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Haying Time

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

This cool, dry, sunny weather is perfect for haying, and our neighbor farmer cut our fields yesterday.  He did this with the help of several large machines and the village librarian (could I ask for more than to live in a place where the librarian hays my field?). It was done quickly and efficiently–no fat peasants snoozing under trees at midday–and today the red-tailed hawk spent the morning circling above the field, whistling at his luck. 

I shooed Bisou away from a mouse, neatly sliced in half by the mower, that she found on the driveway.  Haying is not a vegetarian operation, and those big, fast machines wreak much havoc among the small, furry and defenceless.  Gone are the days when Robert Burns had the leisure to apologize to a field mouse \”for turning her up in her nest with his plough.\”  But every year, when the big machines rumble up our driveway, I call to mind Burns\’s expression of regrets:

I\’m truly sorry man\’s dominion
Has broken Nature\’s social union,
An\’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An\’ fellow mortal!

In this post-solstice season, after the warmest twelve months on record, we would do well to remember that we are earth born companions and fellow mortals of even the lowest, most timorous beastie, that our fates hang together, and that we should do all in our power to preserve \”Nature\’s social union.\”
On a more cheerful note, driving down Route 30 yesterday I saw a man mowing the verge…with a pair of Belgians.  Is there anything more gorgeous, majestic and at the same time strangely cuddly than those honey-colored giants with their blond manes and tails?

I\’m sure the horse-drawn mower had sharp blades, but I hope it was slow enough to give the wee sleekit beasties time, if not to save their nests, at least to save their skins. 

5 Responses

  1. I love this.My husband's cousin has married a farmer. They hayed a month ago and the animals are already eating it….it's not a good year.

  2. I read this and I remember hay-making as a late summer activity on our farm. I must write about it. But then as I read on, I can't get past the image of two tall blonde Belgians, chattering away to each other in French (or Flemish), and wearing pantaloons and berets, and jaunty little red and white scarves at their throats. (Yes I know you meant the cows. And I've just googled them – I don't think I've ever seen them here. They look like muscle-bound, steroid-taking bovine body builders.)

  3. Bridgett, we're surrounded by farmers here, and continually wonder at their ability to survive. I did hear a bit of good news recently: last year, for the first time in many decades, the number of family farms in the US had increased instead of decreased.

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