A farmer would set aside a field or fields where livestock would not be allowed to graze. These fields were meadows and were used to produce hay from the long grasses. The hay would provide food for farm animals when there was not enough lush pasture on which to graze particularly during the wintertime. A hand-held scythe or a horse-drawn mower was used for cutting the meadow grass when it was tall enough, which was usually in June.
Once the grass was cut, it was left to dry for a few days, then turned by a fork to dry the far side. It was then shaken out and made into cone-shaped piles known as cocks which were left in the field until dry enough to carry to the barn, an outbuilding near to the farm house.