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"Haying in Fuller Swamp"
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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George Fuller (1822-1884) never forgot his rural roots. On his occasional summer visits home to the family farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts, from New York City, New York, he took in the details of farm life. Here, he depicts the necessary act of haying, which was the gathering of grass for storage as hay. Hay is stored in barns and feeds farm animals during the winter. In this painting, Fuller is depicting the final step in gathering hay from the fields. Several days before, using scythes, workers had cut the grass and allowed it to lay in the field to dry out. Once it was dry - and it was important that it be dry, else it would mold and turn rancid in storage - it was raked with bull rakes into piles (called "cocks"), as the men are doing on the right of this painting. The piles were then stacked atop a wagon using a pitchfork, as shown to the left. The first grass cut in the season was coarser and used to feed horses, while the second, finer, crop was used to feed cows.
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