A fine day to work

imageRoxbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

It’s that time of the summer when farmers are cutting, raking and baling hay for the coming fall and winter. It was a beautiful day spent driving around the countryside nearby; I’m fortunate that I don’t have to go far  for images like this.

As a small kid growing up in rural Indiana I spent several weeks each summer on a farm. It was a wonderful experience for me, and must have been a nice break for my parents to have me out from under foot. While at the time I was too small to be asked to do any heavy work, I spent long hours riding on a tractor and saw the men work hard all day. The bales would be ejected out the back of the baling machine and have to be picked up and tossed onto a flatbed wagon where they were carefully stacked for the trip back to the barn. There they were lifted and tossed into the hayloft where they were carefully stacked again. It was hard, exhausting,hot work that often went on into the night, but it had to be done so that the  dairy cows could eat through the winter.

To me as a kid it seemed a pretty great way do go through life. I know better now. Farming is a backbreaking, dangerous way to make a living. If you aren’t in it on an industrial scale you will rarely get rich, and even if you do a couple of bad years can bankrupt you. For all it’s bucolic glamor I don’t know why people continue to do it, but thank God they do.

This Labor Day take a moment to say thank you to a farmer. It’s a dirty, hard, job. We owe them our gratitude.

Panasonic Lumix G3 with Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens.  Processed in Nik Snapseed with my iPad Air.

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