The old farmer’s adage is,
“Make hay while the sun is shining.”
The meaning has morphed over the years but originates with a few essential agricultural factors. Let’s take a look and then bring them into the modern day.
Hay is food fuel for livestock. All farms had to be self-sufficient back in the old days. Your livestock plowed the fields, made milk, laid eggs, and provided fertilizer in a continuous cycle. The hay was fuel for the livestock, and storing hay kept your animals alive throughout the winter.
Hay needs to be stored dry. The phrase “while the sun is shining” indicates that the weather conditions would allow the hay to store properly, dry, and unspoiled. If there is too much moisture, the hay will be unusable and could even spoil other hay stored in the barn.
There was an immediacy to the harvest work.
“While the sun is shining” also indicates that the conditions will change at the whim of the weather, so you worked until the task was done.
I can remember as a kid packing peaches, meaning washing, grading, and putting into boxes from the field, from 8 am-9 pm. It simply had to be done for the order and before the peaches went soft. It didn’t matter if we were tired or didn’t feel like it. We had to pack the peaches.
The lessons today are a bit different but rooted in the original idea.
Hay took lots of time. Busy lives we fill with activities, but so few activities create fuel, and storing the hay did for the family. I’d submit that the time we spend together is the fuel that builds bonds within our families.
We’ve all had experiences that, without purpose and intent, took a lot of time together but didn’t create any ‘fuel.’ Riding around in the car from this practice to that concert to another PTO event to work and back eats up a lot of time but can be frazzling, not rejuvenating.
Immediacy. Looking around the farm during this beautiful week of sun, leaves, apples, and pumpkins reminds me that “All we have is today.”
I have to pause, stop my racing thoughts, and look around! We are blessed to live in the countryside but miss it so often with our busyness-blinders.
My son is coming home from college for the break, and I’m thrilled to see him. My wife and I purposefully slowed down during his senior year to soak up each special moment. During his final year at home, we took the immediacy of his departure seriously and made sure to enjoy all we could.
Until it’s done. Fall temperatures dropped on us in about 4 hours last Saturday. Summer’s fleeting warmth has gone, and Fall is here for sure. We will be working until every pumpkin and apple is picked by you or our team. We’ll be cooking, baking, and freezing cider slushies right until the end; until the work is done.
All you have to do is visit and enjoy. Your experience is the most important crop we harvest each year.
What will you make of this harvest season? Only four more weekends of harvest remain.
You are invited to visit and store up memories that will fuel your family long into the winter months, and this week, the sun is shining.
See you soon on the farm,
PS Can you count to 100,000?! That’s how many pumpkins are hidden in our patch under the leafy green vines. Come find your favorite!