Thursday, July 06, 2017

Haying ... as a kid

This Thursday we are doing a throw back, but not
From my blog.. but from a memory of way back.

When I was a kid.. I lived on a horse farm.. Horse farm
Means a summer was divide between haying and showing. My mother showed 3 gaited horses and then changed over
To jumpers in the 1950’s.

My first job in our summer haying was as a stomper.
I was to stomp down the hay on the back of the truck
As  Dad threw loose hay on to the flat bed. And Mom
Helped me stomp the hay.  
Many times the truck was put into first gear and it
Idle down the field as we went.. with my brother
Strapped in to the passenger seat. Not for safety
But to keep him out of the steering wheel area.
He was 4 years younger than me.

Then I graduated up to driver.. By 10 I could reach
The pedals, so I got to drive the truck.. so Dad didn’t
Have to run and jump in to take it down the next row.
I lost that job, when my brother got old enough to
Reach the pedals.  And I return as stomper but by
Myself, as Mom joined Dad by throwing hay on the
Other side of the truck.. That way we could do two
Rows at a time.

Also my job was riding the rake.  The rake was a piece
Of equipment.. which scared the hell out of me. As I
Pictured falling off of it, and having the tines rake me
Into the ground.  I started that about 8 or 9 years old.
It is after the hay is cut and starts to dry. So you go out and
Rake the hay in rows.  Mom would drive the pick up, while
I rode the rake. The rake consisted of a long tow tongue
That connected to the truck.. attached was two huge
Wheels, and axle.. with a seat in the middle. The seat
Was one of those old metal seat with holes in it.
Along side was a shift stick of sorts. You pull it
To pick up the tines, and then you let it go for the
Tines to go down and gather hay for the next row.
Wasn’t so bad when I was a teen, but I swear Mom
Stepped up the speed when I was older.. as we
Would go up and down the slight hills of the fields.

When we got done piling the hay on the truck, we
Would take it home.  We would hay other’s fields,
Who didn’t have horses or cows.  My brother and I
High on the top of the hay…as Dad drove down the
Highway or back roads to home.  Today, the police
Would have stopped him, and probably got accused
Of child abuse.   And child labor.

When we got home.. we would unload the hay in
A huge pile near the barn.. We didn’t have a loft.
Once again we were the stompers.. As mom and dad
Pitched the hay on the pile. These stacks would be
About 10 feet high.. And about 9 feet thru. And then
It would be topped with canvas to keep the rain
And later snow off of it.. There was a stall that
Mom and Dad would put hay from the stack, to
Use each day. And then filled up again on
The weekend. Some time breaking trail thru the
Snow, to the barn. Using wheel barrows.

By the time I was a mid teen, we had got a
Farmer to bale the hay..and then I had to throw
Bales up on the truck with Dad, while my brother had to
Stack the truck, so we could travel back home.
Mom drove the truck.  
All hell would break loose if any bales fell off.
Plus the fact, we were on top of these loads,
Going down the road at about 40 mph, heading
For home.

By this time, I am hating haying.. I no longer had
A horse, thanks to Mom.. (see Bucky) so I had
No horse in this rodeo.  But it was required.

Now jump about 20 some odd years ahead.. I go
To visit the folks in R.I. and I am a west coast girl.
No haying.. (when I had horses, I bought hay).
But I get pulled in haying when I was on “vacation”.
It always was a working “vacation”.  Planting flowers
And haying.  But the folks paid the plane ticket, so
Figured they were entitled.   And some how.. it did
Not seem so bad.. after all I was only there a week.

Then the whole family moved back there.. and my
Kids got involved. My son’s worked, with throwing
Bales of hay on the trailer.. even my daughters got
In it as well.  While sometimes I had things I rather
Do, but we went over to help out.. The call would
Come in.. hay down.. will be baling in 2 days.
No riding on top of the load… and by this time,
The folks had more modern equipment. Only down
Side was putting it in the loft. The putting it on the
Escalator was the fairly easy part.. keeping up and
Etc. The bummer, was the loft itself.. Once we got
The load in the back part of it.. so the back door
Was closed and hay up against it.. it was HOT!!
Sweating hot.. sticky hot…losing weight HOT.. lol.
While it wasn’t so bad… I don’t miss it a bit. Lol
Oh, my father was old him Yankee type of farmer… So the
Kids wages was…. A quarter (this is the late 1970;s early
1980’s.. and a trip to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.
My old man was TIGHT!!!


Unknown said...

I wish I was just a year or two older to better remember my grandfather putting up hay. He homesteaded in Bonner county and put up loose hay until he retired in the late 1950's. I remember the hay being pitched up into the wagon pulled by the horses, which had earlier pulled the sickle mower and then the rack that you describe. Later I helped my father put up many tons of baled hay...I know what you mean by hot work, luckily we were on a lake and could just jump in and cool off.

My grandfather had a barn and a couple dozen cattle so he would pull the wagon up to the barn, unhitch the horses, take them around the back so he could use them to pull the large grappling hook full of hay up to the top of the barn and then across an iron track to hit a trip that would drop the hay.

Word Tosser said...