This spring has been either the wettest or second wettest springs on record in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Being a suburban dweller, my frustration of trying to keep up with mowing the lawn between showers or setting out plants in my garden is pale in comparison to the frustration of our local farmers as they wait for a dry day to plant the corn or beans for this year’s cash crops or to make enough hay for their cows.
Having grown up on a small dairy farm in Ohio some sixty years ago, I can appreciate what my mother used to say; “you have to make hay while the sun shines”. June was hay making month and it was during this month that all of the hay which was needed for the cows in the following winter was baled and stored in the barn. June was a no non-sense kind of month as It was a time when the heavy work of lifting all of those bales of hay needed to be done and of course, the weather played a key role as to whether the crop of hay was going to be good.
We took a ride to our favorite restaurant, The Golden Buck, in Ovid, NY. Last Friday was the second of three beautiful sunny days and the sight of these local farmers making hay for their cows and horses brought back a flood of memories. If the hay was ready to be baled on Friday or Saturday night, there was no question as to what you were going to be doing. Meeting with friends had to wait until another day!
Everyone in the family was fully involved during hay making time. I drove the tractor which pulled the baler and the wagon. My older brother and my father loaded the 85 bales which fit onto each wagon. After the wagons were full, they were taken to the barn and unloaded into the hay mow for winter usage. Of course, it was my Mother’s job to make the mountains of food which the men consumed during this time of the year. And while hay making time brought suffering from my allergies, sore back muscles from all of the heavy lifting, and rivers of sweat from all of the hard work, it was the time on the farm which I shall never forget!