If you live in a city, it's hard to imagine the smell of dry hay on a hot summer day. It smells like... a promise of things being good forever.
Back in the day when we still tended the fields, the men used scythes to cut grass and once it dried up, we, the women would then make long, neat, fragrant piles that dotted the meadows, using wooden rakes (if the rake missed too many teeth, only little children used it to "help" their mommies). It was so hot and the straw would stick to our skin and hair and annoyed us around the necks with its itchiness. The next step was to stack it up on vostrovky, which can be only described as tall wooden poles with short, pointy pegs sticking out of it at regular intervals. I wonder if they were man-made or just fashioned out of trees that already looked like that... Here the men helped out because muscles were needed pick up a pile of hay and stack it high up on the pole.
But the scale I was used to was incomparably smaller than what had been done before. For me it was a past time, really, because I was a child. Yet I know that when my Grandmas were young, they used to wake up at 4 am in the morning and go to more distant meadows on the lands that belonged (and still do) to our families. All the hay had to be taken care of before the midday heat. It was hard work.
This summer my dad showed me a road to one of our meadows. I was thrilled to know that we have some land I'd never seen before. I asked why we never go there, why we don't use it. And he said: "For what?"