Make hay while the sun shines

Ryan Eidson  —  May 6, 2016

There’s an old saying that I hear at least once a year: “Make hay while the sun shines.”

Before farmers cut and rake hay (alfalfa, grass, red clover, etc.), they check the weather forecast to determine if they can get the hay “put up” before it rains. If you aren’t familiar with the process, it is best for hay to be cut, let the sun start drying it out, rake the hay (turn it over), let it dry a little more, then bale it and put it in storage before it gets rain on it.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines: John Deere tractor and round baler

Make Hay While the Sun Shines: Round bale of hay with tractor and baler | Photo by Ryan Eidson

Rain decreases the quality of the hay.

If it rains too much, the hay will spoil. You won’t have any to sell or to feed your livestock in the winter when the snow covers the ground.

Recognize the Season

Make hay while the sun shines applies to all of us. Even though I hear it exclusively from older folks, this saying reminds you and me to put in the hard work and long days while the opportunity is available. To crawl through the window when it is open. To walk through the door when it swings your way.

This time of year, farmers all around me are planting corn and soybeans. We’ve had a good spring; the planting progress is a little faster than the five-year average, and we’ve had timely rains.

In addition, my wife and I have some cool crops in our garden. Every few weeks we’ve added some more varieties of vegetables. It won’t be long and we will eat fresh strawberries and tomatoes straight from the garden (yum!).

We and our farmer families, friends and neighbors are taking the opportunity to put seed in the ground.

Take Appropriate Action

If there’s no seed, there will not be a harvest. We can’t control the weather, and we have limited control of what animals and pests will do to our young plants. (The rabbits visited and ate off some of our garden a few weeks ago.)

But we can do this: we recognize what season we’re in and take the appropriate action.

Three questions for you to consider today:

  • What season of life are you in right now?
  • What is the appropriate action you need to take today?
  • What actions are more suitable for another season in your life?

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Ryan Eidson


I have the unique ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. I am the author of A Couple with Common Cents and live in rural Missouri.