Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This is a painting I did from an old picture taken in 1944 or 45. That is my dad on top of the hay wagon and Uncle Tad on the tractor. They are using a Gunning Hay rake. Bud (Ralph) Gunning and his brothers designed it. It was the first equipment after just pitching it up onto the wagon from the ground, so quite an improvement. I remember carrying a brown and cream colored Jug to the hay fields to give the men a drink of cold water. When the wagon was full, My dad would drive the team to the barn. There was a system of pulley's across the top of the barn. Then my dad took a big iron fork that was attached to the ropes and ‘Set’ it in the hay. He would yell something, and I who was out in front with a draft horse hitched to the rope, would lead the horse, who would pull the fork of hay into the mow. When it got to the right place where the man inside wanted it dumped, they would yell something and I would turn the horse, and go back and get ready for the next one. The guy inside would “trip” the rope and we would start the process over and over. They always had a wagon loading in the field and one unloading at the barn so there was not much delays. They could only put up hay when it was dry. First they had to cut it, turn it, and ted it. That was to make it into rows. They would have to wait until the morning dew dried off before they could start. They worked hard to get the hay up before a rain came. After that method, most people bought balers and used them. .
When it was time to make hay, the farmers, cut their hay and they went around together to help each other put it up. All the women came also as they helped cook a huge dinner for everyone. Because I helped making the hay, I got to eat at the first setting with the men. Oh, it tasted so good.
Just for prosperity’s sake, I will add one last hay making story. When my husband got out of the service, he borrowed $2000.00 at the bank and bought a couple milk cows . By the time the next summer arrived and he was making hay. The neighbors came to help, but we just bacon as meat in the freezer and not a dime to spend on food. My mom says “you aren’t just having bacon as the meat” and I said that is all we have. She said no more and we had plenty of food. A neighbor,, probably realizing the situation, said Bacon is nice for a change.. Sometimes you just do what you have to do.

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