July 18, 2017
You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
“Shaken, not stirred” is a command often given by James Bond in the Ian Fleming novels, which became movies. This is in reference to James’ preference for the making of his martini. However, today’s story is about what to do with hay after it is mowed. Should it be “shaken or stirred?”
This story comes from a July 1866 article in the “Junction City Union” newspaper. The writer stated that “his father says it don’t do nay good to keep stirring hay all the time after it is mowed, till it is cured.” Uncle John, who is a good farmer, says we “ought to keep stirring the grass all the time.” Mother says “Uncle John cannot bear to see anyone rest for one minute, so all the while he keeps his people working whether or not it does any good.” I should like to know who is right on this subject stated the author.
Well, the reply came back stating that “it seems Uncle John was right. The more one stirred newly mown grass, the more it cured evenly and the sooner it was fit to go into the barn. Some of the best farmers used a horse hay-tender for keeping the grass in constant motion. As soon as an acre or two was mowed, they started up the tender, shook up and turned over the hay until it was fit to rake. When it lay thick on the ground and was not turned, that was when the sun did the most damage by burning and scorching the grass. The respondent also stated that “it would be best to shake all the bunches into pieces and throw it around lightly so the air may circulate through it and raise the moisture. This would hurry along the curing process.”
Now we all know that shaken not stirred is preferred by James Bond in the making of his martini and the same can be said for those who work with cutting and putting up hay.
That’s today’s story from the Geary County Historical Society.