Hay making always happens in summer, but it is rarely a leisurely process. Several days are needed to ensure that the grass is dry enough to be cut, raked and baled. In our area, there is always the worry that it will rain before the hay is safely under cover. The whole family was often involved in the final part of this process. The younger members of the family rolled the hay into rows, whilst those strong enough to lift the bales helped Dad load them, first onto the trailer, then into the hay shed. It was a hot, sticky, prickly and exhausting process, especially near the top of the stacks under the corrugated iron roof! As it wasn’t uncommon to see a dead snake caught up in a hay bale, we could easily see the reason for wearing gumboots or work boots. Next day we were tired and stiff, with sore hands where the baling twine had rubbed through our gloves and scratches from the hay on our arms and legs. Some of the hay was used for our own animals, but most was sold. For quite a few years, Dad offered hay rides at the school fete. He attached sides to the farm trailer to make it safer.
Horse-drawn implements were still used when I was a very young child. Unfortunately, my only memory of our two draught horses is, I suspect, from the day they were loaded up on a truck after they were replaced with a tractor and sold! Horse riding may have been part of our ancestors lives, but it was not possible for us, except for the few times we undertook the very long steep walk up to the top of John’s Hill to visit our Great Uncle Harold Ferres. He had enlisted in the Light Horse in 1915 and still had a horse that he gave us rides on.
6 thoughts on “Memories of a rural childhood – H is for hay and horses”
Maureen, you paint in a short post such an evocative picture of your rural childhood – I am enjoying following it.
Thanks Susan, I am enjoying your posts too!
City girl here. My friend around the corner loved horses, and her family got her one. For a while, they had a stable in the garage, and the horse was let out in the fenced backyard. Eventually he moved to a horse farm in the country where my friend would go to ride him.
Visiting from AtoZ
Wendy at Jollett Etc.
It would be a major challenge to feed a horse in a backyard!
Have to admit I didn’t know much about the hay process… until just now. Thanks.
Glad to help in your education, Jill