To minimize rainwater getting into a haystack, the stack was usually “dressed” by running a pitchfork down the sides of the stack and pulling out the stalks of grass near the surface that were crosswise, leaving only those that pointed out and downward. This procedure was very effective in producing an outer layer that shed water well. Unless a tarpaulin was used to cover the stack, the top of the stack was rounded off and dressed in the same manner. One of the key requirements in waterproofing was to keep the center of the stack tramped down more than the edges so that, as the hay settled, the center would settle less than the outside. The interior grass stems would then automatically tip down from the center to edge and force rainwater to run to the edge of the stack and down the outside.
1001 Words and Phrases You Never Knew You Didn’t Know by W.R. Runyan Copyright © 2011 by W.R. Runyan