Thursday, July 16, 2009

Haying Season


We used to do it the hard way. While a truck was driven along rows of freshly bailed hay, we'd walk alongside, picking up the bales and throwing them by hand to a partner who stacked them in the truck bed. It was back-breaking work, and though it's been years, I think I still have sore muscles to prove it.

Things are different now. Someone was finally sufficiently inventive to develop a machine that not only generates a hay bale, but throws it onto a trailer that follows behind. It's really something to see, especially if you grew up in the country or you love the country life. If I can obtain a photo of this process in the next couple of weeks I'll post it for you. In the meantime, I've included one of my hayfield and the equipment. The trailer I mentioned is the one that looks like a cage on wheels.

Mid-July is the first cutting, as it's called, in Southern Maine, and we'll get two before the snow flies. Down South, where there's a much longer growing season, they'll get three or four. In the high mountain valleys of Colorado, the second cutting can literally be cut short by early snowfall.

A few years ago a band called The Byrds had a hit song, Turn, Turn, Turn that you may have encountered on a classic rock station. It's about times and seasons, waiting and watching, knowing when to move and when to stand still. Learning to wait and follow the lead of another can guzzle patience faster than a Hummer guzzles gas (no offense to Hummer lovers), but the change we undergo, becoming a person who can appreciate the process of life in someone else, is worth every drop.

(Image by the author)
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