Thursday, May 27, 2010


Finally, a forecast of warm, dry weather and the hay is laid down to cure.

A stand of daisies discovered in the midst of a field.

Although we haven't seen deer, there were many "beds" where they have rested hidden in tall grass.

A sprig of blue-eyed grass and a form of yellow clover.

The rains brought the grass on heavier than J. anticipated. The mower/swather is elderly and has to go at a slow pace through the denser hay.

The different heads of grass are intriguing. These had to be taken outside directly after I photographed them spread on the pine table.  The cats like to play with the stems and eat bits of the stalks--which they promptly and messily hawk up.

Pebbles always feels that we are doing things outside for her entertainment. She was very inspired by the scent of fresh hay curing in the sunshine and offered to do a taste test.
She has decided it is good stuff and that she should have frequent snacks.

As J. made the first rounds of the back field he saw a turkey fly up.  When I went out with a glass of ice water for him, he shut down the tractor and we walked through the uncut grass hoping to find the nest so he could spare it.
Next morning I found the nest, a considerable distance from where the hen turkey rose into the air.  J. figures he unwittingly hit the nest early on and the hen scudded through the grass in escape, only flying out after she had run quite a way.
  The eggs must have been recently laid as chicks hadn't yet formed.  The remains were still quite fresh and there was a scent as of a rich custard just removed from an oven.
The coloration of the shattered eggs was lovely: a dark cream with brown splotches.
We felt badly.  Such accidents to wildlife are unavoidable in haying season.  We've heard that a neighbor struck and killed a fawn while mowing deep grass.
I admit that my sorrow is selective.
I don't regret the large snake which was hit by the mower.  It became a meal for the always hovering vultures.

Bales curing in the sun.  J. has made adjustments to the baler, which wasn't packing and slicing off some of the rectangles as neatly as it should.

A neighbor who would like  J. to put up his own small stand of hay stopped and volunteered to help pick up hay from the field and stack it in the bays of the tobacco barn.  Hot, sweaty work.
J. made arrangements to pick up a young Amish man after his day's work at a local furniture factory. Joseph is slender and strong, a hard worker.
I drove the tractor at a snail's pace along the rows of bales.  Two men heaved bales onto the trailer while J. stacked them.
While each load was stashed in the barn I hurried to the house for pitchers of ice water.
I brought up cookies and the men consumed all but two.
When we quit for the evening and walked down the track to the house, Pebbles caught sight of the plastic zip-lock bag dangling from J.'s hand and set up a noisy begging.
He fed her the cookies!

The evening before cutting the hay, J. sat on the porch watching a pair of red-winged blackbirds darting in and out of the tall grass. Stepping carefully he disovered their nest and marked the location with a stake, so that he could leave it undisturbed.

Yesterday we visited the nest site and found  two absurd chicklets teetering on stalks of grass just outside the nest.

Who would have thought baby birds had tufty hair-dos?

Neighbors stopped yesterday afternoon to introduce themselves and inquire if they could buy 100 bales of hay directly off the field.
We enjoyed getting acquainted--and incidently selling this first "cash crop" from our tiny farm.


  1. A very lovely post, Sharon! It always feels like a visit and a neat tour. Too bad about the eggs but I wouldn't have felt badly about the snake either! Jim says many are "our friends" but I don't think so! Pretty neat that you already have a "cash crop" too.

  2. Gosh, well done with the hay-making - it is SUCH hard work. We used to buy our hay off the field to, by far the cheapest way to buy it when you have horses. I am glad that Pebbles approved of your efforts!

    A shame about the turkey eggs, but well done to J for saving the blackbirds' nest. Crazy punk babies!!

  3. What a wonderful post, it's lovely to read about haymaking and the old-fashioned way of neighbours helping each other with the work. It's good to know that there are still people doing proper haymaking rather than making silage.

  4. Such an interesting post. I love hearing about life on the land. So good to see Pebbles is still demanding her share. Looking forward to your next post.

  5. You must be enjoying the scent of new-mown hay, one of my most favorite fragrances. As a child I loved the Betsy, Tacy & Tib series of books , Maud Hart Lovelace was the author. Someone applied fragrance called New Mown Hay, and I couldn't wait to discover what this lovely scent might be. That and lavender are the most heavenly scents, I think. And roses!

  6. I did enjoy this post. I could almost smell the hay drying in the meadow. I would definitely order some if you were nearer! We have a shortage of last year`s hay here in the south of England and this year`s crop is not doing well because the spring has been so dry. Hopefully, this weekend`s soft rain will get the grass growing again.

  7. Brilliant post ...felt I was with you every step of the way. It was so interesting to read and the photos made it so real for me.

    This really was your a perfect home to choose always sound so happy ...even though you both must be exausted ...and you made a first sale .

  8. Hullo MM,

    Super post and lovely photo's. Looks like good fertile fields and a good crop of hay. Nice shot of the young chicks. They doo look absurd! It's great that you are careful where possible to avoid any casualties from the local wildlife.