Summertime is Hay Time

Summertime  is hay time.
The old saying, "Make hay while the sun shines" is certainly true isn't it?
All else goes on the back burner when the hay is ready.
Our very first wedding anniversary supper was put on hold because there was hay down and it looked like rain.
Usually the first cutting is before school gets out.
The weather is watched morning, noon and night and when it looks like it's going to be dry the hay comes down.
There is almost no better smell than hay drying in the fields.
We don't see as many square bales as we used to.
It's hard to get the help.
Someone to drive the tractor, someone to stack and  someone to pick-up, ideally two to stack and at least a couple of others walking the field but when that can't be pulling the baler with a wagon behind and a man on the wagon will get the job done.
It's a big job to stack a load of hay. There is a right way to do it, a safe way to do it. A well stacked load of hay or straw is not only pretty but something to be proud of.
Then there is the trip to the barn. You sit up on top of that high stack and the breeze feels so good hitting you as the tractor speeds up a little.
The weather reports are saying to stay inside they are saying it's to hot to be out but the farmer doesn't listen.
He not only goes to the blazing hot hay filed but then he goes to the smothering hot hayloft.
How do they take it?  I don't know.
My dad says he remembers after he and his brothers left home his dad bought a hay elevator before but before that he and his brothers had to throw them from the wagon to the loft. When the wagon was full it wasn't to bad but as it emptied and got lower the job got harder. One of the few job that gets harder as it goes instead of easier.
Once the elevator is going and the hay is  placed on it the motion is started and everyone needs to keep the pace. A hay elevator is a wonderful thing. It makes an already difficult job a little easier.
Just as stacking the hay on the wagon is important so is stacking the hay in the barn. Neatness counts. 
The day ends and everyone passes around the thermos of ice water, turning it up and drinking after one another.
Clothes are dusting and covered with bits of hay or straw and soaking with sweat.
Caps are pulled off and forearms are rubbed across foreheads and hands through hair.
Some of the men stand others sort of  bend down without their knee touching the ground  like you've seen men do and they talk.
They talk about how the hay is, how much they got, how the neighbors hay looks, when they will cut again, how the machinery all worked, about the kind of machinery they would like to have and the kind they used to have.
The talking slows down and finally someone calls it a day.
Everyone heads to their trucks or to the house whichever the case might be and another  hay season is either underway or done until the next year.
I don't think there is any other job that follows seasons like farming does.
Well the job of motherhood does, we have seasons with our children as they grow.
Maybe that's why farming and families go so well together, they understand each other, they respect the seasons of life and of nature.
You can't hurry from one to the other, you have to wait for each season to complete it's cycle and you have to do what each cycle calls for when it calls for it.
It's the only way, it's just how things work.
Family's and farms, no wonder they go so well together.


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