Anne's Blog

Making Hay during an Umbria Summer

Date: August 2, 2018 - categories: , - Leave your thoughts

As you head up to Assisi in mid-summer,  you’ll note giant round bales of hay at rest between the rows of olive trees.

Around sunset, golden olive bales underscore the majestic beauty of the Basilica di San Francesco stretching out on the hill above.

I remember the days we farmed in the late 70’s and that teeth-gritting itch of the hay as we loaded the bales onto the tractor trailer. I remember helping the women with the cooking and all of us eating outside around noon, seeking patches of shade and cool (photo here, 1976):

….and then back to the haying. They were the smaller rectangular bales then, like the ones Peppe loads, still doing his haying on his own at over eighty.

Peppe, proud of his three thousand bales of hay

Peppe and Gentile before their stacked hay bales

Sometimes, the farmers without the money for a tractor trailer for the hauling of big bales, just bound much of the hay into sheaves, like Peppe and Mandina.

Here we are together in 1976:

Straw was not baled but forked into strawstacks and you can see one here behind Peppe and Mandina (photo, 1976):

….and in this photo of Chiarina and daughter Rossanna (1976 or 1977):

Visiting our farm friends today, you might see them forking hay to carry to their animals:

We don’t do the haying these days for our animals. When we farmed years ago, our hay was needed as winter fodder for our rabbits and sheep. But hay is still needed here – for our goats. They were climbing the fences as the rotoballe – round bales – arrived, noses poked out (already smelling their arriving lunch?)

This load of hay had been baled at Peppa’s farm (as our land insufficient for the appetites of over twenty goats)….

…and the tractor hauled it to us:

Late July and early August is haytime all over Italy. Do enjoy the rounded, rolled bales’ enhancements to Italy’s rural majesty:

Thanks to Emilie Nahon, our Belgian friend, for some of her round hay bale photos. Do enjoy her website, www.amorrremio.com

Click here for more on our rural friends

Read more here about Peppe and his hay feats

Read more about our life on the land

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