Of Farms and Fables combines the efforts of professional and non-professional artists by engaging artists in farm work and farm workers in storytelling and acting. The result will be an original performance in October of 2011 which will engage performers and audience in dialogue about local agriculture, farming, and the future of small family farms in Maine.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hay! Photos! (Claire)

As Keith and I get into the day of work at Benson farm, this becomes abundantly clear. It was supposed to be clear by now- a repeat of yesterday when he cut his second cutting of hay for the year.
With the slight haze in the sky the morning dew won't burn off until later than he would like, and they might not get it in by the end of the day- and it wouldn't be so bad, but this is good hay.
As we finish feeding the cows, you can feel everyone's haying related tension building.
We come to realize that we are witnessing one of farming's biggest crapshoots: betting against the weather and the clock that you can mow, dry and bale up huge fields of hay and not get rained on. Ryan, the herdsman, doesn't seem too phased- It'll all work out in the end, but it would be a shame to not get the hay in today- it's really good hay.
Ryan's faith pays off, and we spend the day cleaning up the hay barn, getting balers and tractors greased and ready, and finally taking in some very, very good hay. (Ryan says, "this will be like crack for the cows.")
I could narrate this all for you, but I think I'll let some of the photos I took that day tell you about it instead. Enjoy!

Cleaning out the barn to make room for the new hay-

getting the hay elevator down from the barn

Keith and I rode out to the hay fields in the hay cart. It was sort of like
riding in a really rickety roller coaster. Now we know what suspension does.

Balers are maybe the coolest piece of farm equipment I've ever seen. Not only
do they collect and tie up the hay for you, they also have a little catapult built
in that flings the hay bale into the hay cart!

A few for the glossary:
Hay Mow: A small section of the hay barn. ie: "We'll put the old hay in the second and third mows and clean out the first."
Winrow: Name for a long line of dried hay in the field. Balers drive next to them, pick them up and tie them into bales.