Make hay

It’s that time of year and the lower hayfield has been ready for several weeks. We looked at the weather map this morning and wondered about the highs over Wisconsin and if they would be enough to keep the moisture away. Over coffee we decided to take down the lower field. More than twelve hours later and with the dinner dishes cleaned the forecast looks good. A number of dark clouds passed overhead this afternoon but the skies have cleared and the sun is winking at me as it drops behind the mountains above us. When the morning dew has lifted I will wait until the sun strengthens and the winds combine to dry the exposed surface of the harvested crop. I will then rake the field by flipping each windrow to expose its damp, green, underside to the sun and that will be all I can do tomorrow – one must not rush the making of dry grass hay. I will spend the morning on Thursday greasing the baler and refueling the 1520. The latter is underpowered for what I will ask it to do later that afternoon; it will struggle and blow streams of black smoke when it travels up hill with a loaded bale chamber. It will relax going down hill and on the flat. The Vermeer baler will work its fortieth season and I have come to an unspoken understanding with it … I grease it, maintain its many bearings, watch the oil in the gearbox, and attend to the trailing bits which stream from the belts as they wear with each new bale … and it works very, very hard. Now that the cows are gone we have surplus bales from last year and from the year before. I will need to find a home for those to make room for the new bales that I will stack in the lean-to on Friday morning. This is how we make hay. This is how we’ve made hay. This is how we will continue to make hay … it’s what we do … it is ritual.


15 thoughts on “Make hay

  1. Most people make hay in the figurative sense, but you two are the only ones I know that make hay in the literal sense. Tally ho!

  2. Making hay, a ritual almost as old as time, it links you back through hundreds of generations of the human family, on this piece of earth, and others far across the seas. The hay in the croft in Plockton will not be cut for months yet, you are far ahead of us πŸ™‚

    • Hi Seonaid. We get two harvests. Although this ‘first cut’ will be a bit stemmy the sheep will gobble it up come winter. Now that the field has been cut it will regrow and long about August we will then take a ‘second cut’ which will be nice and green and leafy – and this is what we will feed to the horses which are someone more discerning in their tastes! Many thanks (as always) for checking in today. D

  3. Another beautiful image. The colors are so soothing. I think the weather is going to cooperate for you.
    Good luck! I remember when Bruce came to help out with the hay harvest!:)

    • Seems like a very long time ago. Didn’t that coincide with Celia’s Sweet Sixteenth? Or am I making that up? Anyway I remember both Bruce and Terry helping out.

      • Bruce says he thinks it was Celia’s HS graduation. I remember the allergic reaction he had! πŸ™‚

  4. Ritual is cleansing :>) Sitting here at the hotel in Gander (the former crossroads of the world) and listening to thunder, knowing the rain that accompanies it is soaking the grass just outside, it’s hard to think of drying hay. In years gone by we needed to make hay and dry fish but there was always that rain, and and fog. Wonder how we got it done :>)

    • Yes … it is exactly this singular aspect of making hay that absolutely drives me to distraction. The production of bagged (wet) hay eliminates the need of drying … much easier but produces a different (fermented) product. Those who raise sheep still need to produce the dried stuff. Although I’m not quite sure how, we always manage to get it done. Some day I’ll look back on all this and say something silly like Ah those were the days … but not today … I’m looking out the kitchen window at the VERY heavy dew! D

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