Michael McDonnell | Making Hay | New Norway, Alberta, Canada
Making Hay
In the fall, farmers make hay. Modern farmers have machinery to automate the process, but many small and hobby farmers still make hay the hard way. My parents have a hobby farm and they make hay in September using an antique tractor and bailer.
Three or four people are needed for the job. One to drive the tractor (and fix the bailer as it breaks down repeatedly), one or two to collect bails of hay and load them into a truck, and one to drive the truck. The work is hardest for those who have to load the bails which can weigh in between 50 and 100 lbs depending on how wet it is, but the drivers have to inhale a lot of dust and fibre from the hay. Everyone making has allergy symptoms by the end of the day.
While my parents are farmers, I'm a hitech city boy. I got married in 2002, and I though the girl I married was like me; turns out she's a farm girl at heart. In September 2003 she volunteered us to help my parent's make hay. She thought it would be fun... "making hay" sounds pretty good... couldn't be that bad.
I decided I'd drive the truck, take pictures, and let my wife do the hard work of slinging the bails. I didn't get off that easy, but I did get some great pictures that day. This picture is a self-portrait taken in the mirror of our hay-hauling truck.
It is my hope that in future years, when hay-making season comes along I just have to show my wife some of the other pictures and the memories of the grueling work will come flooding and back and she will decide not to volunteer us again. Sadly, she REALLY IS a farm-girl at heart and I suspect I'll be out there bailing hay year after year.
06 2004
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