Posted by ESC on April 27, 2005
In Reply to: Re: Making hay while the sun shines posted by ESC on April 27, 2005
: : Can anyone explain the origin of the phrase:- "Making hay while the sun shines"?
: You can't "make hay" when it is raining. Farmers please correct me on the details of haymaking. Grass has to be cut and left to dry out in the sun. I'm thinking that a) you can't cut wet grass and b)if you bail the dried-out grass when it's raining it will get all rotten. I was raised on a farm but didn't pay any attention.
MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES -- "Act while conditions are favorable. The grass that is going to be used as hay needs to be dried after it is cut: rain is likely to spoil it. The farmer, therefore, sought to cut hay on a day when it seemed likely that the sun would be around for that day and one or two more. John Heywood listed the advice as proverbial in 1546: 'When the sunne shyneth make hey.'" From "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).
Strike when the iron is hot.
Get while the gettin' is good.
See also: the meaning and origin of 'make hay while the sun shines'.