with the teder.
Dan Tyminski with Band on Mountain Stage
 Mountain Stage with Larry Groce 


 Making Hay 
Dan Tyminski
He never went to school beyond
the day he turned sixteen
And I can't say that I know being
that poor really means
He wouldn't be mistaken for
a man of high degree
But he was just as smart
as anyone could be

The first thing I remember
till the day I moved away
Up and every morning I don't
believe he missed a day
It was always after sundown
when he pulled up in the yard
He would be on a tractor and
let me drive into the barn

While the planter, acre, baler
they were all the same to me
When I grow up a farmer
is all I ever wanna be
I know that he was tired but
he would sit and watch me play
In my imagination I
was really making hay

I graduated high school just
before I turned eighteen
Two years into college when
I had a change of dreams
I'd wear a dank old necktie
like those city fellows do
I'd move out in the suburbs
like a million other fools

I met a brown haired beauty
who was sweet as she could be
The day that we were married
he stood right there next to me
I knew that he was tired and
he seemed so out of place
He never said a word but
it was written on his face

I couldn't read the signs when
she was falling out of love
The more he turned the lonelier
till she'd finally had enough
So I'd pack up my suits and ties
and gave them all away
And headed for the country
just in time for making hay

No I won't be mistaken for
a man of high degree
'Cause I was born a farmer
and that's all I'll ever be
Haystacks at Giverny - Claude Monet
 I'm a farm boy.
If we need five people to haul in hay, 
we don't take one and just work them to death.
Lincoln Davis

 My father kept me busy from 
dawn to dusk when I was a kid. 
When I wasn't pitching hay,
hauling corn or running a tractor, 
I was heaving a baseball into 
his mitt behind the barn... 
If all the parents in the 
country followed his rule, 
juvenile delinquency would be 
cut in half in a year's time.
Bob Feller
The Haystack - Charles McAuley

Haying Books for Children:

The Haymaker's Song
[An old and favorite sung
in many parts of England,
especially during hay-harvest.
It is not in any collection.]
    In the merry month of June,
    In the prime time of the year;
    Down in yonder meadows
    There runs a river clear:
    And many a little fish
    Doth in that river play;
    And many a lad, and many a lass,
    Go abroad a-making hay.
    In come the jolly mowers,
    To mow the meadows down;
    With budget and with bottle
    Of ale, both stout and brown,
    All labouring men of courage bold
    Come here their strength to try;
    They sweat and blow, and cut and mow,
    For the grass cuts very dry. 
    Here's nimble Ben and Tom,
    With pitchfork, and with rake;
    Here's Molly, Liz, and Susan,
    Come here their hay to make.
    While sweet, jug, jug, jug!
    The nightingale doth sing,
    From morning unto even-song,
    As they are hay-making. 
    And when that bright day faded,
    And the sun was going down,
    There was a merry piper
    Approached from the town:
    He pulled out his pipe and tabor,
    So sweetly he did play,
    Which made all lay down their rakes,
    And leave off making hay. 
    Then joining in a dance,
    They jig it o'er the green;
    Though tired with their labour,
    No one less was seen.
    But sporting like some fairies,
    Their dance they did pursue,
    In leading up, and casting off,
    Till morning was in view. 
    And when that bright daylight,
    The morning it was come,
    They lay down and rested
    Till the rising of the sun:
    Till the rising of the sun,
    When the merry larks do sing,
    And each lad did rise and take his lass,
    And away to hay-making.
All in a Day's Work - Todd Reifers

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