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Haymaking in Romania

We were sent the links to this photo essay of haymaking in Romania. The photos were taken by Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin, a fine art documentary photographer whose work focuses on the disappearing traditions of old Europe. The text is by H. Woods McLaughlin, a screen-writer with experience in orgaic farming.

The photos are on their Leafpile website, which documents their travels in Europe over several years. A section on Farming in Romania includes photo essays on Putting Up a Haystack and Taking Down a Haystack. About the haystack photos, Peter comments:

It is a beautiful essay, a few technical-info-related errors notwithstanding.

What I appreciate most is their noting how thrifty and altogether meticulous this hay system is, and how much time some people still spend to take care of the nourishment of their animal friends.

I would guess that the hay is likely not more than 25% moisture, in order to keep well (i.e. not heat too much) and finish curing on this style of rack.

Similar methods of temporary storage in the field probably evolved for two reasons: Sometimes the hay was not cured well enough on the ground to be brought into the barn immediately. Also, many farmers in each village were not equipped (with horses and wagons) to do the hauling alone. Bringing the hay in from the surrounding meadows, often a considerable distance, was frequently the co-operative effort of several families.


May 2005