Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hay Days

I have recently been scanning some photos that were taken of my Grandpa's ranch, and his family.

Wow, its been a real trip down memory lane.

This photo is from the summer of 1967. That year we had a bumper crop of hay on grandpa's ranch. The rain came at just the right time, and in just the right quantity to make the grass and hay grow like crazy. The the rain nicely stayed away while we were trying to harvest the hay.

That is me at about age 9 in the straw hat and cowboy shirt.

Standing next to me is my Grandpa Hatch in his trademark bib overalls (pronounced "over-haul's") and green long sleeve JC Penny work shirt. Notice that he even kept the top button of his shirt done-up, so as to keep out hay and dust.

On the other side of grandpa is his Newphew Don. He was a great help to grandpa. I assume that much of the money Don earned would later be used to finance Don's mission, and possibly later college at Utah State University. Don would later become a civil engineer.

Seeing the machinery is a journey in the "way-back machine" as well. That is our Ford 861 tractor, that would have been about the same age as me. The implement behind it is a New Holland Haybine. The haybine would cut hay like a mower, crimp it to assist in the curing process, and then dump the hay out in a windrow, all ready for later baling. Previous to buying the haybine, the mowing and windrowing of the hay were two separate processes. This machine was a real labor saver.

In about another 5 years from this time, I would be operating this machinery myself. Farm and ranch kids learn how to operate tractors and machinery at very young ages. I think I started driving at about age 9 or 10. My first vehicle was a Willey's jeep. Grandpa would put the Jeep in "Granny Low" range. That way, even if I would "pop" the clutch, it still wouldn't kill the engine.

I was driving jeeps and tractors at a very young age. I was about 13 or 14 before I was allowed to operate the more serious machinery, like the hay baler and the haybine. Most of my driving was on private property on grandpa's ranch. If I did need to drive a vehicle or tractor into town, I would always just follow along behind grandpa in another vehicle, to make sure I was safe.

By the time I turned 16 and took driver's ed, learning to drive was no big deal for me. I already knew the mechanics of driving, I just needed to learn the rules of the road. Well, that and how to drive a high speeds. Grandpa insisted on a speed limit of 25 mph in the Jeep -- and even that was rare. Most of the dirt roads/trails on the ranch would tolerate only about 10-15 mph. When I took driver's ed in 1975, we still had 70 mph speed limits on the freeways (the double-nickel days of 55 mph were just around the corner.)

You can see other family photos I have scanned here. Most of them are from the 1960's.

1 comment:

s'mee said...

I love this kind of post! Great photo and info about the machinery.

It's amazing what we can learn as little people just hanging out with 'the old folks'.