Autumn Memories

As a girl, haying season always marked the beginning of Autumn.

I grew up in the mountains. My parents own 55 acres of beautiful fields and forest. We had horses and would go trail-riding often in the summer months, and we'd use them for packing out our animals for hunting in the winter.

When I nine years old my dad bought some equipment and started cutting our own hay. When you have six horses and open pastures, why not cut your own? It saved us a bunch of money, and it kind of became a family hobby.

Every year in late August, my dad would start the haying process. First, he'd cut all the fields with our mower and spread the hay out to dry. If it didn't rain we would bail a couple days later. If it did rain, we'd have to flip the hay and start the drying process over again.

Once the hay was dry, my dad would rake the hay into rows using another piece of machinery, and then bail the hay. When the hay was bailed and sitting in long rows of hundreds of bails - usually around six hundred - the whole family would spend an entire weekend or two picking up hay bales and stacking them in our barn.

My dad moving a round bail.

It was hard work, and not very fun while you were doing it. But I have so many good memories associated with that time of the year. Pushing hay bails toward the truck with my brother and sister so my mom and dad could stack them in the back. Sitting on the hay bails and taking a water break. Using some free moments to go exploring in the willow bushes.

We used to climb on top of the stack of bails in the back of the truck and ride the short distance to the barn, then push the bails off the truck so we could start to stack them. My sister and I used to name the bails and give them personalities as we stacked to make the work less tedious.

Sometimes we'd take some candy corn and apple cider breaks, and my mom usually made some really delicious dinner for those nights - like this crock-pot, barbecue roast that was always a family favorite.

But my favorite smell was the sweet smell of the cut hay - there's nothing quite like that smell.

Over the years things have changed. When I was in college I was gone so much during the week and had homework on the weekends, so I didn't get to help as much. When I got married my dad finally bought a round bailer, and a machine to pick the round bails up, so we no longer had hundreds of square bails to stack. There's not really a way to help with haying anymore, because it can all be accomplished with the new equipment my dad bought. I rather miss those old days of haying season now.

But there will always be that wonderful smell. I was reminded of that recently.

My dad recently bailed the hay for this year, and when Derek and I arrived at my parent's house on a Sunday afternoon, I could smell the cut hay on the air. All those wonderful memories came rushing back, and even more so when I stepped into the house and inhaled the scent of our barbecue roast dinner, and saw the candy corn and apple cider ready to go.

Me and our dog, Ralphie.

My mom suggested Derek and I take the Mule for a ride through the freshly mowed fields. The Mule is kind of like a much tougher, ranch version of a golf cart. Derek and I did get out the Mule and we spent some time driving through the fields in the sunshine.

We parked the Mule near the river and removed our shoes so we could wade to the other side. Then we took off across the fields barefoot, did some exploring through the willow bushes, and just breathed in the sweet scent of early fall from my childhood. The green in the leaves was just starting to lose its vibrancy, and soon we'd be seeing those beautiful fall colors.

It was a beautiful day, a time to relive old memories and make new ones with my husband.

Autumn has officially arrived in our corner of the world.

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LeAnna said...

I loved growing up on a farm, too! We have a Mule, affectionately known as Muller or Muley. Q loves to ride on it, and we make quite a site driving it around with our big dog wedged in between the three of us. Good memories! Summer is still here for us, and will be for quite some time. Can't wait for it to start cooling off!

Unknown said...

I love the smell of cut hay too. One of the things I love about the hay bales is when they are in the fields. I love driving past fields and seeing them in the fields, it reminds me of autumn so much :)

Kristin said...

Oh! How divine! I love the smell of fresh cut hay - and I love to see rolling hills dotted with tightly wound bales. Something so cozy about that. Apple cider and candy corn...can I come have dinner at your mom's too :-)!? Since you're a kindred lover of Fall, you should come join our Fall Friendship Swap. I've got the sign-up up and running, so come join in the fun! Hope you have a wonderful Monday,

Anonymous said...

What nice memories :)

I love Fall and I'm so very ready for it! It's 92 today here though!

I want to decorate my home with my Fall stuff this weekend so I hope it cools down!

Amber said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend! I'm jealous that you've got autumn coming your way already. We're still pretty warm here...hopefully it'll come soon! I'm ready to be done with the heat!

Rachel and John said...

How lovely!!
We drive through the country to get from the city to our small town and I've been seeig the round bails sitting out. I love them!

Anne said...

This sounds like such a great afternoon. Your parents house sounds absolutely wonderful. It makes me want to go visit your parents!

Mrs. Lukie said...

The smell of freshly cut hay reminds me of my childhood, too. Love it :)

Lauren said...

Oh what a fabulous weekend! Love those good ole country smells!

Unknown said...

aww that sounds like such fun! I am a total country girl at heart :) We live near places with horses and cows and sheep and I love running by in the morning and smelling the farm smell..josh thinks I am so weird but it brings back good memories! I am glad you had a good weekend...Oh and your dog is so so cute!!

Kelly said...

Love this post. I'm your newest follower!

Heather @ Simple Wives said...

Love your pictures! Lovely memories that you have. :)

Tatiana said...

It's so great to have all those sweet memories. Each year I love fall more and more! I seriously cannot wait for this fall to show up!

Brittany Ann said...

Oooh, I'm jealous! I can't wait for autumn! My favorite!

Jessica said...

What a fun day! And what sweet memories! Smell can trigger so many memories for me. Especially the smells of autumn!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a gorgeous place to grow up!! Jealous! What great memories of family and fun :)

Truly His said...

Just found your blog and LOVE it!

Jen | Our Life Accounts said...

I love all your autumn memories. The smell of hay is one of the fall "signals" to me. It's been 90 all week here but it's supposed to cool down to 50 over the weekend, can't wait for fall!

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