Farmers for an Evening

haymaking

haymaking5

haymaking4

Every hay crew is the same
though the names change;
young men flexing their muscles,
a seasoned farmer defying his age
tossing four bales high,
determined girls bucking up on the wagon,
young children rolling bales closer,
add a school teacher, pastor,
professor, lawyer and doctor
getting sweaty and dusty
united in being farmers
if only for an evening.

Stacking
basket weave
interlocking
cut side up
steadying the load
riding over hills
through valleys
in slow motion
eagles over head
searching the bare fields
evening alpen glow
of snowbound
eastern peaks

Friends and neighbors
walking the dotted pastures,
piling on the wagons,
driving the truck,
riding the top of hay stack
in the evening breeze,
filling empty barn space to the rafters,
making gallons of lemonade in the kitchen.
A hearty meal consumed
in celebration
of summer baled, stored, preserved
for another year.

Hay crew
remembered on
frosty autumn mornings before dawn
when bales are broken for feed
and fragrant summer spills forth
in the dead of winter.

emptyhaybarn

haymaking6

haywagon15

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hayjobdone

Happy Hills of Hay

barnboy

barnboys

 

Through all the pleasant meadow-side
The grass grew shoulder-high,
Till the shining scythes went far and wide
And cut it down to dry.

Those green and sweetly smelling crops
They led the waggons home;
And they piled them here in mountain tops
For mountaineers to roam.

Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail,
Mount Eagle and Mount High;–
The mice that in these mountains dwell,
No happier are than I!

Oh, what a joy to clamber there,
Oh, what a place for play,
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
The happy hills of hay!
~Robert Louis Stevenson “Hay Loft Poem”

barnboy5

 barnboy4
The Old Hay-mow’s the place to play
Fer boys, when it’s a rainy day!
I good-‘eal ruther be up there
Than down in town, er anywhere!When I play in our stable-loft,
The good old hay’s so dry an’ soft,
An’ feels so fine, an’ smells so sweet,
I ‘most ferget to go an’ eat.An’ one time wunst I _did_ ferget
To go ‘tel dinner was all et,–
An’ they had short-cake–an’–Bud he
Hogged up the piece Ma saved fer me!

Nen I won’t let him play no more
In our hay-mow where I keep store
An’ got hen-eggs to sell,–an’ shoo
The cackle-un old hen out, too!

An’ nen, when Aunty she was here
A-visitun from Rensselaer,
An’ bringed my little cousin,–_he_
Can come up there an’ play with me.

But, after while–when Bud he bets
‘At I can’t turn no summersetts,–
I let him come up, ef he can
Ac’ ha’f-way like a gentleman!
~James Whitcomb Riley “The Old Hay-Mow Poem”

barnboy2

barnboy3

Summer Afternoon at BriarCroft

Tony running in the lower field

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

fish pond
Front yard light and shadow under the walnut tree
the swing set my dad made when I was little, now perched on our farm

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
~John Lubbock

haybarn
2012 Hay Storage

It will not always be summer; build barns.
~Hesiod

tree house in the walnut tree

front porch
Jose, who owns the front porch
Old buddies Dylan Thomas and Bobbie
Samwise Gamgee at 18 weeks
Thistle making more thistle
Gravenstein windfalls
a few of a million blackberries on the farm
silver plum tree

Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.
~ Harper Lee in Too Kill a Mockingbird


‘Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
Thomas More

poplar row

in the filbert grove

Baldwin apple tree

Bartlett pear tree
heavy cone crop

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby

milking barn window
from the field
old milk barn
barn lane

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
~William Shakespeare

hydrangea

BriarCroft in Winter