In Making Hay, Charles Cooley remembers the farm of his youth as both “a great playground” and a well-run enterprise where children worked alongside adults. As a youngster, he learned to drive a team, handle a scythe, and tumble hay—skills that would become obsolete soon after he reached adulthood. He writes about the economics of the Depression-era farm, the colorful personalities who made it run, and memorable events that shaped his life—from the closing of the tool factory that employed his grandfather, to his own frustration, in later years, as a dairy farmer who didn’t love cows (horses were another story). Charles and his wife, Lois, ran the farm for a few years in the 1950s before becoming full-time schoolteachers, and he writes authoritatively about the impact of modern methods on farm life. In retirement, Charles raised Lippitt Morgan horses, managed his woodlots, and drove tractors at Killdeer Farm in Norwich, Vermont. He died in November 2017, at the age of ninety-one, a few weeks after helping Liz and Jake Guest, the owners of Killdeer, get in the last of their harvest.

Making Hay: Stories and Essays by Charles Cooley

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