Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sepia Saturday .. Haymaking 1947

My first Sepia Saturday was Haymaking In Taranaki in the 1930's.
This is haymaking in The Waikato in 1949.
The young man standing on the right is the grab handler.
It is Mo who was the little boy in the first photo.
His father is the stack maker standing on top and his brother Rex is driving the new tractor.

The family left Taranaki in 1947 and went to the Waikato
where there was a greater chance of 50/50 sharemilking and farm ownership.
Mother Hazel's family had arrived in Taranaki from Cornwall England in 1842
and leaving Taranaki meant leaving her sisters and her extended family.

Rex , driving the brand new tractor is sweeping the hay to the grab.
The hay has been turned to dry several times over a day or two depending on the weather.

Mo places the grab over the hay, then leads the horse..out of the picture, to pull the ropes and pulleys on the pole which lifts the grab full of hay up to his father on the top of the stack. He has to be careful not to knock his dad off the stack.
It was Dad's job to build a stack that would withstand wind, rain and sun.

Notice there are no neighbours helping now. The three men can manage to bring the hay in themselves. The tractor made a difference to haymaking. It would have seemed more important to take a photo of the new tractor than the poor old horse.
The family sharemilked for five years in the Waikato before buying their first farm at Tahuna in 1952.
So the shift to the Waikato was worthwhile. Both brothers Mo and Rex later became farm owners themselves as did younger brother Robert, who was aged 3 in 1947. the way. Little did Mo know his future wife was growing up on a farm, miles away on the Manukau Peninsula. That was me.

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  1. Hi Joan, Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.

    I have been living in Waiuku for the past 12years. Big bay and Matakawau are two of my favourite places. I love the Awhitu Peninsula, and all it has to offer.

    Enjoyed your blog very much.

  2. It's easy (especially if you live in rural England) to think of 'haymaking' as a peculiarly English event. Of course, we know that isn't so, and posts such as this one, underline the fact. I was fascinated by the way you led me, as a reader, through the process. Even more so, to discover that you were to win Mos' heart. Wonderful!

    By-the-way, my grandfather used to thatch haystacks to protect them from the weather. Did you do the same in New Zealand?

  3. The tractor was obviously close to the heart of the photographer! Great picture and story here...

  4. To think, Mo's family had just acquired a tractor in the mid-1940's. Isn't that amazing when you put it in the perspective of time? Not all that long ago, really. How much easier it made this chore of haymaking - not that is was at all easy work, even with a tractor. I love these sepia posts of yours and of Marilyns; your pictures, the sharing, the parallels I can draw to Tom's mother and family as they farmed in Ohio.

  5. i love this photo and the story.

  6. Very interesting post. I'm glad you and Mo got together.

  7. Interesting post to see the photo of the men at work and hear how the work was done. It looks like hot, dusty work!

  8. Really enjoy seeing old shots of people working in the fields. What was once the norm is now far removed from most lives.

  9. Fascinating! I have helped with haymaking, here in North Carolina (USA) back in the early 80's, working with mules pulling the mowing machine and hay rake.

    Hot and dusty, yes, but the smell of the new mown hay is one of the best in the world.

  10. Another wonderful photo Joan, I enjoy reading about Mo and his family and farm life. I can remember the last stack being made on the farm at Roto-o-rangi, I would have been very young.

  11. The fascinating thing about looking back is knowing what they didn't know. And little did they know that 63 years later people from all over the world would be hearing all about their hay-making exploits.

  12. Thank you all for wonderful comments ..I think I have returned the visit to all your wonderful sepia saturdays.

  13. I really wonder how they managed to make a stack that would stand up to the wind and rain etc. It seems virtually impossible without a shelter.

  14. Wow that is some stack of hay! Have never seen that only bales that get stored in barns and or in shelters. Interesting...