Sunday, July 12, 2015


There are a lot of things to look forward to on a sunny, Sunday afternoon but maybe none as much as haying. I love it. It’s the closest I ever get to an Amish barn raising and the workout makes my hardest Taekwondo class seem like a stroll down the lane. It’s community and dripping sweat and all of it takes place either perched on top of a mountain of bales in a hay wagon or inside a barn swirling with chaff and dust. At nearly 90 degrees today I’ll probably lose and inch off my waist in the few hours we’ll be handing, stacking, chucking and passing the fifty-pound bales. I’m seriously excited.

I feel about haying the same way I feel about running. It’s not exactly fun to be in the act, but the feeling of having accomplished it is so worth it. Yesterday I went for a three mile jog after the Chicken 101 Workshop (and thank you to the six wonderful people who came to the farm for it! Three for the first time!) and the way it feels to sit on cool grass in the shade after that is more heavenly than the finest scotch. Having Done Something Tiring is my drug of choice., you see, and I’ll be doing lines over at Livingston Brook Farm all afternoon.

I’ll pack swimwear and a towel and clean clothes to change into. When you hay you don’t wear shorts and a tank top - you wear thick boots and socks, jeans, long sleeved shirts and work gloves. You wear all this because while you may not realize it it - hay is sharp. It’s wicked sharp and cuts into soft, sweaty skin fast and hard. If you aren’t protected you end up looking like you ran through a briar afterward and suntan lotion and lake water stings like alcohol. So besides being hard work on a hot day you’re dressed for a pumpkin patch jaunt in October. Clothing is literally peeled off afterwards and the icing on the cake is jumping into Patty and Mark’s lakeside property to swim until all the hay is out of your hair and mind.

After that - drinks. We are only human. Also, I'm a writer.


Blogger Sarah said...

I love your outlook on this.
Maybe I'm just cynical after two decades of bucking hay, but I dread Hay Day. I see my neighbor's beautiful alfalfa fields, cut and laying in neat rows under the scorching summer sun, and I think, "Well crap," because that means I have four, maybe five days before that entire field is stacked and waiting on hay wagons alongside my barn.
But I completely agree, who needs a gym when you have a hungry haymow?
Good luck!

July 12, 2015 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Nushi said...

holy! I never thought I'd actually find another human who loves haying as much as I do!! We're starting haying up north here too... only we're a bit behind you, we're just starting the whole process of haying (I man the mower! An old school 7 foot sickle bar mower mounted on an old allis chalmers... over 120 acres that's a SLOW job!) We're still a few weeks away from the stacking and storing part... but I love every minute :)

July 13, 2015 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger DarcC said...

I was haying yesterday too. It's a marathon, started Friday afternoon mowing and tedding, didn't get off the tractor until 10:30pm. Tedding again on Saturday. Yesterday was the sprint to the finish, 440 bales either trucked home or stacked in the loft. Add in a warped mower cutting bar and flat tires on a hay wagon and the alchohol (after the switchel) was completely justified. I love every tortuous minute of it!

July 13, 2015 at 11:17 AM  

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