Friday, December 10, 2010

The Hay Tree

Jumping to June 6th, 2005
Los Angeles County CA

I’m 120 and fifty feet tall, I’m a camphor tree and that ain’t all
I’m the face of the place where they’d decide, the price of hay worldwide
Paramount California sits in the June morning mist like yesterday’s picnic salad bowl under wet cheesecloth. The same conditions when those who gathered here years ago in the township that was the birthplace of the Zamboni, and a good cow could put out 6000 gallons a year. Take that, Wisconsin.

Plaque inscription for #1038 The Hay Tree: The 120-year-old, 50-foot-tall camphor is one of the few remnants of the once-thriving dairy and hay industry that dominated Southeastern Los Angeles County and Northwestern Orange County from the 1920s through the 1950s. Each morning beneath the wide-spanning branches of the Hay Tree, the price of hay was set for the region’s diaries; that price was then quoted in hay markets around the world.
16475 Paramount Blvd., Paramount, CA

33.884100, -118.160111
Along with the Beach Boys monument, the nearby Hay Tree landmark was newly christened and not in any book or index, and visited on the way to a Happy Birthday America school assembly show. The song ‘Hay Tree’ was written earlier this year but no recording or video exists for it is waiting in a batch of LA County songs yet to be recorded. Sure is fun to be a talking tree though. The song was built out of childhood recollection and research into feeds and milk production from the hay tree’s heyday.

HAY TREE © Radio Flier Music

I’m 120 and fifty feet tall
I’m a camphor tree and that ain’t all
I’m the face of the place where they’d decide
The price of hay worldwide

In the morning, first light of day
Fields are rich, misty and grey
Under my watch they’d gather round 
Till the price of the day was to be found

(chorus) Hay tree, maybe, everybody come and visit me
Shady, and I guarantee, to keep you cool and dry
You’ll prefer the hay tree, to any other tree in history
Come see the hay tree, where the price they would decide, the world’s hay supply

Oats, alfalfa, and timothy
Quality clean certified weed-free
And when the season was light on rain
Rye straw and Sudan would be your strain

Farmers, truckers, and dairymen
Ranchers, reporters, notepads and pens
And as my leaves would gently sway
They’d figure out the future of hay
From here the price would be revealed
To the market of the New York mercantile
Where starch shirt men would spin and twirl
To the by-gosh official standard of the world

No one knows why it came about
The hay market center was in Paramount
This California town once called Hynes
The market price from this shade of mine


  1. I checked the tree out via google-street-view.
    I'm concerned by the "Build to Suit" sign on the plot of land right next to the Hay Tree.
    Why doesn't the city of Paramount purchase the land and make it a park?