Tales from the haymow

| August 5, 2020

Reading David Marrison’s Coshocton County Ag & Natural Resources newsletter this week, particularly the section that he wrote for the Farm & Dairy paper with memories of making hay brought back my own fond memories of that summertime chore. It especially brought forth memories of my mom and dad at the farm.

Mom and Dad had a decent amount of acreage just outside of Roscoe off of State Route 541 where they – and I guess I could add us kids too – raised some pretty nice Black Angus cattle. Dad did his research before getting into the cattle business and had the benefit of talking to the most knowledgeable farmers in our community. Names like Mikesell and Porteus come to mind but there were many more that would be familiar to our readers. I imagine that advice came from Uncle Paul and Uncle Walter too. The Doughty boys knew a bit about farming.

He sought advice when they came into the boot shop on Main Street. I do recall dad saying that we wanted Black Angus because they were the best. The best beef and the cows made the best mothers. Our Black Angus had the short legs so as Dad said, “not very far for that calf to drop.” Or something like that. But there wasn’t a lot of pasture for making hay so that had to be done somewhere else. Two names come to mind where Dad made hay – one was Stocker and the other was Laughlin. I think. Dad would be on the hay wagon with his straw hat, white tee shirt, blue work pants – always tucked into his boots with the socks showing. If I could find the old hay hook that he used that would be a treasure.

Making hay for the Fortune Farm was an event like no other. It was almost like a family reunion – without the family. Dad would recruit the young guys that worked at the boot shop, some of their friends, the neighbor boys – these were some strapping young men that played football and basketball for River View back in the day. There were always plenty of young men to help.

I think the real reason they showed up to help on a hot July day was that mom kept them plied with homemade lemonade, sweet iced tea and a feast after the last U-Haul truck was unloaded that would put a Golden Corral buffet to shame. I kid you not. There was always plenty of food to go around. Desserts were more than sufficient – with pies, a cake here and there and always cookies. Lots of cookies. You caught the part about the U-Haul truck? Yep. That’s what we used to haul the bales from the hayfield to the barn.

For several of those years I was a bit too young to be of much help, but I got to participate and do the things that I could do. I made sure the bales stayed on the elevator and was responsible for getting those that fell off. Then I graduated to the haymow – that was hot, dusty work but like David said, enjoyable. There is just something special about the smell of freshly baled hay. In a future column I will write about building tunnels and forts in the hay. That was fun and Dad tolerated it. Let’s just say that he reminded us boys that we were trampling on food for cattle.


Category: Mark's Musings, Opinion

About the Author ()

I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; www.fortunes4advocare.com. I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.

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