Friday, July 29, 2005

Europe 2005 - Hay

I didn't think I would be making a post on this trip about hay but they store it in so many ways its thaumaturgic (thanks Brant!)
Besides the plain hay bails the current modern way for storing hay that I have seen in the USA is to have it matted down then rolled up into a roll about 7 feet high. Leslie's brother thought they were cow blankets when he was younger so that is the easiest way to refer to them.
In Britain it rains enough that it looks like they have to shrink wrap their cow blankets so when they use white plastic it looks like a bunch of giant marshmallows growing in the field. When they used black plastic and stored it next to the barn it looked like the barn had tank treads and could drive out to where the cows where.
In Italy they still used hay bails but they stacked them all 3 bails high. After having visited Stonehenge seeing so many pillars randomly in the hay fields I kept remembering the scene from "Close Encounters" - "This means something, it must."
In Romania they use the good old hay stack. There's a wooden pole in the middle and using the pitch forks they stack the hay up around it. The only thing is that every farmer seems to have his own acceptable width. Some were tall and skinny and looked like a 12 foot tall "Cousin It" from “The Adams Family”. Others looked like wide enough to be the grass huts from National Geographic. In the Czech Republic the hay is stacked in one place for the field. This makes for giant 30-40 foot mountains of hay that can be 70 feet wide.
As far as collection goes I have seen everything from the guys out their scythe slicing away and the usual tractor debate between International red and john deer green.
The transportation of hay always seems to be the same way, piled up 15 feet in an old truck with at least 4 people riding on the top or stacked up high on a donkey cart riding in the slow lane.(from behind it looks like a haystack traveling down the road.)

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