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Baling Hay in Swaledale

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About Eleanor's story

In this story Eleanor Scarr recounts how bringing in and drying the hay changed during her childhood. In Eleanorís lifetime hay making and baling have changed beyond recognition: on her farm today they make silage without drying the hay, and the entire process takes a few days as opposed to the weeks of drying, turning and stacking Eleanor remembers here.

The introduction of tractors not only speeded up the work, but Eleanor remembers that tractors were the first of many machines farmers had to learn to manage and maintain. New baling tractors also meant families like Eleanorís had less need of hired seasonal labourers. Eleanor also recalls how even though the whole family was employed at hay time, the tractor gave some farmwomen new opportunities. She still lives in Swaledale today.

Eleanor's story was recorded as part of the ' History Re-visited: Back to the 50s' project, which is recording memories of locals around the Dales Country Park for the Dales Countryside Museum.

The interview was carried out by Anne Walker, a Year 11 pupil at The Wensleydale School, as a member of the Comenius Partnership Project funded through the British Council.


You can hear Eleanorís story (click the video or audio links) and see pictures of the baling on the following pages here.   You can also listen to another of Eleanor's stories on this website, in which she talks about the changes in Haymaking that she witnessed over the years - click the Related Link at the bottom of the page.

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