EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of an occasional series from local artist Eileen Hennemann, in which she presents some of her works and explains how they came to be made.
8th Line | Ramsay | Mississippi Mills | Lanark County
At the end of the day the light is perfect for photographers and artists. This scene is of a typical farmer’s field that just catches your breath when everything is touched by such a warm light. The shadows are long and the air slowly cools down after a hot day bringing in the hay. The farmers are busy harvesting their produce, larders filling once again with preserves, and the animals are content with the hay that comforts them.
I’m formerly a city girl and have much to learn about the country life I love here in Almonte. When I need to understand more about my surroundings I either ask my husband (seven generations Lanark County!) or refer to the internet for information:
Hay is grass, legumes, or other herbaceous plants that have been cut, dried, and stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for grazing animals such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Hay is also fed to smaller animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Pigs may be fed hay, but they do not digest it as efficiently as more fully herbivorous animals.
Hay can be used as animal fodder when or where there is not enough pasture or rangeland on which to graze an animal, when grazing is unavailable due to weather (such as during the winter) or when lush pasture by itself is too rich for the health of the animal. It is also fed during times when an animal is unable to access pasture, such as when animals are kept in a stable or barn.
I also learned that round bales are often found in empty fields because of their good keeping qualities. Once baled each one can be left where they were made until they are needed. It’s easier for the farmer if they’re using the hay for their own animals but don’t have a large storage facility. The bales can spoil but are usually used up before that happens. There could be up to four cuts of hay, depending on how the Summer Gods smile down on us. This painting could be of the third cut of hay, but I’d have to ask one of our local farmers to confirm.