One of the joyful memories of my youth was gathering the hay or more specifically, jumping down the hay. The job of cutting the grass was usually done by our oldest brother as the scythe could be a dangerous weapon if not used properly. See photo
Our land had a lot of rocks poking through the soil so you had to be careful when cutting the grass. Also, you had to know how to sharpen the sythe. We did use the sickle (photo below) but we were warned to be careful.
After the grass was cut, it had to be dried. This sometimes could take a few days depending on the weather. We would toss it with a pitch fork and rake it up with a rake. It would be baled or piled (there was a word that was used to describe a pile of hay) if there was rain in the forecast.
The fun part was when it was being tossed by pitch fork into the barn. Most barns had a second floor so the hay would be tossed in through a door on the second floor.
We younger children would take armfuls and take it to the back of the barn. As the pile grew higher, we would jump it down to make room for more. It was usually quite warm and the hay would get in every crevice of your body. It was extremely itchy.
After all the hay had been gathered and stored we would head to The Millbrook or The Landing Place Pond, for a swim, to wash off the hay particles.
We would talk about sleeping over in the hay loft but the fear of a fire was enough to stop us. Our parents told us that the hay would be very combustible. Well their words were..” that hay could catch on fire…”
It’s a fond but distant memory.