Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sepia Saturday..Hay Making In Taranaki, NZ..

I read Marilyn's lovely post for Sepia Saturday and have unashamedly followed her example!!

This is a favourite old photo from Mo's family album..
lunchtime during haymaking in the mid 1930's.
The little boy in the background, with his sunhat on is Mo,
(look at the way he is gazing in admiration at the men, his heroes)
and the man front right is his father Leslie Browning.

Mo's mother, Hazel would have cooked the food on the coal range.
I imagine Hazel has taken the photo.

The woman in the background, wearing her sunhat and apron,
is Aunty Myrtle. She and Hazel and Mo have carried the lunch out to the men
who will be glad of a rest from their labours.
The other men are neighbours come to help.
The men would move from farm to farm bringing in the hay,
sometimes taking weeks to finish depending on the weather.

In the bucket was cold homemade lemon and barley drink.
There would be scones and tea, pies and sandwiches.

Out of sight of course are the beautiful horses that pulled the machinery.

I have memories of haymaking on our family farm.
I remember arriving home on the school bus and running
across a paddock of newly cut grass , the blunt stalks stinging my bare feet,
to join the afternoon tea.

Hours in the blazing New Zealand sun, no such thing as sun block.
No wonder these farmers in later years suffered skin cancers.
But in my memories, haymaking was a time of togetherness and picnics and fun along with the hard work.

I know my son Steve will have his own memories of haymaking with his Dad and Ross, neighbours, friends and cousins, on our farm at Te Pahu.

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  1. Wonderful photo J and beautiful memories. Like you, I have beautiful memories of hay making too - maybe I will save my stories for another Sepia Saturday.

  2. It isn't what you would call haymaking season or weather is it M? What fun though. Do you know in our family I think I'm the archivist too. I'm the one that saved Grandad's art .. but wasn't around to save the bible. Boo hoo!

  3. Hi Joan, What lovely memories. The people in the photo look so happy. If only they could have imagined that all these years later it would be shared all around the world. I'm sure it would have astounded them! Jane xx

  4. What lovely memories. I grew up in Taranaki, not on a farm although I spent time on farms and if I close my eyes for a moment, I can still smell the hay. What good fortune to grow up so close to the land.

  5. Thanks for following Marilyn into Sepia Saturday, I have a feeling that both your contributions are going to add a good deal to our little project. There is something about sharing memories, isn't there - somehow it enhances them.

  6. What wonderful memories to share, Joan. That collective spirit of farmers across all lands that gather the harvest and go from farm to farm to help each other. You have reminded me of a recipe I should find that came from Tom's great aunt for a meatloaf. Not an usual recipe in its ingredients, but, in its name and size. Meatloaf for the threshers. The men who come from the other farms to do the threshing. The women, of course, equally busy preparing their noonday meal. I have a feeling your sepia post will be evoking memories in many.

  7. Beautiful memories. Despite the hard labor, everyone looks happy and contented.

  8. Beautiful photo and memories. I don't know much about haymaking!

  9. Not just an interesting photo because of the content, but how they are grouped. A very comfortable setting.

  10. I witnessed a threshing once on a relative's farm in Illinois in the 1940's. There was a wonderful meal and afterwards we children jumped into big piles of wheat or oats (?) in the barn. I've heard later that this is a dangerous thing to do as it's possible to drown. I don't know if this is true or not. Your photo has such a wonderfully neighborly feel to it.

  11. P.S. I see that you have a link to "Life imitates doodles" Are you a zentangle fan, too. I'm completely addicted. I keep in touch with Molossus on Flickr.

  12. We used to make hay and though it was hot, sweaty, exhausting work, the smell was worth it. One could almost get drunk on it.

  13. Wonderful memories, thanks for sharing them. The work of harvesting hay or any crops in those days was very hard and long indeed. It took a community to complete, and everyone labored through their respective chores, then helped out in the field in what ways were needed.

  14. there is an old saying, "make hay while the sunshines" & I guess they did. Wonder if they just followed that meal with lying back on the dirt and relaxing and digesting or if they got right up and at 'em again. Had never heard of lemon with barley drink it still made and served???

  15. they look happy, despite the hard work. i like this sense of community, people sticking with each others and helping.

    lemon and barley?
    do you know the recipe?

  16. Though they must have been tired from the work, they look very relaxed at their lunch. If you hadn't told the background to the photo, I would have guessed they were having a picnic. How good that someone thought to preserve that moment in time.