NYFS logo    tagline
 Pinto Guira making guiramaking a mandalaplaying mandolin

New York Folklore Quarterly, Vol. VII, No. 1, Spring 1951

View the Table of Contents here. Back issues of New York Folklore Quarterly (1945–1974) and single articles are available for purchase.
JOIN the New York Folklore Society today to receive Voices.

Cover of NY Folklore Quarterly


Vol. VII, No. 1, Spring 1951

Selected, edited, and written by Edith E. Cutting

Compared with those for planting, the “signs” for harvesting are sparse indeed. When I asked why, a farmer told me, “Nobody knows what the weather is going to do around planting time, but even a darn fool can see when grain is ready to cut.”

The influence of the moon is mentioned a few times in harvesting lore in York State, but only a few. Some say to harvest all crops when the moon is getting old for them to keep better and longer; others, to dig root crops then, but to gather fruits and green vegetables just before the full moon for them to stand shipment. Crops gathered when the moon is in earth or water signs of the zodiac, they say, are in danger of mold or rot.

Haying was always thought of as separate from harvesting. A skillful farmer prided himself on being able to cock hay so it would shed rain. Building a big load, too, was an accomplishment. They tell of a farmer who bought a load of hay from his neighbor one winter. He was to have all he could load on for the stipulated price, but when the neighbor saw the load, he asked with disgust, “Why didn’t you load the barn on, too?”

In Essex County, haying was begun right after the Fourth of July and was supposed to be finished before dog days in August. If not, the weather was so “catchy,” or showery, that hay was apt to be rained on before it could be drawn in. A common condemnation of a slow farmer was to say he drew his last hay in on sleighs. Now, that isn’t as farfetched as you might think, when you consider northern New York’s weather. One hot July day the men were resting after dinner before they went back into the hayfield. They heard a noise in the barnyard and somebody yelled, “A bear! a bear!” They all started for the barn with scythes and pitchforks. Seeing them coming, the bear jumped over the fence, but he landed in a snowbank and they shot him before he could get away.

Voices is the membership magazine of the New York Folklore Society. To become a subscriber, join the New York Folklore Society today.

TO PURCHASE A BACK ISSUE of the New York Folklore Quarterly, visit our online book store.

TO PURCHASE THIS ARTICLE from the New York Folklore Quarterly, use the form here.



New York Folklore Quarterly

To order a single article, please enter volume number, issue number, and title of the article you wish and click on an order button below to purchase through Paypal or with your credit card. We will send you a PDF of the article via e-mail upon receipt of your order.

ITEM #603
Single Article $3.00

Volume No. & Issue


Member Price  $2.00

Volume No. & Issue


NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org