Marshfield’s Hay-days are History!


Yesterday morning, as I sat on my deck, having coffee. An almost lost but familiar smell drifted across my nose, the cutting of the August hay. The sweet smell of the newly cut grass is next best to the East wind coming across the bay. Well, I jumped into my truck, and headed east. About a mile away, the John Deer behemoths were cutting and baling at the same time.
But, no more bales — giant jelly-roll-ups lined the field. Some different than Decker Hatch’s operation. 

Oh how I remember Dirty Joe cutting North Marshfield’s hay fields and loading and un-loading by hand pitchfork!

‘Dirty Joe” Joe Bradley, haying off Corn Hill Lane. c.1950
Caption: Decker Hatch, mowing hay off Union Street.

The harvesting of hay was a much needed winter food source for the farmers’ livestock.

Tools of the trade before machinery:

Wooden hay fork.


Hay saw.
Haying was usually done during the hottest August days and done bare-chested. Hayseeds mixed with sweat pierced the skin, and the sun cooked the workers.
                                 OK, now into the barn! All for a dollar-a-day!
Caption: An early horse drawn hay baler.
This was a much easier way to handle hay.
Now we just stick our fork lift finger thru the bale and load it.
No bale has been touched by a human’s hand. 
I have just returned home before noon, just short of 3 hours of watching today’s operation.
The first truck load just passed my house, about 6 hours from todays start-up.
You will have to part with about $50.00 per 1100 pound round bale today. Your horse will need about 2-2.5 tons of hay next winter.
”He who feels the benefit should feel the burden”
Old Yankee proverb
by W. Ray Freden


Seaview/Marshfield, 70 years.


”Down East, Maine,” 11 years.

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