The joys of haying (story)

Monek Marie
Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

If you live on a farm or country road you have probably hayed. Its just part of farm life.

When I lived on the dirt road, with the whopping five houses - all of which were people who farmed, haying was the summer community activity.

Who ever had their hay ready to cut before the reat would invite us all to help with huge meals all day long. When that farm was done we moved to the next. Stories of broken axels or flat tires made the season more challenging but were great stories for around a campfire later.

My dad being a master mechanic spent a good deal of his time fixing tractors and other farm equipment. Everything always broke on hay week.

Being one of the smaller helpers I was usually put on the hay elevator to load or direct bales.If they were desperate, they put me on the tractor to drive!

It was hard work but it built communty and the stories still circulate generations later.

What haying stories do you have?


  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2021

    A funny haying story

    I was home from college and it was haying season. My dad was shorthanded up at the neighbors so I went up. I was not fond of haying here as the farmer always made huge heavy bales that were impossible to move. Every one asked him to make them smaller but he never would.

    So off we went to hay. It was just dad and me. His back was sore so he drove and I was just responsible for moving the bales back away from where the kicker was tossing them in to the wagon. Easy huh? No, those bales were about 120 pounds and weighed more than me. The might have been longer than I was tall.

    Well I was turned half way around and a bale hit me head on and I went down,. under the bale. Dad stopped the tractor and all he could see was my hand and feet. He got the bale off me, sat down, looked at me and laughed. I imagine it was quite a sight. But since the bales were so heavy he had me drive. 120 pound bales in hot sun and coming at you non stop is hard work, even for a spunky farm girl.

    It was a short day of work and it was not much longer and the tractor broke. I think both dad and I were relived that we could call it a day.

    Of course he spent the rest of that day and the next getting the tractor repaired.

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 369 ✭✭✭

    Great stories!!

    When we were little we wanted to help, but were not allowed since we were still small and girls. But we had to get involved somehow! So we started a competition of jumping from bale to bale. As you can imagine this lead to several head over heels tumbles over the sides of the bales!! The more crazy the rolls over the sides, the more we tried to make them even more amusing! We were so dirty and mussed, we had a ball!

    When we got back into the house we were of course questioned on our appearance... to which we remarked "we were haying!" Grandma had a good laugh and immediately sent us to wash!!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2021

    So haying has begun in our area. What memories it brings back.

    I have noticed whenever its haying season that is the week where it wants to rain and you have to pull an all day event on a hot and steamy day. I Imagine the neighbors down the road will be working until dark and unloading in the dark.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    Great stories! Ya know, I miss all those neighborly things we used to do. Living "in the country" where I am isn't the same as it used to be. Sigh.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    @frogvalley It certainly is not the same as it used to be.

    @Monek Marie Thank you for the stories.

    We generally cut the nearby ditches and gather by pitchfork through that season. We go out with the old Allis after grass is cut & raked (old fashioned too), and put it all onto a small trailer to bring back to the cows. The neighbors must either be amused or think we're crazy, but it is certainly a family activity. It is the worst when it is hot, windy or there is an impending lightning storm.

    We don't get much ditch hay, but it supplements until we can get more.

    This year, it is so dry that any grass/standing hay is really short & heading already. That's very early. So, it's time to do a cut and hope we get moisture for a possible second & third cut.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    As far as a story, I have one that was potentially a dangerous situation.

    When I was a teen, I was out helping some friends, along with my family, gather bales. It has hard work, picking & throwing by hand. Some of the men had forks, but I wasn't able to sling those just yet.

    Anyway, after a bit when the stack got too high for me to through any on, my friends & I were to maneuver these bales into place. That was fun & when we were done, we sat on the top and had a great time.

    Now, the stack got pretty high and their dad was not exactly the sharpest tack in the barrel. He talked big but didn't have much of anything to back all those words up.

    He drove the tractor & wagon on a slope that proved to be just a bit too much (and which should have been obvious & actually easy to avoid) and over the wagon went, quickly spilling all the bales off of the wagon. My friends & I rode the top all the way down, which was a mixture of scary & fun. Thankfully, the forks were not anywhere close to us at any point, partly because they were at the back & the way the bales went down, it didn't throw them around. Also thankfully, nobody got caught under or in the falling bales.

    I can tell you, that that is one lesson that I won't ever forget, which is to not get too greedy at any one time (bales stacked too tall) and never drive on the side of a slope with a tall load.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,088 ✭✭✭✭

    I enjoyed reading all of these haying stories. I have no experience or stories to add to these shared memories. When we move to the farm, there will be lots of haying and then I can add "my tale".

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    To save money on buying extra equipment, my dad and his brothers all went in on the hay wagons, bailer, etc. Then we would all help each other bail hay. I was so little that I usually got in the way more than I helped. But it was a fun family activity.

    Then, when everyone got the last hay crop in, we had a hayride and campfire cookout with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends that counted as family.

  • LadyJaeNH
    LadyJaeNH Posts: 1 ✭✭✭

    These stories brought back many memories of family, mostly my grandparents. We all learned to drive the tractors without the trailer and then with. My 1st time with the trailer was in the middle of haying, unplanned and last minute. I knew I could do it but the fact that so many people were there helping caused me to feel self conscious and panic. I was terrified I would make a mistake, hurt someone, drive into the ditch or do something I shouldn't. I didn't tell anyone especially not my grandpa I didn't wanna to let him down. So I m driving along doing okay. Actually I was doing a better at pretending to be ok than really being okay. Good enough to forget some of my worries. Mostly I forgot the ditch, I forgot to worry remember and I forgot to turn before the ditch! I was okay so was everyone else. I was done driving for the day. I refused after the tractor was out and for a long time after. Until one day when my grandpa needed me to help him with something and nobody else was around to help. After convincing me to help we went to the shop where amazingly he had to have me raise him in the bucket to do something, 1st I had to drive to the shop with him in the bucket. I argued he explained very well why it had to be done the way it was and then stood in the bucket patiently waiting. I finally did and was worried I would dump him out while he was up doing what he was doing. I lowered the bucket when he was done. I was grateful I hadn't killed him and he was proud of me and himself. He didn't need to do anything it was his way of showing me I did know how and he knew it so I would drive the tractors. He told me it was my decision but he didn't want me to decide not to because I drove into the ditch. He was an amazing man.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice story, @LadyJae, and welcome to The Grow Network.

    When you get a moment, I'd like to invite you to check out our Rules & FAQ sections to help you navigate the forum more effectively. It would also be a great idea to introduce yourself in your area of our Introduction section. This was created to help people network more effectively. I will leave a couple of links below for your convenience.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LadyJae Great story and I love how your dad helped you out with driving tractors.

    Welcome to the group!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2021

    Haying is hard work but it does make lasting memories and brings out the neighbors helping each other out stories. Times have changed but it still happens around here at times.

    I al;so have memories of all the tractors and wagons that would break and had to be repaired. My dad was one of the first to be called by local farmers to fix repair anything and everything. One day we had a hay elevator parked in the driveway.

    @LaurieLovesLearning Our neighbor always tried to stack their wagons to high and had a few roll. No one got hurt but its ended up being twice the work reloading and there were always broken bales to deal with.

    This year I am cutting my own hay, by hand. Thankfully I don't need much I still expect it to be a job.

  • bcabrobin
    bcabrobin Posts: 251 ✭✭✭

    I only was knocked off the wagon 1 time. We were trying to get the last of the bales in before a storm. I was stacking the bales and the last row was at the top of the sides . I had my back to the baler and a bale hit me and I went flying. Laid there till he came around, climbed the side, and rode the wagon into the barn as the rain it.

    We never told our moms.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I love the smell of fresh hay. Everyone is haying now and ther small town I passed through today had that heavy fresh hay smell hanging in the air.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    Such great stories!

  • Brindy
    Brindy Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    I love these stories! My dad told me lots of stories about the farm and they're were plenty about haying. There were a couple of them that were really sad that he lost friends. Even though they were very sad , I could tell that those memories and experiences made him who he is today. He is so strong and tough, the hardest worker I know, now that my grandfather is gone. Those experiences, the hard work, and the unity they had built such amazing strong people. My father worked us hard growing up and I didn't like it one bit, but everyone I know is blown away with how hard I work and keep going. It was because my dad and grandfather. What is this generation going to be built of today?

    All of your stories are so precious and I hope that you write them down for your posterity.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    What interesting stories. Please be sure to write them down. We had a 2 1/2 acre farm and did not grow grains. We had a small vegetable garden near the house. We did get a tractor and did cut our 4 foot grass down-we had been doing it by hand when our neighbors mentioned that there were probably poisonous snakes in the grass.