I suppose one could say that we had ourselves a hay day, or more likely two or three amazingly hot and humid hay days, one right after the other, all in what seemed like an unbelievably unending row.

First, Greg cut the hay with the sickle bar attached to the little red tractor.

Up and down the field in the blistering sun he rode, making pass after pass. The 1957 tractor ran like a champ. The sickle bar cut through the standing hay neatly, and Greg kept his eyes on the shaded side of the field, running perhaps just a wee bit slower as he savored the
shadows.

I worked, cleaning up the greenhouse, the windows and roof panels opened as far open as they would go, and still the temperature gauge read a feverish 110 degrees.

Every now and then I would step outside into the creek alley air and marvel at how cool the almost 90 degrees felt. It occurred to me that everything really is quite relative. My skin felt almost cold in the ever so light breeze that ran up the creek valley. That was our first hay day.

The second day, Greg raked the hay into long windrows. It seemed to be drying slowly in the humidity that hung solidly in the creek valley air. I set out the last of my marigold starts beside the dog runs and in front of the little cabin, now turned guest house, that we had called home for the past 10 years.

I did laundry and hung it to dry on the front porch of our log home, and when Greg came up from raking, we decided to call it a day and put our feet up to simply sit still and watch the laundry dry.

The third day, Greg raked the hay back the other way and we exclaimed that it was starting to dry nicely.

By the end of the day, it was ready to bale. We hooked up the ancient hay wagon to the old blue tractor, that is really quite new by our standards, dating to only 1966. We drove around the field, piling the hay on the wagon. It soon became my job to stay up on the wagon as Greg hefted the bales up for my geometric stacking. Yes, there is an art to stacking bales. Bits of hay clung to my wet arms and somehow even made their way down the front of my shirt to tickle my belly.

I looked at Greg. He was glistening in the evening air. I have no doubt that I was also glistening. Two hundred and one square bales loaded, and we smiled at each other, quite tired. Our jeans and shirts looked as though we had just climbed out of the creek.

There was not a dry spot anywhere on our bodies.

We decided to leave the hay on the wagon for now and use the round baler to bale our second hay field, where the hay still lay in windrows. Without a doubt, round bales are so much easier.

So, our hay days are not quite finished, but as we walked up the hill to the house, the day beginning to darken, I wondered at the expression “hay day.” I thought that it had something to do with being jolly, and even though I felt as though we had truly accomplished something, I was not feeling jolly or joyful in the least.

I was hot, and tired, and covered with hay-prickly sweat.

We sat on the front porch, as still as the evening air, and I got out my phone to look up this expression “hay day.”

Spell check quickly corrected my words and changed them into “heyday,” and I learned that heyday has absolutely nothing to do with our endeavors of the past several days. Heyday comes from an ancient Germanic word, “heida,” that meant “hurrah!”, and is now defined as that time in life when one is the most vigorous and prosperous.

Without a doubt, I did feel amazingly tired, but on second thought, with 201 square bales of hay under cover and our whole second field still to round bale, I was indeed feeling a bit prosperous, and I knew that after a shower and a good night’s sleep, my vigor would surely return.

Perhaps these past few days had been our heyday, after all.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.