Straw (wo)Man

by Daisy on 03/25/2014

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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.






{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Elaine March 25, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Very cute, and well written! I got a kick out of this piece.

Sherry Cioci March 26, 2014 at 4:10 am

Thanks for the morning snicker.

Angela Bergeron March 26, 2014 at 4:21 am

Haha! Way to be persistent . I can relate. I bought hay for the bunnies last fall, but when I got home I noticed it was mostly straw and they won’t eat that. So I put it out front to decorate and forgot about it. Now its frozen solid and was such a pain to move to give my bulbs some sun. When mine thaws I plan to make it compost too.

Jessica March 26, 2014 at 5:06 am

This was great! Thanks for the snicker. I pick stuff up from the side of the road all the time! I haven’t had this happen yet, but I could see myself in that position. Ha ha. I hope your chickens enjoy in your triumph as well!

Holly March 26, 2014 at 6:10 am

Rock on straw woman!

Connie March 26, 2014 at 6:19 am

I’ve field lifted those things to the wagons (throwing) and worked the wagon (stacking) and let me tell you, it ain’t easy.
I salute you!!
Love to read your adventures. πŸ™‚

Dana Mann March 26, 2014 at 7:37 am

I think the title should have been Straw “WHOA” man!

TerriSue March 26, 2014 at 7:40 am

Just how tall are you? I’m just asking because at 5’4″ I just don’t know how I could have managed the last part of this feat. You’ve just amazed me. I also am a side of the road scavenger. We used to put things that were perfectly good out by the street the day before trash pick-up. Never had anything end up going into the trash truck. Now we have joined Free-Cycle and list our things there and pick up amazing items for free. Two of our best have been a king size hardwood quilting frame someone had inherited and didn’t want. The other a two year old refrigerator much larger than the one we had that every hour or so would make squealing, screaming noises as if it was about to die. It was original to the house which had been built in 1982. We bought it in 2003. One month after we moved in it started screaming. we just never had the money to replace it. Then in 2012 I saw this one up, and they only lived three blocks away. All it cost was the the rental of a hand cart and my husband walked it home. Why were they getting rid of it? They were re-doing their kitchen and it was the wrong color!!! It doesn’t match my kitchen either, but I’m not complaining.

Edna March 26, 2014 at 7:41 am

Oh my word; Have done exactly the same thing so many times. Determination rules!

Karen Holroyd March 26, 2014 at 7:47 am

What a funny story! I can relate because I, too, am a “Picker”. It is amazing the things people put out in their trash! The old ( and yes overused) cliche does rule: One man’s (and woman’s) trash is another’s treasure!

Scott March 26, 2014 at 8:22 am

hmmmm. A little hemp rope tied to the station wagon would have save you some trouble.

Jennifer March 26, 2014 at 8:23 am

Been there, done that. Thank for the smile today.

Angelique March 26, 2014 at 8:54 am

LOL!! Congratulations on your straw bale victory!

Kathy March 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

Great read!!! You have quite the creative writing flair! I must say that sounds exactly like something I would do! I can’t resist slowing down as I drive pass a curbside pile:)

Kathy March 26, 2014 at 9:41 am

Well written…I could relate to all the thoughts you portrayed and also the struggle and the victory. You captured the raw spirit of a determined picker! I wonder why (and don’t worry, I’m right there with you) can’ t we just loosen our pride a bit and see if one of those imaginary onlookers would care to help us! Hope your body heals soon. πŸ˜‰

DanielleCara March 26, 2014 at 9:58 am

May I confess that I was scrolling down in the midst of reading this entertaining jot to look for photographic evidence of said escapade? Alas, there were none!

p.s. Good work!

Caitlin | The Siren's Tale March 26, 2014 at 11:03 am

Very funny story πŸ™‚ Glad you got the bale in your car and your chickens are enjoying the benefits!

Shar March 27, 2014 at 8:19 am

Good job! I’ve done the same thing before. Mine has been mostly getting bags of leaves in town. Of course that takes paying attention to the red maple tree yards as I don’t want the leaves from red maples (HIGHLY TOXIC). Leaves are so abundant I can get them for the poultry and composting, not to mention if I have carrots or parsnips to cover so I can continue to dig them during the winter. And, even though I NEVER have extra compost, if I did, I’d be bagging and selling it!

Keep up the good/”green” job!

Linda March 27, 2014 at 10:20 am

High five for all your effort!! I don’t know about other places, but here in Oregon straw-bales are used near storm drains and street gutters to hold back debris from clogging drain systems. Just wanted people to be aware in the future. Otherwise you had a great find! Lots of exercise, happy chickens and a great start for the compost pile.

Laura March 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Hi…kudos to you not only for hefting the bale of hay, but for writing about it in such a manner that I found myself weaving back and forth, while reading, helping you get the darn thing into the car! I caught myself and between your blog and my focus on your blog, I got a great laugh!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Ha! I appreciate the help, I really do! Thank you!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Thanks for the 5!
I’ve never seen that done here, so I think we’re ok! Not near a storm drain anyway so that clears that up πŸ™‚

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I wish I had parsnips. I love parsnips. Never heard that about red maple. I’ve always only avoided nut trees. Thanks!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Thank you, Caitlin!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Yes, I wasn’t thinking it was particularly blog-worthy at the time. Only in retrospect does it occur to me.

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm

True. I hate to bother people. I don’t know why, I like to help other people, most of us do.

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:42 pm

I know! Ever have to circle back?

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:43 pm


Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:44 pm

It’s raining now. Somewhere a straw bale is getting soaked and ready for me πŸ˜‰

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:44 pm

You’re going to have to explain that technique to me.

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Doesn’t hurt to look!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:46 pm

My husband tried to make me promise not to do it again. Tried.

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I’m taller than that but I think you could have done it. It’s not a truck so it’s pretty low to the ground. I’m so jealous of your quilting frame. And I have a harvest gold range from the seventies, so I applaud your disregard for matching appliances.

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:48 pm


Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:49 pm

That would take some muscles. I salute YOU!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Mercy, don’t make me rock for another week at least πŸ™‚

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm

I give them a flake or so every day and they scratch it to the four corners of the run in no time flat. You should see those little feet fly.

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Hope spring comes for you soon!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Thanks, Sherry!

Daisy March 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Thank you!

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