Pizza night. Hay Rides. Fun and frivolity in the Catskill Mountains.

I’d never been on a hay ride until last Saturday night. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but here is my confession for all to hear. I’m 57 and I’ve never been on a hay ride. But if I think about it a bit, I suspect that I’m in very good company; that many others, perhaps most of the world, are willing to be embarrassed and admit that they’ve never ridden on a bale of hay on a wagon being pulled by a big farm tractor.

But in thinking about it even more, I realize that I’ve had plenty of opportunities to go on hay rides before… just never took advantage of those opportunities. Perhaps that’s the deep rooted angst behind my embarrassment. A simple could’ve, should’ve, didn’t.

So I could have… I went to an agricultural college, I’ve lived in many country towns (I even lived in Texas!), and now I spend my time in the Catskill Mountains where pert near every town is rural. But the hay wagon and I never seemed to cross paths. Every year there are hay rides at the state fair, hay rides at the county fair, hay rides at the street fair… Let’s just say that there are a fair amount of hayrides that I could have gone on. And I’ve been to plenty of these fairs, seen my share of prize winning pigs, eaten some fried foods that tasted surprisingly good covered in dough and deep fried (think: pickles), but I’d never climbed the steps onto the hay wagon.

Until last Saturday night. With a belly full of amazing fresh baked pizza and rhubarb upside down cake with maple syrup infused whipped cream I felt daring enough to yell “save me a seat” when they called that the wagon was about to pull out. Perhaps I could have yelled “save me a bale” just to be punny. But, as punny as that is (c’mon you groaned, I know you did), saying it may have served to show my hayride naiveté and the locals’ noses would have gone up in the air and their eyes would have rolled equally as high into their foreheads.

But that’s not what would have actually happened had I tossed some humor of dubious quality into the crowd. There was no snooty attitude weighing down summer-like breezes last night. Everyone was in high spirits, friendly, and enjoying the evening. A pavilion full of mostly strangers, sharing an evening of great food, friendly hosts, and frivolity. No one mocked me for being a rookie hay rider.
It had never occurred to me that a hay ride would be a fun thing to do. I never thought it’d be my kind of fun (there’s the should have).

It turns out that the ride was great fun; perhaps because all the parts that I think would be participating in the perfect hay ride were there. Starting with my companion hay riders. Everyone on hay bales, or even on the floor of the wagon, was friendly; the type of people you say, “please call us next time you’re in town,” and you really mean it.

hay ride amazing view

hay ride mountain sky viewFirst thing to see were the views! We went uphill, and uphill a bit more. Mountain ranges beyond the pastures at every turn. The sky was the perfect shade of evening dark blue with occasional puffs of bright white clouds. If you didn’t believe in God before, you’d start seriously considering it after these awe filled, eye widening, heart stopping views.
Then, right there in the middle of a field was the little corral of goats. I happen to like goats and I’ve gotten close to a few (as in up-close close, not like personal relationship close!) and for some reason I just like them. So… I was elated to see the goats.



hay ride sallySally, our “driver,” was half of what made the ride great. She would stop the tractor at every view spot and regale us with her knowledge of farming, responsible land management, and some inside information that is fascinating to city-folk (and transplanted city folk!).

striped cows


That knowledge included the cows. Amazing, let’s go pet one, really nice looking cows. Medium sized, furry, black and white vertical striped cows. Not like zebra stripes, but one wide black stripe, then one wide white, then another black. Everyone calls them Oreo’s and I don’t think Nabisco would mind the trademark infringement because the cows are beautiful. Not an adjective that you might normally think of for cows. We usually think of a big nose full of drippy snot and an attitude of “really? You’re looking at me because??????”

But these cows were downright cute. And when Sally stopped here so we could take pictures and chat, the cows all came to the uphill side of the coral, looked wistfully at us, and had a look of curiosity about them. More like, “hey, whatcha doin?” and the hey/hay pun would be intended. Puns in the pasture. That’s how cool these cows are!

The barn cat (of course there’s a barn cat!), Patches, stayed with us for most of the ride, working the room as it were; asking for and getting plenty of ear scratching and generally entertaining all of us. She hopped off as we neared our return to the pavilion and the kids speculated that she ran after a mouse. Good cat! Just one more charming country stereotype to add to my experience.

Ours was the last ride of the evening and there were only a few slices of pizza left, the upside down cake was gone, the baking pan appeared to have been licked clean. People were meandering out with faces filled with smiles and tales of the evening.
I was a virgin, until last Saturday night. I’m 57 and I’d never been on a hay ride. This was my first time and it didn’t hurt. It was great. And I totally expect to do it again!

Pizza Night On The Farm at Lazy Crazy Acres
Saturday evenings from 5:00 – 8:00 from late May to early fall
Pizzas made with farm fresh ingredients and homemade sauce
Milk from a local dairy farm and amazing iced tea

Be sure to pick up some of their own “Tree Juice” maple syrup with its natural smoky essence. The bourbon-barrel aged and the vanilla infused are both amazing.

Learn about the farm, Karen and Jake (the farmer/hosts), the goats, the cows, all the barn cats, and the fantastic pizza on their facebook page

picture note: the picture of the cows is from the Lazy Crazy Acres website. Upon closer examination, you’ll note the sudden change from spring to fall foliage. We were having a little too much fun and our camera somehow took blurry shots. (hate it when that happens!)

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