Hay is pretty country now that I think about it. Country folk have long been known as hayseeds.So the letter H seemed to be clamoring for writing about hay.
Hay is a dried animal feed, and different than straw. It's a green growing plant that is cut off in its prime, dried and baled. There are different plants grown that are harvested for hay. Without looking at a hayseed bag--just judging by what I see growing in the local fields, timothy, alfalfa, and clover are popular choices, locally. Just fyi, straw is the stem of a grain after the seeds have been removed during harvest. It's nutritionally depleted. Straw can come from oats, barley, wheat, etc. It's used to make bedding for animals, and most recently, for holiday decorations. The scarecrow and the pumpkin have to sit on something, right? ;-)
When I was growing up, we "put in hay" with a lot of labor. Dad drove the hay-baler. There was a job for all of us. And sometimes, neighbors even pitched in (pun intended) to help. My younger sister and I started out rolling bales into piles, the wagon could pull beside a pile and remain there while my brothers loaded the wagon by hand pitching the bales onto it. My three older sisters "built" the load.
There's a method used to "tie in" a load of hay. It has to do with how the bales are arranged. Since they are longer than they are wide, there are ways to stack them to help keep a load from tumbling off while maneuvering steep hills and driveways.
There was never a shortage of drivers; everyone liked to drive. (laughing). But, we were unmerciful if the driver stalled the tractor while letting out the clutch. We'd shout, "Green driver!". I didn't know what it meant, but I yelled it too. It was a great image, you know. ;-)
Putting in hay was always planned for a good spell of weather. About half of the time, late afternoon storms threatened, so the work was done in a rush. Hot, sweaty, itchy with hay dust, and usually sunburned too, we'd climb on top of that load of hay and ride it to the barn. We did this in bare feet. By the end of summer, our feet were like shoe leather. The hay would prick into our skin anywhere it was exposed. Haymaking is not a sport for weaklings.
As the tractor putted out the field lane and then turned down onto the main lane, the breeze always felt so good. And then we had to duck, sometimes lay flat to avoid low hanging oak branches. I remember starting down over the "big hill" on our lane, and the sparks would fly out of the tractor's muffler. We'd yell, "The brakes!" and then an older sibling would shush us and say, "Dad can't even touch the brakes. He has to use the gears to keep us slow. If he does use the brakes, we're out of control!" It was terrifying but exhilarating too. We all loved that ride down the lane. Sometimes, the load did tumble. And the passengers tumbled with the load.
It was a common way for teenagers to make some extra money. Farmers were always looking for help when they were putting in hay.
Interesting tidbit. Back in my grandmother's day, the neighbors all helped each other, and hay wasn't baled-it was gathered loose and piled onto the wagon, then unloaded and stored that way. It was quite labor intensive. I recall that neighbors, about two miles west, used to help back and forth with the Cypher farm. Addie, the neighbor woman always kept a Catholic calendar hanging on her wall even though she was a Protestant. The reason? When the Cyphers came to help put in hay, or pick corn, or whatever the chore was, Addie wanted to be sure if it was alright to serve meat. And she needed to know when the holy days of obligation were, so she didn't ask my grandma or my dad to come on a holy day.
It's late. My post is done. Time to "hit the hay." ;-) Thanks for visiting.