Instead of allowing the hay to lie, as usual in most places, for some days in the swath after it is cut, never cut hay but when the grass is quite dry, and then make the gatherers follow close upon the cutters: put it up immediately into small cocks about three feet high each, and of as small a diameter as they can be made to stand with; always giving each of them a slight kind of thatching, by drawing a few handsful of the hay from the bottom of the cock all round and laying it lightly upon the top, with one of the ends hanging downwards. This is done with the utmost ease and expedition; and when once in that state the hay is, in a great measure, out of danger; for unless a violent wind should arise immediately after the cocks are put up, nothing else can hurt the hay; as no rain, however violent, can penetrate into these cocks but for a very little way; and if they are dry put up they never sit together so closely as to heat, although they acquire, in a day or two, such a degree of firmness as to be in no danger of being overturned by wind after that time, unless it blows a hurricane.
In these cocks allow the hay to remain until upon inspection, the farmer judges it will keep in pretty large tramp-cocks (which is usually in a week or two, according as the weather is more or less favorable), when two men, each with a long-pronged pitchfork, lift up one of these small cocks between them with the greatest ease, and carry them one after another to the place where the tramp cock is to be built, and in this manner proceed over the field till the whole is finished.
The clover is cut, and after it has lain four or five days in the swath, till it is sufficiently dry, the haymaker, with a rake, rolls up a sufficient quantity to form a ripple, which is set up in the form of a cone. Taking a few of the longest straws he twists them round the top, which forms the point of the cone, keeps the ripple compact, and shoots off the rain. In taking up the clover from the swath and forming the ripple, it is necessary to keep the upper or dry part inwards: by that means it is much sooner dry, and in a fit state for the stack. It is generally necessary for clover to remain five or six days in the ripple before it is put into the stack, but that depends on the state of the weather. There is no occasion to untie the ripples. The method of rippling is not so expensive as cocking; it is much superior both in wet and dry seasons--not so liable to be injured by the wet--much sooner dry, and of course of a better quality and more nourishing for cattle. Each ripple will weigh, when dry, about four or five pounds. They should not be made too large. Except where meadow grass is very long it would not be practicable to ripple it. The practice of rippling is simple, attended with little trouble or expense, and whenever tried will recommend itself:
Grass, when cut for hay, ought to be quickly raked, in order that its powers may neither be exhausted by the sun nor dissipated by the air. In the first stage small cocks are preferable, and on after days these may be gathered into large ones or hand-ricks, by which method the hay is equally made and properly sweetened. After standing eight or ten days in these ricks, according to the nature of the weather, hay may be carted home and built in stacks of sufficient size for standing through the winter months.
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