My husband is a 7th generation Vermonter, descended from dairy farmers in Glover, Vermont. His grandfathers Joseph Alexander and Ernest Perron are shown here in a rare moments of leisure while bringing in the hay. Joseph is the one proudly perched atop his loose hay on the horse drawn wagon and Ernest is the one standing tall (top left behind the tractor) with some of his 16 children posing for the camera.
My mother-in-law, Martha Alexander recalls carrying a jug of Switchel out to the field where the men were haying. Hill farming in northern Vermont is not for the faint of heart nor a profitable venture on such a small scale so now the Alexander farm is used as a vacation home. While the Perron farm still produces hay and houses heifers the last of the sons has retired from farming but still lives on some of the original acreage and continues the tradition of making maple syrup.
Today round hay bales wrapped in plastic dot the landscape and tractors have air conditioned cabs. Though we no longer pitch loose hay Switchel is still the perfect beverage for keeping hydrated and cool while enjoying a brisk hike, gardening, kicking around a soccer ball or just kicking back