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In 2006 I attended the International Scythe Symposium, hosted by the Vido family on their farm in New Brunswick, Canada. The event was a delight for a photographer. I took a lot of pictures. I had posted some of them in the photo gallery on my farm website before, but in an awkward format. Since it's still winter here, and there's not a whole lot of mowing going on, I thought I'd revisit the Symposium with this blog, and re-post the pictures with the great multimedia features of this Wordpress blog. The slide show above is of the mowing workshops at the Symposium. Hope you enjoy it. Please comment and feel free to ask questions. I will add more text and photos over time.
Tedding the Hay
With all the manpower at the Symposium, an enormous amount of grass was being cut. To turn it into hay required that it all be spread out, and tedded and turned throughout the day, so that it would dry out evenly. The fresh cut grass was spread with hay forks, and then when more dry it was raked into windrows. Unfortunately, the coastal weather of New Brunswick, changes every 5 minutes, so tedding the hay was a "take two steps forward, and one step back" kind of process. The weather would be clear and sunny one minute, and then a brief shower would come the next. It took a lot of diligent labor just to get the hay to the semi-dry stage required, to finally be able to stack it up on the rain-shedding, hay drying racks to finish. Once stacked on the drying racks, though, the outside of the stack would mostly shed the rain, while the prevailing breeze that rose up the steep slopes, would dry out the stack from underneath, and inside out. Of course, some sunny dry-spells certainly improved the process.
The Hay Drying Racks
Below is a video of Faye Vido showing how she stacks the hay on one of these hay drying racks. The hay sounds much drier than the hay we were stacking at the Symposium.