Saturday, August 7, 2010
A Friend Reminded Me....
I just took a walk down memory lane with a dear friend of mine. It was by way of a book he wrote which will be the subject of one of my blogs in a week or so.
I was reminded in one his chapters of the days before huge round bales of hay we see all over the fields in the summer. To be true, these round bales are practical - probably much easier to reap and much easier to store. However, that being said, some of the joy I remember in farming is gone.
When I was growing up we got hay just like the picture above. I'd go down the hill to our valley neighbors and hop on the wagon along with three or four others to ride out to a nearby hayfield. Someone had already mowed the grass (for the lack of a better word) and after it had been cured and dried for a bit it would be raked into rows using a big horsedrawn hay rake which took a strong leg to kick the release when we dumped the hay.
Then came the wagon. No balers - no machine to load the hay. It took strong arms to pitch the hay onto the wagon - and it was especially hard for some of us young'uns when the hay got high in the wagon. I guess I was lucky because I usually rode on the wagon to balance the hay load. When the hay was all aboard, everybody climbed on top and we rode to pitch the hay into the haymow (no fancy hooks or devices to mechanically transfer the hay into the barn).
The reward was a few small coins from the farmer but more importantly was the opportunity to play hide and go seek or slide down a chute from the haymow to the main floor. We'd go home saturated with hay and seeds and so I guess we really lived up to the old nickname of "just another country hick hayseed".
So, as we drove north to Alpena yesterday we went through modern hayfields replete with huge round bales ready to be hauled back to a storage area - but not to a hayloft. And I thought,
times have changed - and farming with it. But I'm glad for my memories.