Summertime - and the livin; is easy. NOT!!

Dawn of a summer morning looks serene and quiet.  Compared to a spring morning with the cacophony of bird song, there is actually little sound to reach the ears.  But, under-laying that surface quiet is the energy bursting from the sun – a different kind of ‘noise’ if you will. 

In high summer, the most fierce energy is the relentless, burning sun.  Thunderstorms which would cool us a bit, if violently so, seem not strong enough to push themselves against the power of the sun.  Even pernicious weeds in fencerows wilt against this intense sun energy. 

Local farmers have labored in 100 degree heat to cut and bale hay for winter use.  Two tractors with sun burned men chug back and forth across the field cutting, drying, windrowing the hay for three searing, hot days before it’s ready to roll up into bales.  A lot of energy in man power, sweat and tractor fuel are flung against the face of the summer sun

A well-known summer resident is the Red Tailed Hawk.  They literally ‘make hay while the sun shines’ in these suddenly scraped fields.  Mice, quail and rabbits have lived safely under cover of the tall hay until now.  It must seem like a war zone.  Hawks dive and strafe the field like fighter bombers.  Mice and rabbits flee in panic to safety under my porch only to find another danger – the teeth and paws of my twelve pound terrier. 

Gershwin wrote “Summertime – and the livin’ is easy”.  Well --- not always or for everybody.


Making Hay While the Sun Shines

I’m not an authentic country girl.  I grew up in a big city of concrete, asphalt and brick.  But – I think I should have been born a country girl.  That’s where my heart lies. 

The farmers around my summer home are working in the worst kind of summer heat cutting and baling hay.  The hotter the sun, the better for putting up hay.  One evening, just before predicted 3 rain free days, I saw his tractor going back and forth across the field cutting hay after dark by the headlights of the tractor.  Twice the next day, he came with a rake and turned over the fresh cut hay to make it dry and cure.  Third day, he was out again doing the same thing.  By evening, he had his baler going.  It rolls along behind the tractor appearing to do nothing.  Then, suddenly, it opens it’s big mouth and spits out a big round bale of hay that goes bouncing across the field to a stop.  Later, they'll line up these big balls along a fence line out of the way of the second cutting in fall.   

Squadrons of Barn Swallows escort me as I mow the field in the early evening with my own little tractor and mower.  I like that analogy.  It makes me think of scenes from old black & white war movies.  All I can see are their flittering silhouettes against the fading summer sky.  They appear from nowhere after my first pass of the field.  Their aerobatics are quite remarkable.  They dive and swoop after dislodged bugs in steep patterns too extreme for even the most accomplished air show pilot.

This field takes almost an hour for me to mow.  By the time I’ve made a dozen passes, I see some swallows sitting on the elec. line, preening and resting.  I suppose they’ve had their fill.  Others are still following me across the field.  The supply of bugs and the supply of swallows apparently is neatly matched. 

Back and forth, across and down I mow over and over and over again.  Somehow, it seems almost meditative.  Not boring at all.- like following a knitting pattern.  Knit 2, Purl 2 around and around. 

Normally I don’t consider myself a patient person.  Waiting for an upcoming trip, waiting in a grocery store line, or for a very long stoplight makes me fume.  But, the kind of patience needed for mowing a field or knitting a sock is strangely comforting.  Why is that?  How is it different?