weather, took a beating. A few extremists, fearful of losing a single vitamin, mowed in June, choosing a day when the sun came out for a few minutes. Their hay lay in the wet fields and rotted day after day, while Rommel took Tobruk and careened eastward toward Alexandria.
The weather was unprecedented--weeks of damp and rain and fog. Everybody talked about it. One day during that spell I was holding forth to a practical farmer on the subject of hay. Full of book learning, I was explaining (rather too glibly) the advantages of cutting hay in June. I described in detail the vitamin loss incurred by letting hay stand in the field after it has matured, and how much greater the feed value was per unit weight in early-cut hay, even though the quantity might be slightly less. The farmer was a quiet man, with big hands for curling round a scythe handle. He listened attentively. My words swirled around his head like summer flies. Finally, when I had exhausted my little store of learning and paused for a moment, he ventured a reply.
"The time to cut hay," he said firmly, "is in hayin' time."
Many residents of that broad, proud region of the United States known as the Middle West are, I regret to say, woefully ignorant of, not to say profoundly incurious about, the nature and variety of the wild life which existed, however precariously in some instances, in that part of North America before the coming of the Red Man (Homo Rufus) or of anybody else.
The only important research which has been done in this fascinating field was carried on for the better part of thirty-two years by the late