As you can see in the accompanying pentaptych, we successfully harvested our first cut hay crop this week. The images show the field at the ready (early on Day 1), the field after being mowed (later on Day 1), the crop raked and ready for baling (Day 2), the crop in bales (Day 3), and the clean field with bales removed (today, Day 4). Looks easy. Well, it is … if the weather holds and if your equipment stays together – both of which are equally problematic and unpredictable. It is hard for me to describe the sense of relief felt when this big job is done. Our years’ supply of feed lay in the field – if something should go wrong sometime during the harvest, it’s a big deal. A very big deal. Truth be told, in nearly 20 years we have never lost a crop. That’s not to say we haven’t had our share of problems (sometimes significant ones) relating to both weather and equipment … but we have always prevailed. We used to harvest this crop in square bales, and this required that we bring help onto the farm for the final day of harvest. Round bales require less handling and the entire harvest can be carried out by just the two of us. As a final note, for those of you who have never experienced the olfactory joy of freshly baled grass hay … you’ve really, really, missed something.

15 thoughts on “Hay

  1. Beautiful. These photos remind me of the impressionists. I love hay time! We usually do square bales; I love the images of my husband, his dad, and our sons hanging off the trailer picking up the bales with hooks.

    • Thanks. One image I have always wanted to be able to capture is that which is created by the hay field as the tips of the long blades of grass are caught by the wind. The waves, moving through the field, are very much like waves moving across the surface of the ocean or of a lake. Each time I see this, usually in the evening, I think “Boy this would make a cool picture.” And, then realize that I can’t capture movement in a still. You, on the other hand, can do more with movement in a painting than any photographer is able to do with a still. There … there’s another assignment for you! What do you grow and harvest the hay for? Horses perhaps? D

      • We grow hay for our Donkeys. I like the idea of trying to capture the waves of a hayfield, perhaps this fall, could you capture it in a photo, in low light if you had a long shutter speed? I am about to travel to The painted desert, so I will be busy capturing the changing light on mesas, there will be plenty of rock, but no hay. Thanks for your comments, they are really thoughtful, I really enjoy reading them.

        • The Painted Desert sounds hot and very dry. I like trees and green things. I’m sure, however, that there will be much inspiration to be had – so soak it up and enjoy. I will keep the hayfield-thing in mind as I wander. Have a great trip and be safe. D

  2. Pingback: Hay Day | Wing and a Prayer Farm

    • Thanks. Kentucky must have been beautiful. As I compose this reply I am sitting in the kitchen looking out the window AT THE RAIN which is now falling. I always ask, then the rains come just as we complete the harvest, whether it has been good management or good luck that allowed us to get the hay in dry. This time I believe it was good luck. The barn doors closed yesterday afternoon about 4PM. The clouds began to gather after that and the first drops began to fall early this morning. Whew. Thanks for dropping in and for taking the time to comment. D

    • I love it when it wafts into the open windows of the car as I drive by mowed or harvested fields. It’s also nice, on a rainy morning such as we have today, when the aroma drifts into the open windows of the house. It is indeed a wonderful smell – conjures so many things. Ahh – some of the simple pleasures of country life. Thanks for the comment. D

    • I have read that Ontario is big hay country. I don’t know the climate well enough to know how difficult hay harvest might be ‘UP’ there. I’m assuming at the higher latitudes that your growing season is shorter and that the days aren’t quite as warm as they are ‘DOWN’ here in Pennsylvania. I could be wrong! The Sony compact camera that I use has a really nice panoramic feature that I used to take these images on successive days – I’m glad you liked them. D

      • Yes there is hay farming in Southern Ontario mostly for animal feed. The big hay country is in out west in the Prairie provinces. Ontario is more of a fruits and vegetable province with many great greenhouses near Niagara Falls area.

        • Cool – now I know! I have seen photos of what must have been from the western part of the county that you mentioned. Miles upon miles (or is it km upon km) of hay fields and many balers working simultaneously to bring the massive crops in. Work on such a scale that I cannot imagine! Have a great day. D

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