Trip to a Hay Meadow


Hay stacked up to the rafters is, at this time of year, akin to a full pantry. You just want to stand around and stare at the jars, I mean bales, and soak up the satisfaction of being prepared for winter.

I remember when I didn’t know the difference between hay and straw. How times have changed.

This is straw, sitting by a fodder shock, waiting for some pumpkins to show up and complete the party.
Straw is a little more yellow than hay. Hay is a little more green. That’s the main difference between straw and hay. Okay! Stop beating me, you real country people! Straw is the hollow stalks of grain left after threshing. Animals will eat it (case in point, mine, whenever fresh straw is put out–animals love fresh straw! the goats eat it, the chickens peck it for bugs, etc, fresh straw is always very exciting!) but it’s not particularly nutritious as the good stuff’s been stripped out of it. Animals won’t really eat a whole lot of it, unless they’re starving. It’s just a curiosity they get excited about whenever new bedding is put down then they get over it and start sleeping on it. Hay is the real deal, good stuff included. Hay is made up of grasses, alfalfa, clover, etc, that is grown specifically for food for animals, particularly in the winter when fresh grass is unavailable.

This is hay.
Sometimes I’ll hear people on television talking about fall decorating and referring to straw (which is cheaper and what is normally sold for craft/decorating purposes) as hay. I always find that amusing. Because I used to do that.

We took a drive in the country and picked up a load of hay this past weekend. Hay’s cheaper if you get it right out of the field. Then the farmer doesn’t have to haul it and store it. This farmer’s got his hay trained up like sheep. See his hay bales dotting?
If I feed dotting hay to clumping sheep, will it make the sheep dot or the hay clump?
We drove back and forth and around the meadow, picking up bales of hay.
The hay jumped right into the back of the truck! I didn’t have to do a thing.
I told you that farmer had his hay trained up right! The hay even volunteered to drive the truck while I took pictures.
Okay, maybe somebody was there doing all the heavy lifting and the truck driving. But the hay was still dotting, that part of the story is all true!
Well, the farmer is really the one who made it dot. In fact, the hay didn’t do a single thing. It just sat there.
Does this mean the sheep are going to keep right on clumping because there’s no such thing as dotting hay?
It was a lovely October day to spend in the slanted little hay meadow.
I watched the rear view mirror all the way home, expecting to see hay bales tumbling off, even though everything was tied down.
Everything stayed put. And then somebody unloaded it all and stacked it up.
The hay stockpiling isn’t finished. This is just a start. I told 52 he should go back for another load before the farmer hauls it and stores it and charges more. Though I’m kinda busy so I don’t think I can make the second trip.
Only I just don’t know how he’ll do it without my help!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 6, 2009  

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20 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-6

    Nothing smells sweeter than 2nd cutting hay. I could sleep on it.

  2. 10-6

    I didn’t know the difference either. Thanks for the education. More important, your pictures are gorgeous!

  3. 10-6

    Looks like the hay fields near my home. I like watching the farmers bail that stuff. We sat on my mom’s porch one day watching her farmer neighbor bail hay. Those machines are reall cool to watch do all the work. My dh tells me how he used to help on his neighbors farm picking up the hay bails out of the fields. It was hard work he told me. lol.

    Looks like you had a nice day to get all that work done. Make sure you give 52 a good back rub for all his hard work. :)

  4. 10-6

    All the hay I have put up in my youth and I didn’t have anyone to get a picture of it. Where were you in my youth?

  5. 10-6

    Every summer for years and years my granddad would gather me and my siblings and we’d put up hay for what seemed like forever. Days, weeks, months! Hot and sweaty work it was. Then he’d take us all out to dinner and we thought we were Overpaid! :snoopy:
    Smart man, my grandad.

  6. 10-6

    Thank for the memories of haying! It looks like you had a nice day for it–it will stay fresh and not get moldy if you can keep it as dry as possible.

  7. 10-6

    Oh, Suzanne!!! What a wonderfully lucky woman you are! To have this lovely man to share your life with and help you do all the things you want to do! How do I know you are lucky? Because I am, too! I have my own “52” that entered my life just seven years ago. We don’t have a farm (yet) but we have a good life together. And our husbands are lucky because WE know how lucky we are!
    Hay is beautiful….when I was a kid and lived on my cousin’s farm in Missouri, every two years or do he would bale a large field of clover. The cows enjoyed it but I think my cousin just really liked the way it made the barn smell up in the hayloft! If only we could bottle the scents of freshly baled sweet clover, cows in their stalls below and dusty motes in late summer sunshine!
    Enjoy your day, Suzanne.

  8. 10-6

    I feel the same way about a barn full of hay. It is comforting to know that my critters have their own “full pantry” for the long winter.
    ~Corinne in Iowa where I don’t have dotting sheep or clumping sheep-just ‘lil spotted sheep : )

  9. 10-6

    :hungry2: I love getting hay…it smells sooooo good. I used to have horses years ago and this was another thing that made fall so enjoyable. Now that we’ve got the dinky donkey coming I get to enjoy it all over again…which reminds me…we better get our butts in gear and find out where we can buy some around here! :hungry2:

  10. 10-6

    The are baling hay around here too. It started raining yesterday, I hope they got it all up before the showers started.
    If you put several bales of hay out, I wonder if the sheep would clump all around one, or if they would choose one each? Making it look like they were dotting.

  11. 10-6

    Ahaa…I clicked over on the highlighted “52” and had a chance to meet the man! What a great catch.

  12. 10-6

    I think further research on the “dotting bales begatting dotting sheep” is in order…hmm..veerry interesting..

    Your bales look lovely. Here in Eastern Iowa no one has good hay from this summer…the weather did not cooperate. No, not once.

  13. 10-6

    Greetings from north central PA! Isn’t country living wonderful? I was born and raised a country girl and there’s nothing else I’d rather be. I’m currently raising 10 chickens, two cats, a 16-year-old grand daughter who refers to herself as “Redneck Woman,” and a wonderful husband. I can relate to your stories about chickens. No “Mean Rooster” but maybe someday. Keep up the good work and look forward to reading about your country adventures. Have a great day!

  14. 10-6

    52 sure is handy to have around! I was wondering if the dotting hay only occured in your part of the world, like crop circles?

  15. 10-6

    I need to get me one of them 52s. My neighbors and I hay my field with an all female haying crew. A 52 might be handy to have around.

  16. 10-6

    Well, I sorta knew the difference between straw and hay, but not completely! Thanks for being my Wikipedia this morning!! Your post took me back to my first days as a volunteer at a family run zoo north of Frederick, MD a few years ago. I’d been wearing sneakers until after the day of the hay assignment! I carried small bales of hay to a little wooden shelter in the deer pen, and ended up with mud/deer poop/mush all over the poor shoes (and socks). After that, it was solid hiking boots.

  17. 10-6

    I’ve always gotten hay and straw mixed up – your explanation is great! Thanks!

  18. 10-6

    How funny, Suzanne! I am writing about hay at my blog, too!! I’d love you to do another blog workshop, BTW. Check mine out, please.

    Thanks for all the useful info and recipes.

  19. 10-6

    What a satisfying feeling to have the barn filled with sweet smelling hay.

  20. 10-7

    How funny and informative at the same time! I never knew the difference between straw and hay, although I did know there was a difference. Just didn’t know what it was.

    Your muffins in the prior post look SO good! Oh my. I’m definitely going to have to try those. I’m sure they will be our favorite, too. :)

    God bless you ~ Julie

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