A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


Haying season is upon us.  I took a ride north on the South Meadow Road last evening and saw some of the fields down there already mowed and harvested.  The owners may be trying to get two crops of hay on those fields, but all we ever had on the farm was one crop. Of course, haying then was not as quick or as clean as it now with all of the new machinery and easier ways to store the bales for winter.

The hay in Perry, I believe, is stored for dairy cattle and riding horses.  Although there may be some around, I am seeing fewer signs of working teams of horses than I did in the past. Here on the farm at one time we had two teams of horses for woods and garden work and fourteen cows to milk. All of this was before my time and when Grandpa’s family was living here.  My uncle said he had to milk those fourteen cows and from the tone of his voice I am not sure it was a chore he enjoyed. He probably did not enjoy haying either, but all of those animals had to be fed all winter.

We had a large mow on the south side of the barn and a higher smaller mow on the north side. Straight ahead of the door was a very small mow that held the straw for the animals’ bedding. Grandpa’s animals required a lot of work for their winters and all of it was done by hand and horses.  No one on this farm had a tractor until my father bought a new Farmall in 1955. That tractor changed how the chores were done and although they still had to be done, it seemed we could get them done faster.  No more were we throwing hay by the pitchfork on the hayrack.  We hired someone with a bailer and then picked up the bales with a tractor and farm wagon.  

I learned to drive the tractor as soon as we brought it home. Because it worked without an accelerator, I could be trusted to go the speed the tractor was set on. My father set the speed and I left it there. I did have a problem with the clutch though and when I drove the tractor to pick up the bales, I would jerk the tractor and the bales would fall off the back of the farm wagon. My father and uncle did not mind putting the bales on the wagon once, but they were not happy with loading them two or three times.  (I still have that same problem with machine clutches because I always jerk the lawn mower when I start it.)

By the time we had the tractor we no longer had any cows to keep. (My father said that I did not start drinking milk until we sold the cows.) My uncle had a team of horses and I had my cow pony, Cindy.  We did not need as much hay, but we still had to mow all of the fields because we did not want to let them grow with bushes and trees.

Before my time, haying was an all-family chore.  Even the girls of the family who were excused from milking and barn chores had to help with the haying.  I am sure some of the older readers will have fond memories of this farm work in the heat. These were good times, but everyone worked hard for food and heat and shelter, both for the humans and the animals.


 This week’s recipe is a quick and easy recipe for pineapple drop cookies, another great snack for a picnic.

Pineapple Drop Cookies


One-half cup brown sugar

One-half cup white sugar

One-half cup melted shortening

One-half cup drained crushed pineapple

One beaten egg

Two cups flour

Pinch of salt

One teaspoon baking soda

One teaspoon vanilla

One-half cup walnuts optional


Method:  Mix ingredients in order until everything is combined. Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for twelve minutes.