"Haymaking" in retrospect of my childhood

From mid-June grandfather Kraut watched the grass in our meadows. When it blossomed, it was time for the haymaking.

Since there were only small farms and cottagers on the backcrop, everyone was dependent on mutual neighborly help. There were also no coherent corridors, such as, for example, in Peterswald with the big farmers. In the Tise there were patchwork fields that had a lot of different neighbors.

On the way to the brick pond on the right were the long meadows, the last before the stone bridge belonged to us. It was divided into two parts by the choir, a big flat stone was the bridge and there stood a Swedish cross, which reminded of the 30 years old war. This meadow was always the first to be haymaking.

Preparations had been made, Grandfather had sat down with the Dengelstock on the lumberyard and gedengelt the scythes. The beautiful, even sound when the hammer hit the steel still rings in my ears today. It sounded like a little bell had to hurry a big hurry to a big one. Then it went to the neighboring houses to invite the necessary men. These were Fiedler, Julius Jr., Rosary (Püschner) Richard, Pohler, Otto, Ritschel, Franz and of course Uncle Kraut Julius. The larger economies such as the Rührwenze or Boch, Franze (Klement) already had mowers, which were pulled by horses or oxen. All others relied on traditional help.

On the festgeIegten day it went with the shouldered scythe and the Wetzkerze on Hosengürtel to the meadow. Uncle Julius began to cut the dewy grass, which lay in regular swaths on the meadow. After about 3 m lead started the second mower, etc. At 6.30 am Mama brought sausage slices and as a drink of egg water, to eggs, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar were whisked with water, which was like to drink.

Mom and grandfather then spread the swaths wide with forks so that the sun could dry well. On the following days it was turned before and in the afternoon and heaped up in the evening. When the hay broke, it was ready to enter. Grandfather tethered the cows in front of the cart and on the way out they could all sit up. The collected hay was now forked on the car and Mama cleverly layered it overhanging right and left, it had to be distributed evenly, because if the load tilts on the bumpy paths, that was already a mishap. To fix it was placed along the hay bar (wooden bar) on top and this secured with ropes back and front. After the break, we were allowed to climb up children and felt like kings, so high up in the fragrant hay. Gladly I think of the long drive home from the Kinschwälder meadow behind the brick pond and the romantic meadow to Oberwald.

At home, the car was driven close to the barn and the hay forked to the barn floor, inside it was rumbled. This was like a sweat cure, but it was very spiky.

The neighborhood assistance was based solely on trust, financial compensation was not even thought.

“It was then.”   Your Inge.

Inge Galle,   June 20, 2008