Levin, who manages his sister's estate, constantly has to make sure that the peasants don't cheat him, since he's not on site to monitor them.
In the middle of July, Levin insists on his share of the hay being re-calculated. He feels that the headman of his sister's village and the peasants are refusing to pay him what the true value of the meadow's hay is currently worth.
When the last of the hay is weighed and his clerk is supervising the distribution, Levin sits on a haystack and watches the peasants in the field bailing the hay.
An old man sits besides Levin and strikes up a conversation. He is a beekeeper, and his son, Ivan Parmenov, is working the fields with his wife of two years. Levin watches the young couple, sees their physical vitality and young love, and becomes caught up in watching their tasks.