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HAY-MAKING.

117

the other hand, it should happen to be propitiously fine after much showery weather.

Shaking-out is generally performed by the women and children of the village. Any one can see that the regular method in which the

grass has been laid by the mowers makes this employment regular and easy. The same plan is adopted. One takes the first row, and the second follows on the next, and so on. Now, we would not thank any one to work, even for nothing, who should conclude that the grass may be tossed about with the fork, as a cow might do it with her horns. If we have not sufficient confidence in the day to shake it fairly out, we order the swaths, which, perhaps, have lain already a day, to be just turned over, without much disturbing the mass as it grew together. If otherwise, the separation of the swath must

be complete. We do not allow lumps of grass to be thrown about, portions of ground to remain uncovered, and so on; but the entangled knots must be fairly parted on the fork, the grass must be evenly spread, and the party are to work in neighbouring rows until the whole be completed.

I must not be too long in the hay-field; and therefore proceed more briefly in my account of the business. The next thing to be done, after the grass has had the best part of the day's sun, is to put it again into forms, called wind-rows. Wooden rakes, or the hay-forks, are used for this purpose. It is then not so much exposed to the dews of the night; and, by lying in a sort of ridge, light and hollow, admits of the wind passing through it, which has nearly a similar effect with the sun, in drying the herb.

HAY-MAKING.

119

A little knowledge and experience are required to enable persons to judge when the grass has lain long enough, and had a sufficient exposure to the sun and air. In very hot burning weather, one day will make it into hay; but this seldom happens. Generally the wind-rows have to be raked into small heaps, called cocks, several times, if not against rain, at least as a protection from the dews of the night. Haymakers never commence this part of their work until about eight o'clock in the morning, in order to allow previous time for the dews to evaporate. Should the weather continue good, in three or four days the hay is made and ready for carting. Carts, with large ladders before and behind, or waggons, are drawn into the field. Strong men are now employed to pitch and load : that is, to thrust

up

bundles of the hay on long-handled

forks, whilst others in the vehicle receive it at their hands, and dispose it so as to ride well in a large mass. So much, indeed, will they cram in, and lay on, that the load seems as large as a considerable stack, almost concealing the shaft-horse, whilst it moves slowly along the mead.

Stacking the hay, is another operation which requires knowledge and practice. A spot is generally selected for this purpose, which lies high and dry. A foundation is first laid of bushes, faggots, or logs, formed into a square of about the size required for the supposed quantity. When the load comes up, one man stands to receive and deposit the hay on this foundation, whilst another delivers it from the cart. If care be not taken in stacking, the hay will be laid in curly bundles and irregular knots, which will not cut and bind well; but

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