Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – It’s Hay Cutting Time

It’s hay cutting time in the Southern Highlands of Appalachia-how about where you live?


p.s. If you want to read about how they cut hay when Pap was a boy-click here.

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    For the last week that is all they have been doing around here.

  • Reply
    Kent Lockman
    June 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Until recently, the hay wasn’t dry enough to cut because of the excessive spring rain. Just this last week the farmers got out and cut, raked, and baled/rolled their first cutting. Love the smell of newly cut hay and the fields look so cool with raked stripes of different greens.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Most everyone’s first cutting has been baled and put up. Except for a field or two that I’m beginning to wonder if they are gonna cut and bale.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2011 at 6:06 am

    In Greece and Cyprus, the harvest of wheat with the sickle and the threshing of the leghold traps is now a sweet memory of bygone times cherished mostly by older farmers.
    Things have changed dramatically since the new farmers have at their disposal the most modern machinery and equipment for the harvest and, generally, for land cultivation.
    Harvesting-threshing wheat was a painful process that lasted from mid-June to about the fifteenth of August. For this reason, the months of June and July are called “Reaper” and “Alonaris”(harvester) respectively. Nearly all of the family members including children aged twelve to thirteen took part in the harvest of wheat – approximately 50-60 acres for every family.

  • Reply
    Sandy Sarafian
    June 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    It’s that time in KY too. Got to work for the winter. My brother is busy!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

    We have a hay field that looks so much like your photograph. Only the shape of the mountains in the background would tell them apart.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    June 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    We made hay with a team of mules for several years — put it in haystacks. Hard work but what a wonderful smell!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Tipper, we’re in the hay big time now. I wrote about it on my blog on Tues. May 31, 2011. Your mountainous background looks much like ours. Beautiful!!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I know I passed by that very place Tuesday….I think? ha
    There was one place (cold inside place) where they haven’t started cuttin the hay yet…but was mowing the premisis by a little mustached, short man in a pair of overalls..a hat and a kerchief..with a nice smile….
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Mary Jane Plemons
    June 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    My Daddy used to bale hay with a square baler, back in the fifties. He had rigged a sled behind the baler to stack the bales on, and ever so often, when it filled up, they would stop and push the bales off, already stacked, for the haulers to load on an old flatbed truck. One day, he was driving the “Poppin’ Johnny”, his loud John Deere tractor, (plus he was deaf in one ear) and he didn’t hear the teenaged boy on the sled yelling. He looked back to see him running over the crest of the hill and jumping in the stock tank (pond). It seems the tractor, then the baler, and finally, the sled ran over a bumblebee nest in the ground, and they boiled out in time to get the boy on the sled! He ducked under water and escaped some of them, but not all. He also got to cool off from the 100 degree-plus-heat.
    Nowadays, most people put up round bales here in central Texas, but there are still some square bales made. The big round bales weigh 1200 to 1600 pounds, but the square…really retangular…bales are more like 30 to 60 pounds. Everyone is baling now, and the hayfields are so pretty. Wheat is also being combined now.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    June 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    They made hay in the field next to us earlier in the week. We were so wet, and now we’re so dry, and it was a dusty mess when they were working it. The bales are gone now, taken to another farm for winter feeding.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    June 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Not quite yet here in my corner of the world, Tipper. I was thinking the other day, one of my childhood neighbor still cut with a team of horses and stacked the hay, others used the small bales and hired local boys to help. Now you rarely see anything but the giant bales.
    Sort of sad that those things are being eaten up by “progress and efficiency”

  • Reply
    June 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Our first cutting of hay (alfalfa) is finished, and second cutting will be upon us before we know it! Love the pictures of those round bales! Our field are much smaller around here…

  • Reply
    June 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Yesterday evening I could see and
    hear hay cutting in the big fields
    on the back side of my garden. I
    love the smell of fresh cut hay and a newly turned garden. You can
    never forget those spring smells
    here in the mountains where the air has been cleared and the tree leaves cleaned with a gentle rain. I can relate to John Denver’s ‘Thank God, I’m a Country Boy’…Ken

  • Reply
    Sherie Rowe
    June 3, 2011 at 10:22 am

    My favorite time…aaaccchhhooo! Cough, cough, wiping eyes! I always know allergy season is almost over for me when I start seeing those nice,new bales!

  • Reply
    canned quilter
    June 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Not quite yet here in North Missouri but soon : )

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    June 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Tipper, My neighbor and I help each other put up our hay these days. We have round baled hay for the past 2 days and starting again this morning at 11 AM.When I was a boy my father’s cousins and uncles cut and raked hay with a team . Hauled the hay on a sled and made haystacks like Pap mentioned for storage . We didn’t have a hay barn. I remember the men carried my granny’s kitchen table out under the shade tree early and she cooked on a wood stove. I can remember her coming out of the kitchen red as a fire engine from the heat and wondering how she stood the heat in that long sleeved dress. That was in the late 40’s and early 50’s . Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    June 3, 2011 at 8:46 am

    It’s that time here too. Wish the man that has my pasture leased would hurry and get it cut in front of my house. Way overdue!!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I just saw a freshly cut field yesterday, just love it and love your picture too.

  • Reply
    June 3, 2011 at 8:32 am

    no hay cutting here that i know of, since we live in a city. but we did find 2 ring neck snakes and a black racer this week, or at leas Jake did

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    June 3, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Yes sir, you can see those big, round bails around everywhere. I haven’t seen them in a while, but saw a field full of the square bails on the way to Norris Lake.
    When the round ones are lined up, it reminds me of taking my kids hay bail hopping, or when we would roll them together and play king on the mountain. Do kids still play that game?
    There’s nothing prettier than a fresh cut field full of hay bails.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 3, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Hey Tipper, I was driving down State road 9 from Black Mountain to Lake Lure day before yesterday. Lake Lure was where they shot most of the movie Dirty Dancing.
    A friend was with me who recently moved here from Southern California. We passed many fields of cut and baled hay, just like your picture.
    My friend kept commenting how beautiful those fields of cut hay were. He didn’t understand the process thinking that the bales had been put there for the animals to feed on. He was surprised when I explained that they had just been cut and baled. He was surprised and said that he had never seen anything like that. Where he comes from it’s all desert.
    Sometimes I drive by an don’t even notice the new cut hay. For a moment I have forgotten what a beautiful place we live. That’s why we call it God’s Country!

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    June 3, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Massive rolls of hay are being put up… hot temps , no rain. so they “gotta make hay when the sun shines.” I can remember waaay back when in neighborhoods, everyone helped each other. It was the small rect. size bail and the farmer would hire a bunch of teenagers to load that hay and then to unload in the barn. The lady of the house always, always furnished a hearty sit-down dinner (not lunch) that rolled Christmas, Thanksgivng and Easter all into one…talk about a groaning table. No one went away hungry. Some of the women had help to prepare the feast, where other’s did not. Times have changed . Out culture is vanishing as I live and breathe. Now, it mostly the big bales operatons with no help needed. More efficient I gather, but it’s another loss of the puzzle regarding culutre and friendships that were struck up back in the old days – of course, back in the old day, they all knew each other, went to church with each other, distantly related to each other. Now that all the Northerns are moving in, there’s an absence of a hand being waved when we meet them on the coutry roads — -much less sitting at a communial table partaking of good country cooking and perhcanc “scounting out” the available young ladies available for “courtin'” by the young lads who had just “helped put up hay” for a small amount of money (paid by the day back then)but did have good benefits — the FOOD — and usually the horseplay and fellowshop among the workers. Plus it was the moral thing to do: help you neighbor to get his hay up — and he would , without thinining a second thought, help you get yours up. If the ole Widower Woman Richards didn’t have anybody to help her – despite those boys of hers who took off to Iowa, well then they would help her to …and more …and most importantly — never expect a dime in return for helping those less foruntate, whether it be to life circumsances, mother nature, broke-down bailers -which happened ALL THE TIME, etc. Tons of memories.

  • Reply
    June 3, 2011 at 4:21 am

    Yeap! It’s that time around her too!!
    Love the photo!! 🙂

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