Week of September 5, 2021

Hay, Hay, What Can I Do? READ FACTOIDS.


A powerful arcing punch, often a knockout blow, is often called a “haymaker.” This is because when hay was harvested manually with a scythe, the same strong, wide swing was used to cut those grasses and plants which made up hay.


Hay and straw have long been used for animal bedding and have also stuffed human mattresses, hence the term “hit the hay” for sleeping.


A disorganized and chaotic operation or plan is often said to have “gone haywire.” Real haywire, which is used bind straw and hay bales, was historically also used to make temporary, improvised repairs to equipment. In the American logging industry, a “haywire outfit” was a negative term for a logging company using poor equipment. Furthermore, due to the springy nature of hay wire, it can easily become a tangled mess when not spooled correctly.


A term which centuries ago was a happy cheer like “hooray,” a “heyday” came to mean a happy event, and later, the peak or finest time for a person or ongoing thing.


Hay is not straw and straw is not hay. Straw, often empty wheat or barley stalks, is really a by-product of harvested grain. It makes great bedding (see above) and can hold in moisture in soil, and make some nice hats, but is not itself ideal for eating. Hay is harvested live plants, dried and intended for animal consumption, particularly when live grass is not available to munch on. In other words, hay is typically not a by-product of something else; it is harvested to feed animals.


The term “hayseed,” indicating an unsophisticated country person, originated from a 19th century idiom for a simple county person who “had hayseed in his / her hair.”


The modern idiom “make hay” is a shortening of “Make hay while the sun shines” which encouraged taking advantage of opportunities while you can.