While I was on a walk yesterday I made the discovery of an intact bale of straw put out for curb collection. Naturally I hurried home to get the station wagon to pick up my new friend.
I stopped the car and got out, ready to grab him and run. When I bent down to pick up the bale by the baling twine I got a wake up call. It wouldn’t budge. It was completely soaked with water.
I’m pretty strong from all the mouse clicking and keyboarding I do, but, surprisingly, I was stymied by what was a probably 80+ pound deadlift. I’m estimating 80+ because it was much heavier than the 50 lb. bags of layer pellets I can barely move.
But while my muscles balked, my passion flared. My passion for free sources of carbon. My passion for not looking like a failed garden dork. Garden dork I’m proud of, failed garden dork, no.
The important thing, I reasoned, standing there in the street, was not to have a twine blow out. A bailing twine blow out is the straw bale equivalent of a cataclysmic grass-bag meltdown. I made sure the twine was intact, in place, and holding the bale properly. It was. The only thing for it was to drag it as far as I could.
I took hold of the twine and hauled back hard. It didn’t want to move at first, but then it finally began to budge. Taking advantage of what little momentum I had going, I kept pulling and waddling backward like a duck as I tried to get it as close to the hatchback as possible. Once there, I swung it around so it was perpendicular to the back of the car. I was going to have to heft up one side and lean it up like a ramp. I tried not to think of how heavy that thing was as I lifted and scooted it up to the bumper.
I might mention that I was trying to make this look fluid, fast and easy so all the mythical people watching wouldn’t be laughing at and/or feeling sorry for me. Plus, I’d left the engine running and was breathing toxic fumes from the exhaust pipe. Please, I told myself, let it slide into the wagon.
I lifted up the down end of the bale and pushed my torso against the end of the bale, shoving it back and forth to make it “walk” forward. Thanks to the plastic liner in my wagon back, it blessedly scooted until it was clear of the hatch.
I swaggered back to the driver’s seat wearing my casual, I-do-this-every-day face. Piece of cake, I tried to communicate with my body language.
A body completely covered in pieces of straw.
I’m enjoying my hard-earned straw bale. I’ve turned it into the basis for a spring compost pile and given some of it to the hens to scratch through. It may even become a 18-day Berkeley method pile if I can recover fully from the effort of getting it in the car.