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Article Comments
Comments for Haying Before Tractors
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Jim Handy wrote on Friday, June 30, 2000 (PDT):
  • Neat story - a few years younger than you but as a kid got in on putting up hay with horses. We didn't stack it but put it up in the hay mow loose - pulled it up with a hay fork. Hard work on a hot day but I can still smell the hay.
    Roy C. Wolf wrote on Saturday, July 01, 2000 (PDT):
  • Your story on haying before tractors is very interesting. I was born in 1931 which makes me somewhat younger than you, but I drove a team of horses here in the midwest putting up loose hay. We had a platform on the hayrack that was half the length of the rack. It was called a "one-man rack loader". When the back half was loaded it was rolled forward and rear was then loaded. That way we had a hayrack load of loose hay. We stradled the winrow with the wagon and a hayload pulled behind the wagon moved the hay upward and on the the hayrack. I drove the team and Lincoln Schell the man I worked for load. When we went to the barn a grapple hayfork was stuck in the hay and we pulled the hau up into the barn's haymow. Lincoln stuck the fork, his father lead the horse pulling the hay rope,fork,and hay up into the haymow, and I mowed away the looae hay after a trip road released the hay from the hayfork...very neat but hot and tiersome work here in the humid midwest. We put up alfalfa for the milk cows, clover for the beef cattle, and timothy for the horses....bailing, tracors, and other machines put an end to the old loose hay routine...I taught school 31 years here in the rural areas of Illinois and give the credit to the upbringing on a farm that allowed me to develop the work ethics that helped me be a classroom teacher for 16 years and an elementary principal for 15; I retired in 1989 and now devote my spare time to history, geology, geography, and travel....I love the west and lived in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana at one time...however, I have travel in and around Wyoming and like that state, tool. rcw
    Ralph wrote on Sunday, July 02, 2000 (PDT):
  • Good article, brings back memories of a past we can be proud of. Iam much younger than Owen but remember as a kid stacking hay much the way he describes. In our area the type of stacker he describes we called an overshot. I was driving stacker team once and went to far and that made a mess of that stacker. We also used the "Dane" stacker which was much more elaborate but did the same thing as the overshot. I will e-mail Owen a picture that has been in our family for many years, in fact it was taken off an old tin type negative just this past year. If I had the knowledge I would try to poast it on the net. Ralph
    Scott Battersby wrote on Sunday, July 02, 2000 (PDT):
  • I am much younger than you folks, but having grown up on my Grandparent's farm since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I can definitely relate to this; not to say that I ever did it like that before. I know Grandpa has, however, and I know he will enjoy this article very much. He has told me many times of doing hay in this fashion, and I believe that, although a very dirty, time consuming job, this is the way things should still be done. Things now are just too complicated..
    Greg Ballantyne wrote on Sunday, July 09, 2000 (PDT):
  • Pleasure to read your story, Owen. I'll be glad to listen to you "air off" anytime!
    Elliott Domans wrote on Monday, July 10, 2000 (PDT):
  • THANKS Owen for a look into the farming of the past ! Obviously, yesterday's farming methods changed dramastically with the advent of the gas tractor. It's REFRESHING to get a first hand experience from one who was there and farmed the old fashioned way !
    Roger Bennett wrote on Sunday, July 16, 2000 (PDT):
  • I was wondering if any body in Wyoming or Montana still uses a "Beaver-slide stacker"?These were a tall ramp -like apparatus which was staked down where a stack was desired and the hay was slid up with a buck rake like sled pulled up by ropes by horses.
    William A. Davis wrote on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 (PDT):
  • Been there, Done that
    R. Strong wrote on Thursday, June 14, 2001 (PDT):
  • Great article, and glad I found it. We may very well have a photograph of the type of equipment Owen is looking for. Found in the old barn, it has intrigued me for some time and though I may be donating it to my grandfathers museum in the Ashland, KS it might be nice to learn more about it. Our property used to be a working dairy farm from the late 1800's. Digital photos available after 6/15/01.
    David A Asson wrote on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 (PDT):
  • I have written a new book called Bringing In The Hay which may be of interest and will answer some of your questions. It is a 124 page, nostalgic history of the hay-stacking era before balers. Over 300 color and black and white pictures illustrate the text. The book took over seven years of research and travel to complete. It has received excellent reviews by University Presses and Historical Societies. I am self publishing the book and just beginning to market it. A major section of the book deals with the multitude of stackers (derricks, sliders, swingers) used by ranchers to put up hay in out of doors stacks throughout western and mid-western states. Complete details about my book can be found at my website www.doubletreeadvantage.com.
    Angela Naegle wrote on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 (PDT):
  • This summer my two teenage daughters helped with haying at the Dick Noble ranch near Cora, Wyoming, and had the time of their lives! They drove tractors to make "winrows," and my husband drove the "crazy-rake." Then the real ranchers (not us city folk) drove the "plunger" to push the hay up a "slide" and into a "crib," where someone would be standing to arrange the hay. Very scenic--all those cribs piled high with hay, with the Wind River range in the background!
    RJ Fly wrote on Monday, November 17, 2003 (PST):
  • I was born in 49' and remeber my dad, uncle and granpa puttingup hay with an overshot stacker. They used tractor powered buckrakes to bring the hay to the stacker and a tractor to pull the hay up. When I started haying at age 8 we were using a JF #5 sickle bar mower a Farmhand dump rake and a Farmhand F10 loader. In the winter we fed out of the stacks with a team and either a haywagon or a sled. Started square baling in 1963. My brother now round bales and uses a feeder in the winter.
    Mike McCormick wrote on Saturday, March 05, 2005 (PST):
  • I grew up on a farm in Western Nebraska and have been looking for pictures of representative hayfields for the 30's, 40's, and 50's. We put up hay with an overshot haystacker up into the late 50's. We used Model A "Sweeps" to gather the hay and bring it in to the stacker. We also used "dump rakes". At an early age, probably when I was six or seven we were still using a horse to pull the stacker to deliver the hay on the stack. There were usually at least five or six in our family involved in putting up hay. We put up prairie hay, alfalfa, and some sorghum forage up for hay.
    Donald Budlong wrote on Sunday, July 17, 2005 (PDT):
  • I spent many hot summer days driving a buck rake, from 10 yrs of age to about 15, my father driving the team on the overshot stacker and a hired man stacking the hay. I would like to have pictures of buck rakes, overshot stackers for a neighbor who is an artist, so he could paint a picture of that for me. I live in northern Iowa in the house I was born in in 1928.
    Jesse Suttles wrote on Thursday, November 16, 2006 (PST):
  • I am looking for information and pictures of a horse drawn "Bull Rake" It was used to make hay stakes. Can any one give any help?? Thanks Jesse

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