Hay bales in a field in Jutland, Denmark
© Nick Brundle Photography/Getty Image
Hay, what's up?
Whenever summer turns to autumn, the hay harvest is at the front of farmers' minds. To mark the change of season, we're ambling through a hayfield full of beautifully rolled bales. This particular pastoral patch is in Jutland, the agrarian mainland of Denmark that 'juts' into the North Sea. But if you could—hay presto—snap your fingers and teleport to any hayfield at sunset, you'd surely see similar neat rows of dry, amber-tinted grass.
The art of drying nutritious grasses as animal fodder is nearly as old and widespread as Jutland's gently rolling hills. And producing hay is a delicate art as well, especially in places with four distinct seasons: Those precious few fall days when the sun is bright, the air is low in moisture, and the grass is mature might make for a farmer's only chance all year to harvest, dry, and bale up the nutrient-rich vegetation. So the pithy proverb, 'Make hay while the sun shines,' is the golden rule to those who tend these golden fields.