Straw

IMG_6234 copyThe hottest days of summer are the days when straw is baled and when we started baling today, temperatures were in the high 80s. After a fairly trouble-free harvest of wheat when time was spent mostly in a combine or hauling wheat to market in trucks, now it is time to be back in the great outdoors.

When heads of wheat are cut, what remains is the straw stalk. Straw is either chopped by the combine and left to add organic matter to the soil or is baled and used to bed cattle. This bedding keeps them dry and clean. Luckily for our employees and family, we now bale a lot of straw in big round bales.straw bales

Today, though, the more labor intensive small square ones are being expelled out the back of the baler as fast as boys can catch them and load them on a wagon. Then a tractor pulls them to a barn where they are promptly unloaded. The boys who unload wagons get hot and sticky and little bits of pointy, itchy bits of straw chaff stick to their bodies. But they are the lucky ones because they can often catch a cooling breeze.

Inside the haymow are the unlucky boys who catch bales and stack them in place. There is no air movement up there in the sweltering heat pouring over them like hot water and there are no sissies there either. To be fair, boys take turns between the mow and unloading wagons. Any of the boys who survive days in the mow or on the wagon and come back for more the next day deserve enormous respect.

Note: People from towns or cities often ask how to tell the difference between hay and straw. It’s easy: hay is green/brown and used for feed and straw is yellow/brown and used for bedding.

clover

When I was small my Dad picked a clover flower and pulled out the tiny petals to show me how sweet they taste. Just a little bite off the light end. No wonder the cattle like them!

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2 thoughts on “Straw

  1. Hi Connie,
    I work with your Son-in-law Larry who has been forwarding your blog. As a former farm girl, (who stacked hay & straw up in the mow) I’d like to thank you for your stories. They are a wonderful depiction of country life. I also wanted to share a FB posting I saw earlier this year– What’s the best sentence you can hear in summer? “The last bale is on the elevator!!!” Thanks again for sharing your talent.

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