Haymaking time

I’m fascinated by haymaking. Gathering the hay symbolizes many different things to me. “Making hay” is also a metaphor for many other things in life, including economic vitality and even success.

Years ago, someone that worked with me, who also happened to be a farmer on the side, was telling me about hay and weather—mainly that you needed three successive days of sunshine and dry weather to cure, or preserve the hay for storage. Cutting your hay and then, having it rained on for several days robs it of much of its nutrient value and limits its capacity to provide nutrients to a farmer’s animals.

Haymaking, like life, is more art than science. While science is important for many things, much of life is really about “feel” and intuition as much as it’s about pure science. Farmers all have different ideas and theories about when the best time is to make hay. They also have some rules that are rooted in science, while always keeping an eye on the weather, which is more fickle. Here are some specifics about haymaking science.

I live in a place that still has considerable amounts of land that are hayed every summer (usually in late June/early July). My bike rides around my community and surrounding towns allow me to see haymaking taking place. It never fails to remind me of the never-ending cycles that correspond to our four seasons, and I also recognize that for a farmer, you have to “make hay while the sun is shining.”

Maybe life lived helps move us from mere self-absorption towards having just a wee bit of wisdom. I know that I’m much more aware now than I used to be about the need to “make hay” in my life while there’s still a haymaking window.

Are you making hay while the sun is still shining?