A Little Twig from Ladonia (My Family Tree)
By Mary Katherine James Dowell -- 1987
Provided by Glenn Ann Dowell Hunt
Harvest Time -- (1 of 2)
In the olden days, when I was a child, the farmer was a lot like an ant. He got ready for winter. A good farmer had his crops all "laid by" the fourth of July and was ready to devote the months of July and August to cutting wood for winter fuel and baling hay so the cows and mules would have an ample supply of feed to see them through the winter. Daddy and Missouri's boy would hitch up the teams to the wagons and away to the pasture and wood lot they would go. They would fell the trees and trim all the limbs off and bring the poles to the house and cut it up in stove lengths. Everyone had a wood pile. It was hard work but alot of fun also. They would carry their lunch in a tin bucket with holes punched in the lid so air could get in. They would always have a big brush pile and it was set afire and burned. We sure did not worry about the cost of fuel.
After they had cut and hauled enough wood for Missouri and us to use during the winter months the hay baling would start. They would cut and bale all the meadows around home and then they would start on the creek bottoms and fence rows around home. The baler was stationary and it took about eight men to get the job done. One mule was hitched to a pole on the baler and the mule went around and around and this kept the baler in motion. This operated the plunger. The hay was brought up to the baler on a buck rack and then pitched in a hopper, by the men with a pitchfork. A plunger went back and forth and the hay was gradually pushed out the back. A man sat on each side at the back of the baler. One pushed the wire in and the other tied the wire. Thus, the finished bale was pushed out and it began all over again.
The women would cook all morning and then they would take the fool to the hay field for the noon meal. Fried chicken, cakes, pies and fresh vegetables from the garden. All the work would stop for about an hour and there would be a regular picnic.
When Daddy bought the first baler run by gasoline, I don't know who was the prouder of it, Daddy or "the hands" who worked for him.
One of the men who worked for Daddy at hay baling time was a black man. He was blind. His name was Buddy Brannon. He would stand for hours by the side of the baler with a pitchfork and scratch the hay so it would be easier for the other men to get the hay on their pitch forks and put on the "table". From there it was put in the baler to be pressed into a bale.
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Her mother's book provided to us by:
Glenn Ann Dowell Hunt