Monday, October 20

The Hay or our Youth

I often think, that when we are young, we are presented with breathtaking loveliness, but we push it to the back of our consciousness. Some part of us, on some level, notes it, but does not think any more about it.

Yet, years later, it can resurface in vivid clarity, to gladden our thoughts & inner eye. We see again, the bluest of blue skies, the ripe, browning, tall grass, rippling in summer breezes, ready for haymaking harvest.

That whole process, waiting until it was dry. Cutting the grass. The process of 'tedding', to ensure the grass was turned, & dried evenly, so it didn't rot or moulder.

Unhappy the farmer, whose hay got ruined by rain. Hence the saying, "Make hay while the sun shines".

The rush to get it all baled & into the shed, so no bad weather could destroy the farmer's winter stock of nice dry hay, to feed his stock, when the growth was low, & there was not enough grass to feed the stock.

The gangs that would work tirelessly, to get the harvest in, so that life in the continuum of farming could go on.

That wonderful smell of the hayshed, which our children & grandchildren will never know.

The sheer joy, of lying in the hayshed, on the wonderful warm, redolent, scratchy, bales of hay. Even the smell of the baling twine catching an aromatic note in the nose. That wonderful scent that spoke of Summer, for years to come.

Watching the motes of dust in the sunlight from the open hayshed door, where the sun streams through. Or the closed hayshed door, in the cracks, as you snuggled with a young love, secure & happy in each other's arms. Such innocent, young, pleasure in each other's company. Dreaming dreams of where our futures might lie.

On a trip back to the town of our growing years, my Beloved Brother & I, where we spent most of our childhood.

We returned to visit the cottage of our childhood, our Grandparents', house, & were saddened somehow, to see the fields of green grass, the fields of gold, had all gone. The lopsided trees that had grown to the wind, on neighbouring farms, the falling down, lichen encrusted fence posts, with rusting number 8 wire, all gone.

The cottage was undergoing renovations. A young couple had bought it, because it was sound, & was built of very good timber. It looked very small & insignificant. All the land surrounding, has now gone to new housing. There are no fields left for us to visit, of our dreams & memories .

The huge Feijoa hedge, grown for refuge from the screaming neighbours, over the road, all gone.

Our Grandmother's beautiful oldfashioned Cabbage Rose, gone. The perfume of that rose was intoxicating! The lovely blooms as large as dinnerplates, the shade of pink I have never seen again.

The fruit from the hedge gave us many a night of dessert delight. The strange green fruit, that tasted of fruit salad.

The fruit trees of our youth, Nectarine, Peach, Tamarillo, all have gone, the wonderful garden now houses a huge 2 storied house.In the spot where once our chooks roosted, & were happy to lay their eggs!

I wonder if there are happy vibes left from those happy chooks.

I wonder if the happy childhood pranks & thoughts of my brother & I have somehow remained in that space?

Of course, our hay bale memories will remain our secret. There are no such old fashioned hay bales, or sheds now. The huge rolls of hay are the fashion now. They can be seen dotting the rural landscape, covered in huge plastic covers. Is this really progress?

I know the reality of manpower, & twine, & haysheds are lessened. All of the machinery ~"International Harvester" Hay Baling machines. What became of those, I wonder? Are they now in some museum? Making modern generations giggle at their primitive design?

Those huge supplies of twine, which became dyed green for some reason? I wonder what became of those? What use is twine today? I can still hear the curses as the 'cutter' for the twine around the bales, malfunctioned!

I hate to think of the plastic though. The loss of jobs. The life that was "Haymaking Time". The wonderful sense of community that the local farmers had, when they all 'mucked in together' to share HayMaking.

"Silver Threads Among the Gold", I have no idea who sung this, but I remember it from my childhood!


Pearl said...

It can be hard & sad going back, can't it. I think it's best to stay with just your memorys.
My Mum once told me to never go back, & I found out she was right.
Just try to remember the good times.

ancient one said...

In our neighborhood, some people still prefer the square bales.. as does my husband.. We have to buy hay as we have no land to grow it..

Which reminds me of the trailer load of hay that burned just a little way from home ... a bale must have been against the caught fire and was blazing away when my husband noticed it... he was able to get the trailer unhooked from his truck... but all the hay and the wooden trailer burned... we had to buy hay twice that year and also buy a new trailer...

The goats can get underneath the hay barn and that's where many of them go to get out of the rain...thus our hay barn doesn't smell too sweet...LOL

That barn was first as potato barn and it was built high off the ground and had burners underneath to cure the sweet the odors underneath make their way into the barn the same way the heat made its way up to cure the potatoes..

I think a couple of the grandsons have played in the hay barn... but the girls will not go near it..LOL

Pauline said...

Ah meggie, I'm sorry your return to your childhood haunts was not as happy as mine are. Much has changed in my old neighborhood but a lot of the farmland is still there and if I am silent while I walk through it, I can hear my much younger self laughing and singing and talking to all the living things I encountered.

The Sagittarian said...

I made the mistake of going back to see the house where my Nana lived and where we had most of our Christmases as children. Now instead of remembering it teh way it was, I see the new people's clothes in the line, the new deck makes it harder to recall "as it was".

teodo said...

Meggie memories are beautiful but it's really better not return to the places that saw we happy.......

ciao ciao

Strider said...

Your post brought back fond memories. Thanks.

Emma said...

Mmm, I enjoyed climbing the hay bales right to the roof of the shed. I never participated in hay making, but I had a school friend who lived on a dairy farm, so many happy farm memories :)

Henri said...

Meggie , Smoking in the Hay Shed/ Barn too !!Along with snogging . I almost always managed to find a great big Scotch Thistle full of monster prickles in any bale I chose to sit or lie on ! Thinking back its amazing we never burned the sheds down , HaHa
I dream of the wonderful fruit of our youth too -- Golden Queen peaches ,apples, strawberries , wineberries ,blackberries , mandarins , chinese gooseberries ( kiwifruit) , tree tomatoes ( tamarillos) and the absolutely incomparable fruit from the nectarine tree we had ( I think Goldmine ? )
How about John McCormack singing Silver Threads Among The Gold ?
Good one Meggie

Lucy said...

What a lovely, though sad, piece of writing!

My mum used to sing that 'silver threads' song...

Strider said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have an e-mail address, but what I usually do is if someone wants to discuss something privately, just leave it in the comments section with a "do not post" request. I have to approve everything, so I won't post the comment. Thanks again.

Dawn said...

Dreaming dreams.....I just love that! Your whole post was so very descriptive and lovely.

Finn said...

Hi Meggie, I'm popping back in with more hugs *VBS* What a lovely post you have written. The tone is wistful, and brings to mind the blue flowers of the forget-me-not.
So much has passed and faded into memory with no present trace of having been there. At times my sadness is that of this whole generation of youngsters who will never know the joys of our simple country life.
I like to think in terms of a non linear existance, where everything exists at the same time but in separate planes. I have found that measuring things, like time and how much space a thing occupies are man made, and not necessarily correct.
Maybe we have to keep digging deep into the memories as part of sustaining ourselves in this current situation. I would love to have seen the farms hayfields that you speak of. Sending lots of hugs, Finn

the mother of this lot said...

My dad grew up in the country and used to tell me wonderful stories about haymaking!

He used to get all wistful as well!

Christine Thresh said...

"Gone to houses now..."
Oh, so sad.
You really can't go home again except in that sweet secret place of memory.

Ragged Roses said...

It's good to hear that you have your memories I am sure they will always be with you. I too remember lying in a field watching the motes of dust in the sunlight, thanks for reminding me

Ian Lidster said...

When I was 14 I spent the summer on my great uncle's farm. I remember haying time like yesterday. Brutally hard work, but I loved it. I got to drive the tractor, too.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Well written, Meggie! Memories are good for the soul. Today is tomorrow's memory, too!

bluemountainsmary said...

I think this is one of the most beautiful posts you have ever written ..