Make Hay While Sun Shines

These photos were taken for The Missourian’s Farm Page June 8, 1967.

Haymaking Time

The caption below the photo says that “it’s haymaking time in Cape county and on the John Below farm near Allenville, activity has been brisk. Throwing a heavy bale aboard a pickup truck are Terry Givens (foreground) and Johnny Below.”

Rain hasn’t been problem

The caption continues, “Cutting of 162 acres of hay on the farm started Sunday. Rain has not been a great problem, Mr. Below reported.”

Learned to “hunker”

I filled in as Farm Editor from time to time. It was there I learned how to “hunker,” something that served me well over the years. You “hunker” by planting your feet flat on the ground, then “sitting” so that your bottom almost touches the ground. With a little practice, it can be comfortable when you’re chewing the fat with a farmer. It helps if you have a weed to chew on while you’re hunkered.

Hunkering was a lot easier when I was younger and more flexible. De-hunkering has become much more difficult over the years.

I also learned that “Below” is pronounced more like Blue or Beelou in the area.

12 Replies to “Make Hay While Sun Shines”

  1. One summer in the early 1960s I helped by Gordonville cousins load hay bales onto a farm wagon for the trip to the barn. It was there I learned how sweet a jar of water can taste and how cool a slight breeze could feel while hunkering in the shade of a tree at the end of the field, waiting for the tractor to return with an empty wagon for another load.

  2. This city gal transplanted 33 years ago into the business of making hay & cattle raising, has seen hunkering, but never defined! Bill’s 7 nephews, long legged, were master hunkerers & great hay haulers, despite their rawboned lankiness. My boys could toss hay bales with the best of them too! Many years ago,despite my petite frame (at that time), my sis & I were the only hay haulers Bill had when rain threatened his hay crop behind our house. His nephews were on another hay job. My brother in law had a broken leg & he drove, Bill stacked (most important skill), my sister, her son & I picked up. She & I had to go 2 on 1 when the stack got too high to heave the bale up…but we got’er done! Kids learn to drive when they are too short to reach the pedals, one in the floorboard pushing the gas pedal with the other looking through the steering wheel & driving!!!
    Its impossible to find hay haulers any more…there are too many easier & better paid opportunities for young people now!!! We paid better than most & always kept them in ice water, fed them a meal, & after we got the pool, a shower & swimming! Hard work but builds stamina, muscle, & character! Rich is right on, nothing sweeter than a jar of water in the hayfield!

  3. Your pictures perfectly captured my memories of Cape as a child. Visiting our Vandivort family farms or just taking a car ride – passing farmers in the fields – that is the picture I most often return to in my head when I think of summer in Cape..

  4. Before bales, there were shocks and threshing machines which I remember. And the incredible lunches the farmer’s wives prepared for the threshing crews which they ate about 2PM on the farmer’s back porch at a long table. I am fortunate enough to remember that, too, especially the deep bowls of fried chicken passed around the lunch table. Never better food served anywhere!

  5. My dear Aunt Bessie, out Gravel Hill way (wide spot in the road on Rt.34 past Burfordville) included in her haymakers’ lunch home made buscuits with the ever-present croc of sorgum molasses. I always kept a taste for it, but my kids’ would turn up their noses. Going way back, sorghum was grown and made right on the farm.

  6. One of my first jobs was working in the barns for old man Hermann (that’s all we called him). He hired us high school kids for 75 cents an hour. Not bad for work in 1960 but the temperature in the barns could reach 130 degrees, that’s what I remember about that job. Later I worked a couple of summers with Mr Loos, Emily and Juanita’s Dad, at his farm in Jackson. When I went to college, I worked several summers on a hay hauling crew. Then I got into some money as a good crew could earn $30.00 a day for each member. We got 20 cents a bale divided 5 ways. One for each of the four man crew and a one part for the 1950 Ford truck we used. It was back-breaking sun up to sun down work. That old Ford truck was being passed from college crew to college crew as the crews graduated from school. That old truck may still be hauling hay in Central Missouri!
    Today I don’t see any more square bales, everything seems to be the large round bales. They don’t need the crews, just a tractor and a fork to pick up the bales.

  7. a long long time ago, I was having the time of my life hay balin with bunny keller smith and family out on cape rock drive. i only remember one unforgettable “incident” which could have been “accident” where bunny and I were riding on top of the stack of bales being hauled by a tractor driven by (can’t remember) and round the bend we went and all the bales leaning and leaning…well you can imagine how we hung on…and after a lifetime of hanging on finally rounded the curve. wow

  8. About the time the Missourian article above appeared, I was helping the relatives haul hay on the Siemers farm just west of I-55, south of route K. That’s the area where Wal-mart, Sam’s, Lowe’s, et al are now located. If I remember correctly we were paid fifteen cents a bale, but were well fed at mealtime. I don’t remember how I got involved – it was a one-time occurence, but we had fun working our ___ off. I’m sure that if it was something I had to do more than once I would not have enjoyed it near as much.

  9. Well,if any of you remember my husband Ronnie Seyer, he liked farming. We bought a small farm west of Jackson and also Oak Ridge. We baled many bales. My job was to rake the hay into rows. BUT my most important job was to bring the guys SUPPER. Our 4 boys and their friends were sure glad to see me come.You name it I brought it.Fried chicken, ham sandwiches, sloppy joes, ice cold sweet tea and cookes. They all said that was the best part about hauling hay. That was the good old days.

  10. when you come from a large farming family like my mom did you never hire anyone to help you just make the rounds from one uncles farm or cousin to the next, i learned to drive a tractor when i was ten, i was always a better driver for the baler then i was a cook. when it came time for meals, i was sent eith the tractor and a wagon to get the “eats” some of my friends thought it was “slave labor ” but thats how i learned to drive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *