Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Remember Whensday--2

This is hay turning 1940-50 style! First it was cut into swathes by the horsedrawn mower, in June, left to dry, hopefully in the sun, for a few days then turned over for the underside to dry. That was the plan, at least, but in Scotland you seldom get a run of good drying days and often the hay was turned only for the rain to come on and the process had to be repeated, often several times! Here we see the hay being turned by hand--well with a fork! All of us children who were old enough to hold the tool were drafted in for this task, even my grandad, to the left, helped out.

Only after it was completely dry was it collected into heaps with a sweep then built into ricks and left to dry further, till it was carted into the yard to be built into even bigger stacks. This was before we had the use of a baler.

It was after the ricks had been built that we went on holiday , for a few days at first, then eventually, after my father decided that holidays weren't so bad, we had a fortnight away camping in the Highlands or West Coast.

This is "camp" on one of the first holidays. We had a big wooden box, tied by a piece of thick rope to the door of the boot, which opened downwards, filled with all the provisions and home baking to keep us fed. We three children were squashed into the back seat alongside all the bedding and clothes. Jack, the youngest, I seem to remember sat on a tin biscuit box! Mother took her pinny and there were always boiled potatoes for dinner, cooked on the little primus, of course, there was a container of paraffin and a bottle of methylated spirits to get the thing mattress or beds, just the hard ground, but eventually we had lilos..oh. the sheer luxury! Mother sewed sleeping bags out of woollen army blankets, which weighed a ton! There were no seats of any form.

This was another year, different car, but dad still sporting his holiday gear--voluminous tweed trousers with the strong gallowses (braces) well to the fore and no bonnet, well, not unless it became colder or rained, which it did fairly often. The first tent belonged to Grandad and was of uncertain age and with a tendency to leak but then one year, father splashed out and we had a new one from the Army Surplus Store. It had a fly sheet------and a veranda---so much more room when the rain was on! The drawback was it weighed a lot and was bulky, especially when wet, and took up a lot of precious room. The tents were always strapped on to the car between the front mudguards and the engine, one either side.
After one particularly wet holiday dad bought a caravan and then we were cruising (as they say)!
For more reminiscences from others, and to join in,click here.
P.S. For the record, here was the order of stages in haymaking (in Central Scotland, at least)
Mowing, drying, turning, sweeping, rick/cole building (in the field), drying, carting in to stackyard to be hoisted up, bundle by bundle with the grab on the very tall (seemed like 100 feet high to me then!)"hay fork"to form huge stacks and finally, eaten overwinter by the stock.
I wish we had taken photos of all these stages but just didn't think about it then!
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Anonymous said...

I must be much older than you, Anne, or our local farmers must have been behind the times, because my first memories of haymaking involved dragging the coles, using a horse and a rope, placing the rope round the first cole, standing on the rope behind the cole and starting the horse, then picking up a second cole which involved manoeuvring the horse into the correct alignment and inserting the second cole ahead of the first. It was a great disappointment to me when sweeps came in - not nearly so much fun!

Chris said...

Wonderful memories. Camping was not for the faint hearted in those days, can't see children these days sticking it

Gaelyn said...

This is an excellent story and memory. The haying looks like a lot of work. The camping maybe a fun reward for it. Yet also a lot of work moving all the heavy gear.

Jenn Jilks said...

What great memories and photos.

Sally in WA said...

Wow, this is a great post. The haying sure was a lot of work back then, especially dealing with rain. I think the camping holiday was a just reward!

Thanks for playing this week!

Pyatshaw said...

Sweeps were used to sweep the hay into heaps before the coles (or ricks) were built. Then the horse was used to pull the rope from the pulley which pulled the rick(cole) up on to the cart for transport to the stackyard. I know, because I used to lead the horse that did the work, although she probably could have done it herself!
Names depend on where you live.

Bird said...

Fantastic post - the haymaking looks like hard work. I'd love to have a go (I'm strange like that - I like a bit of hard work!). And hasn't camping changed? Its so luxurious now! We go camping every year and are amazed at some of the stuff people take with them. We have no car so it has to be minimal kit - just what we can carry on our backs, but it's still very comfy.

With the big tent and the whole family it must have been a real expedition, so exciting for you kids. Brilliant memories, I bet.