The farming year goes through the same stages every year, and one of the most exhausting is haymaking. These days we have tractors and balers to help, but I remember when it was all done by hand, and we needed lots of help to cut and gather in the hay so that our sheep and cows could be fed over the winter.
The poet John Clare describes haymaking beautifully in his sonnet – but for us it means long days and lots of work!
Tis haytime & the red complexioned sun Was scarcely up ere blackbirds had begun Along the meadow hedges here & there To sing loud songs to the sweet smelling air Where breath of flowers & grass & happy cow Fling oer ones senses streams of fragrance now While in some pleasant nook the swain & maid Lean oer their rakes & loiter in the shade Or bend a minute oer the bridge & throw Crumbs in their leisure to the fish below ---Hark at that happy shout---& song between Tis pleasures birthday in her meadow scene What joy seems half so rich from pleasure won As the loud laugh of maidens in the sun.
John Clare (1793-1864).