Thursday, June 7, 2018

June Is Haying Season in Pennsylvania

June is the month that kicks off haying season in Pennsylvania. Along the byways and roads, you'll see farmers cutting, tedding (aerating the grasses), and baling their fields of hay.

It is the barns that fascinate me, especially the bank or banked barns. They are a unique style of barn noted for their accessibility on two separate levels. Often built into the side of a hill, or bank, both the upper and the lower floors area could be accessed from ground level, one area at the top of the hill and the other at the bottom.
In a typical Pennsylvania barn, the upper floor was a hayloft and the lower was a stable and milking parlor where the cattle were held in stanchions and milked twice a day.

The doors on bank barns were typically on the long sidewall. They were usually double doors, often on tracks, and were wide enough to allow for the hay wagons to enter. With William Penn's promise of freedom and inexpensive land, many settlers came to Pennsylvania. Among these settlers were the Germans, who are given credit for designing  bank barns on their lands.

My family were farmers and we owned a bank barn. I have many childhood memories of playing in the loose hay in the loft. Later, of course, square hay balers came into existence, eliminating the need for hay loaders. Later, round balers became widely used because they allowed tractors to move the heavy bales which were cut, bound, covered, and stacked along the sides of fields—eliminating the use of the hayloft.

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