Greetings from Land’s End in Nova Scotia!
It has been a very busy summer and I haven’t had much time for writing. The weather gave us fog, dreary clouds, drizzle and intermitent sunshine for most of June, July and August. In other words it was lousy weather for making hay the way we do here in Short Beach, for the most part.
The first week of June was great. There was sun and northwest winds. RexÂ seeing Bill getting out the work harness tried to slip away to the back pasture. Bill and Rex understand each other so very well! Each eyes the other. Rex walks around grazing and sleepy eyed like he isn’t noticing Bill has varied from his normal chores and is sharpening the knives on the mowing machine. Bill continues preparing the mower for mowing and ignores Rex. It is a waiting game.Â Rex times it perfectly starting his exit just as Bill is about to go get him to work! Bill scurries with bridle in hand and catches Rex, who had now increased his slow paceÂ to a fast walk. Reluctant but obedient and resigned to his fate Rex follows Bill back to the barn led by bridle and reins.
Bill lays the harness over the horse’s back and fastens the belly strap. On goes the horse collar and hanes to hold it in place. He hooks the whiffle tree with chains to the mowing machineÂ Bill boards the mower and sets comfortably on the iron seat for the hundredethÂ or more time in his life. HeÂ urges Rex forward with ” Get Up!” and continues Â around the front of our house to the hay field.
Lining up at the edge of the field he lowers the cutting blade with knives. Our field is sloped so Rex mows down in one direction. He gets an effortless walk back to the top of the field. Down the field and back, clickty clack! I love the sound of the mower as it falls the hay in neat rows. Bill only mows a half dozen swaths at a time as it is all he can turn by hand. Bill lets Rex rest under the Chestnut tree after a couple of trips . The crop is heavy and it is a hard pull. Bill sometimes has to stop and dislodge hay caught in the mower.
Rex having done is part is happy to be out of harness, wiped down and returned to the pasture to graze and have a cool drink in the brook. Bill is watching the sky. The weather forecaster promised a nice week of sun and north west winds. It would promise to be the only good haying week until late August!
Bill got his hay fork and returned to the field to start the laborous task of spreading the mowed hay out so it can start drying. The next three days he turned the hay three times a day until it was finally dry enough to put in the barn. RakingÂ hay with a hay rake into long winrows is time consuming. He then hooks his hay cart to his lawn tractor and starts raking the hay in piles and forking it on the cart. He used to use a horse for this alsoÂ untilÂ he was given a lawn tractor from his Dad.
Molly our farm dog does her part also. As Bill loads the hay she jumps on the cart and stows it down.She rides every load back to the barn . As Bill lifts the loose hay with a pitcher fork to the mow; MollyÂ stows the hay in the mow and rides the empty cart back to the field. She loves her job and continues until all the first cutting is in the mow of the barn.
The next day Bill and Rex mowed the rest of the field and the whole process was repeated. However the changing windÂ meant Â there wouldn’tÂ beÂ many more sunny days.Â The wind was swinging to the southwest indicating rain. [To be con’t.}