Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hauling Hay the Old Fashioned Way

For many years now I have walked behind a grumbling pickup truck, belching exhaust fumes, as we pile a wobbling tower of hay bales atop it. These bales are the end result of a long process of cutting, churning, and binding by massive roaring machines. However, it wasn't so long ago in the grand scheme of things, that bringing the hay in was a far more human endeavor. This weekend, we went back to our roots and had a glimpse of how our ancestors summers must have been spent in the ripe fields of the midwest and Europe.

One thing we found, is that they must have spent a long time sharpening their scythes; it takes a sharp blade to cut through a field of grass! After I had cut the field and we raked the cuttings into piles I had to make a second pass with the scythe to pick up the surprising number of uncut stalks. Though the standing grass seemed dry to the touch after weeks of sunshine, the piles were damp, and we were obliged to let it dry that afternoon and the next.

There is something oddly satisfying and peaceful about a day spent quietly cutting, turning, and bundling sweet smelling grasses and then storing them in barn. It feels clean - the dust and fumes I usually associate with making and hauling hay are not there to make me feel in desperate need of a shower. It's a lot of work, and doing more than the 15 or so bundles we tied up would require a back breaking amount of labor. However, the goats love it, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this little trip back through time to a simpler age.

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