Friday, June 10, 2011

Haying

{In Which I Judge You by Your Hayloft}














Early June means one thing in the greater Amwell Valley: haying. P. and I are finally earning our keep by helping my mom and dad bring in the hay, which is a laborious process requiring Transformeresque monstrosities of John Deere equipment, a streak of hot, dry weather, and the uttering of hail marys while driving seven tons of hay down tiny country roads. P. was a rock-star and raked hay into the straightest, neatest windrows anyone's ever seen, and my petite mom, as usual, tossed the bales onto the hay elevator like she was merely flipping crumpets. No big deal. 

Farming is not my family's livelihood, but it's a big part of our lives. My parents grow, cut, rake, bale, deliver and stack timothy hay for many of the surrounding horse farms, and it's always fun to show up to these beautiful old barns (some of them dating back to the Revolutionary War) and see the innards of the haylofts. Not just for the glorious dose of Americana, but also because I am an evil judger of messy haylofts. Just as one can judge a woman by the organizational state of her purse, one can judge a farmer by the state of his or her layloft. No matter how robust your picking garden, no matter how well-muscled your Herefords, I know you, truly, when I see the inside of your hayloft.  Heaps of ancient loose hay, stalagmites of bat guano, complex solar systems of cobwebs and mold spores- these are the barnly equivalents of a purse full of old receipts, gum wrappers, and several almost-empty lipbalms. And if you just gulped guiltily because I described perfectly what the entrails of your purse look like, don't worry; you'd be amazed how messy most haylofts are. Your secret's safe with me, o farmers of Amwell Valley. You shall, for the time being, remain anonymous.

Pics all shot on my iPhone using ToyCamera; one can't exactly load hay bales whilst lugging around a bulky SLR. Have a great weekend, kittens!

16 comments:

  1. I've really had no choice of late but to tote tissues. And all of these old New Yorker magazines. I might need something to READ. On the TRAIN. This Gorilla Glue is just practical. And these cough-drop wrappers? They are VERY PRETTY. And once housed COUGH DROPS.

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  2. Amanda- no is judging you. 'Cept me.

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  3. You have my number, big time. If I could just commit to one lip balm I am sure I could start finishing them off, but that seems sooo hard.

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  4. this looks like fun. great shots mr phone!

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  5. I love finding inspiration like this on blogs, simply stunning!

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  6. ahhaa. I am totally cleaning out my handbag RIGHT NOW!

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  7. Nice chunk of land dear folks. And Timothy hay for the horses, oh, those fat grass bellies of summer. Our families ranchland is mowed in August, only once, and the barn is meticulous with the round bales, that is of course, until the wee cousins hide out in the night to play amongst the high piles and scatter a mess about for the mornings discovery. Bad children, bad, bad! Lovely windrows. And barns. Oh, the smell of the barns. Old leather, new hay, sweat.

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  8. i grew up helping with the haying at a nearby farm owned by family friends every june. even as little kids we were expected to be able to chuck the hay bales off the trailer like the grown-ups. and when we finally tired, we would go off and spend hours jumping from the top of the hayloft into the soft hay below. those are wonderful memories of learning the meaning of hard work, trying to keep up with the big people. thanks for bringing back those memories with your great post! happy june.

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  9. This and your other NJ posts are bringing back some great memories of Hunterdon County farming. One of the best days last summer was the day my dad sent a text message saying, "81 tons of hay!"

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  10. My neighbor growing up was a single mom stuck in a wheelchair (her legs had been amputated below the knees.) She always had a beautiful, perfect hayloft and I remember fondly hours of playing and hiding on the very tippy-top. If she could keep such a perfect thing, there are no excuses.

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  11. i love haying. i do something about it, perhaps the physical exhaustion that allows for deep nights sleep, perhaps it is not being able to avoid the sun the heat the scratches that remind me off how vital this once was and still is for farmers the year before last i and one other person hayed and baled and stacked and re-stacked eighty acres of hay from wee hours of the morning to late and night for three days straight i never felt so alive ( and dead:)), i remember it so well and even crave it. we have hundred now and have put in add for someone to help us hay it since we do not have the equipment, dreaming that someone answers that call so i can hay my own, my very own.

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  12. Hey you! Keep away from my purse!!!It's amazing, the more I try to keep it organised the more it has a mind of it's own...I guess it's the same with barns-(yes, but do they have sketchbooks of three different sizes...just in case?)-haha-xx

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  13. these pictures capture GVF sooooo magically! i love them and i love you and this inspired me to pull out my toy camera again! xoxo

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  14. Oh god. If we can extrapolate from purses, my theoretical hayloft is overly large, poorly organized and full of random items.

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  15. Um, so that is exactly what my purse looks like, especially the receipts part! Uh oh. I guess my hayloft would probably be messy too. Good thing I don't have one!

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  16. this looks so lovely. can i come help?

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