(06/12/2010)

The powerful and soothing smell of newly cut hay has been drifting across the Calhoun landscape these past days with the first cutting, a longtime farming tradition.

The fragrance increases with the seasoning of the grass. Haying represents the toil of farming, raising cattle and providing a livelihood, much a part of country life these past two hundred years.

Greg Johnsen of Elmore, Alabama recalls his Calhoun haying days with the Knotts family:

The article today about new mown hay brings back some of my favorite memories of Calhoun county. My grandpa John Knotts put up his own hay and hay for people from Minnora to Euclid, Nicut, Crummies Creek and Arnoldsburg.

I spent as many summers with my grandparents as I could in the 50's and 60's as a kid and when I was working I tried to plan my vacations when it was time for first or second cutting.

When I was a little guy I could only ride on the tool box and fender. As I got older I would hook up the mover, rake and baler for him and when I got taller I got to drive the tractor.

I learned to drive at 12 years old in the hay field, a black Studebaker pickup with a three speed. I would drive the truck while the big kids loaded the hay.

Then I got stronger and had to load the hay and that was a tough job when you had to chase those square bales down the hills and bring them back up and load them. Putting up hay was quite a challenge back on some of those hills.

To this day when I see hay fields I think of those days and have always wanted a tractor, mower, rake and a square hay baler and be like grandpa. There is no better smell than freshly mown hay.

Greg Johnsen
280 Crossgate Dr.
Elmore, AL 36025


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