Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Way Of Life

A farmer from town is up the road from me haying the big field. They usually do it early/mid July but the rain has kept them from it. There are usually two or three of them going at it, but this year there is only one old guy and lots of equipment.

They bring in their old tractors to get the job done. Some of these tractors date back at least 50 years but they still seem to be serviceable.

The top one, which is gray is a Ford.

This little red one is a Farmall Cub. They were famous for killing farmers by tipping over... but that is pretty much true of all old tractors. It was a pretty rough life, and still is . Just this spring a farmer in NH was killed by his tractor tipping over on him.

This other little red one is an International.

The green and yellow one is, of course, a John Deere hauling the tetter behind it. The tetter is used to fluff up the hay so it can dry thoroughly, otherwise your barn will go up in flames once the wet hay heats up. I tried to confirm this (tetters) on Wikipedia but they have nothing on hay harvest and one big article on hay balers. So I am going on memory from what a farm girl told me once. I wouldn't repeat this information unless you want to be laughed at.

The big yellow monster is a Massey Ferguson. They are the biggest manufacturer of tractors in the world! Who knew?

This is the farmer on his tractor. I have been waving to him each morning I see him, but I waited till his back was turned to take the photo. I wonder how I would feel if someone snuck into my place of employment to take a photo of me at work.

He probably doesn't think of himself as a piece of history but as an integral part of our economy, which he is. Nevertheless, as a way of making a living, I am afraid it is dying. All these local farmers have recently asked if they can forego on paying for the right to hay your field. The price of fuel has been eating into their livelihood.

I like watching them do this work. It somehow feels noble. But I know for a fact it is just hot, dirty, itchy work. As a young girl I had to help a cousin turn a field of hay by hand- with rakes. The little stubbles of hay find their way into your shirt and poke and scratch you relentlessly.

I suppose they don't have to deal with telemarketers on their office phone though.


LYC said...

I think there may be at least the comfort of doing things for yourself without those interruptions you spoke of in your own work and mine. Maybe it's different being answerable to yourself and the land primarily and not having to put on the service smile as we often have to. There's different stresses for each of us, but I wonder if simpler is happier, even if it's not easier.

SMC said...

Ah yes, simpler and easier are not neccessarily the same thing.

Michelle said...

I remember watching haying in Maine, relatives owned farms. I feel like it is a conection to the past in some way.

Nickie said...

Thanks for stopping by on my old blog, I added you to my blog roll on the new improved one :)