Days Gone By - stories from the past

Making hay while the sun shines – thankful for the work ethic I learned

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Making hay while the sun shines – thankful for the work ethic I learned

Making hay while the sun shines


Shannon Hollon

Growing up on Rural Route 2 Box 49x in McCalla there were not a lot of summer jobs until you turned 16 and could drive into Bessemer. So for a number of summers my job was bailing hay with a local farmer because in this part of Roupes valley hayfields were plentiful.

Bails had to interlock

After the hay had been cut and raked and bailed then it was time to gather the bails and stack them correctly on the back of the truck or trailer. These bails of hay had to interlock stacked to keep them from falling off and so you could get the maximum height. Once loaded they would be transported to a barn unloaded and interlock stacked (while fighting and being stung by red wasp)to be stored for winter feed,then you start all over again on to another hayfield until dark finally caught you.

Bailing hay (photo from hay  (photo from

Maybe he was trying to kill us

Please keep in mind reader this was all done while wearing a flannel shirt to protect your forearms from the hay and in the heat of summer. One summer me and a friend of mine worked for a old farmer and he worked us so hard and fast we thought maybe he was trying to kill us so he wouldn’t have to pay us.

Hay barn (triplethreattriathlon)Hay Barn  (photo from

Many of the hayfields are now gone subdivisions  have taken their place. The old hay barn torn down when interstate 459 was built in the mid 1980s and the old farmer to his reward. To this day I sneeze when I pass a freshly cut hayfield. I am so thankful for the work ethic I learned, and that I turned 16 and was able to drive into Bessemer.

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About Shannon Hollon

Shannon Hollon lives in McCalla Alabama graduated from McAdory High School and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Served 9 years in the US Navy Seabees with one tour in Afghanistan.Currently employed with US Steel and serving on the board of directors for the West Jefferson County Historical Society.

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  1. Loaded and hauled a LOT of those bales of hay when I was a teen.

  2. Loading those bales then throwing them up into the barn loft is no fun. You’re covered with sweat, you have to wear long sleeves on the hottest day or your arms will be red as a beet. Better wear gloves. The wagon in the photo could hold several more bales.

    1. Work ethic my a**, I would’ve preferred going swimming, lol.

  3. God Bless our farmers

  4. Have loaded hay plenty of times not for pay , but for my horses. It’s hot ,itchy, exhausting job. Contending with wasp, spiders, sometimes snakes.. But I still love the smell of a fresh cut field!

  5. My job as a 11-12 year old was to walk beside the baler and feed it wire and tie off the bales before they came out the chute. There was no stopping to rest. The bales coming out the chute waited for no-one.

  6. Yes but without a tractor , we used two mules !

  7. Been there, done that.

  8. So many good memories are made of this. 🙂

  9. Many summers in the sun all day. We put up 1,000 bales one day on dads farm. I’ve still got the lateral muscles at 61 to prove it.

  10. Did that many times, not a job I have fond memories of at all.

  11. Thomas Vaughan Followed behind Tom several summers while he was bailing, helped a little then helped stack them in the barn. Never again!!! Good memories tho

    1. Yes my father still talks about those days too. I think he’s more proud of his days bailing hay and mending fences than anything he’s done since other than marrying my mother. He talks more about them. I think he feels he really earned his keep then.

    2. Thomas Vaughan great loving couple

  12. I helped n summertime and was paid enough to go to a movie with popcorn! Some bales were heavier than others so we called them “bugged” bales. the higher the stack the harder it was to hoist up the bale! Of course, the loose straw would shower down on your sweaty face and body and get down your shirt. But being out in the field was better than stacking in the barn. I was glad when I went out for football in the Fall, I was toughened up and used to being hot & wet.. Pretty tough on some of the others who had had nside summer jobs!

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