Good Old Days of Making Hay
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After the war, Dad and my uncle each got a buckrake (or "sweeprake") for their Ford tractors, and retired the hayloader. Those 12-foot-wide buckrakes could swiftly run down a windrow, gather a large load of hay and, without stopping, run it onto the barn floor, drop the teeth, back out from under the hay, and be off to the field for another load. That was even faster than the truck and hayloader.
The hay was stored in my uncle's barn where the dairy operation was located. It had a central barn floor with a large haymow on either side, framed with big, hand-hewn beams that were held together by wooden pegs. At one time, hay was hand-pitched from the wagon up into the mows where it had to be distributed and packed, again by hand. Sometime in the late '30s, the partners installed a mechanical hayfork in the barn. This device, powered by a horse or a tractor, lifted the loose hay from the wagon up into the mow, where it could be dumped in different locations as needed. Someone with a pitchfork was still needed in the mow, but the man-killing job of throwing the hay up was eliminated.
The job my neighbor did on the five acres of clover in five or six hours would probably have taken at least 10 times as many man-hours using the old horse and hand method. Those were the good old days.
Writing about the handstacks reminded me of a family story. In the summer of probably 1940 or '41, Dad decided to teach my mother to drive the car. One Sunday, after church and dinner, my mother, father, sister and I all piled into the family sedan, and dad drove to a hayfield that was dotted with small handstacks. Dad put Mom behind the wheel and, after stalling the engine several times, got her started across the field. Mom had no idea of what to do and started running over haystacks. My sister and I got frightened and began crying. Dad was yelling instructions and Mother, after tearing up several more handstacks, decided she'd had enough. Mom never did learn to drive a car. FC
Ever since his days as a buy on a farm in western Pennsylvania, Sam Moore has been interested in tractors, trucks and machinery. Now a resident of Salem, Ohio, he collects antique tractors, implements and related items.
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