Cousin Will Sends a Photograph of Haying – circa 1910

Before mechanical balers, a farmer needed to know how to build a wagon-load of free-thrown hay.

I saw this done a few times when I was a child, and it is a real skill.

In the poem, The Death of the Hired Man”, Robert Frost addresses this necessary art.

(In the poem’s dialogue between a farm wife and her husband, the farmer offers begrudging respect to the old and unreliable hired man):

“…that’s Silas’ one accomplishment.

He bundles every forkful in its place,

And tags and numbers it for future reference,

So he can find and easily dislodge it

In the unloading. Silas does that well.

He takes it out in bunches like big birds’ nests.

You never see him standing on the hay

He’s trying to lift, straining to lift himself….”

This postcard photograph was made at an unknown location sometime around 1910.

Cousin Will memorialized the hay-making of his uncle and cousin.

It does not seem that Will took part in this activity; he was shooting ground-hogs.

The postcard photograph was not mailed.


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