May 25, 2020
I helped my grandfather during the hay baling harvest several different times. This was a good thing for him because it was labor intensive, but it was also a good thing for me because as a minor it as one of the few ways I could earn money. My role in the process was to walk along behind the baler and throw the bales up to the person stacking on the trailer. The stacker was an uncle who knew how to stack the bales so they did not tip over. After the trailer was filled to the right height, we would go back to the barn and unload the hay into the loft.
While I understood the need for hay to feed the cattle, baling the straw was more of a mystery to me. The straw generally came from the wheat fields after the grain had been harvested. The dead stocks that were left in the field after the heads had been cut off were collected and bailed up into straw. This straw was seen by my grandfather as a precious commodity, although as a teenager I found it of little worth. I knew it was used as bedding for calving cows, but frankly I never saw a cow calve on the farm.
Jump forward fifty years and I have found a new reverence for the maligned straw of my youth. I went to the supply store and picked up a bag of straw on Saturday. I learned online that once my potatoes were about 18” high I should mulch them with straw. The straw would not only protect them from folding over from the weight of the plants, it also provided the mulch that retained water during the hotter months of summer. Just to be safe I mulched the melon and strawberries with the straw as well.
THOUGHTS: There are many awareness’s as we transition into our new reality. We are finding that some of the things we used to do are no longer relevant. At the same time, there are some of the things we now do that are deemed essential. It seems much of what we deem essential depends on our perspective. I hope you can decide what is important is your life, and then whether or not anyone else thinks it is important, you make sure to do it. If you venture out, stay safe.