Memories of Baling Hay

Watching our neighbor bale the pasture brought back some memories of hay baling.

I loved being at Grandma’s house during “haying”.

In those days, baling hay meant small square bales that required lots of man power to load and unload. It meant hot sticky afternoons riding around on a hay rack stacking bales while bits of chaff stuck to your sweaty skin.

My favorite part of haying was helping Grandma bring “lunch” to the hay crew. Now for you city folks, here in the country “lunch” is the meal that is served between breakfast and dinner, about 10:00, and then again between dinner and supper, about 3:00. (Yes, that makes 5 meals a day, but when a farmer is up and eats breakfast at 5 am, does hard, physical labor all morning, he’s ready to eat again by 10:00!)

We would help Grandma pack up cold meat sandwiches, cookies, and ice cold root beer, and then load up into the old brown rambler and bounce down the dirt road to whatever hay field they were working.

We started waving and hollering as soon as we saw the crew so they would know it was time to take a break.The food disappeared fast as the men sat in the shade of the car or hay rack. But they never rested long because they knew they were racing the weather.

When the tractor started up it was our signal to pack up and head back to Grandma’s to start on the next meal and watch for the loaded hay racks to pull into the farm yard and head to the barn to be emptied into the loft.

I’m sure the adults don’t look back on haying with the same nostalgia I do, for them it was a lot of work. But for the grandkids haying at Grandpa’s was a much anticipated event!