From time to time, I trek out to the feed store and buy a bale of straw. It’s cheap, smells of the country, and comes in handy on the ‘city farm’. I use it to mix into the compost bins, to layer in the chicken run, and to cover the potatoes as they grow up in their buckets.
The problem with buying straw is that I don’t have a very good straw-hauling vehicle. This issue was made even more obvious this past trip to the feed store when they told me that the straw bales this time around were over 100 pounds.
This didn’t fully register to me until I saw two guys pick up the bale and try to shove it in the back of my wagon. Normally, one guy does this job effortlessly. This time, they complained about the weight of the straw. They groaned as they shoved it into the back of my car far enough that I could close the hatch. It took them some effort.
I looked at them and said, “I’m not sure how I’m gonna get that back out.”
They shrugged and laughed as I drove away. “Good luck.”
By the time I got home, my plan of action included taking the bale apart and carting it over to the chicken shed a chunk at a time. But because I didn’t want loose straw all over the place, I decided that I should first build some sort of container for the straw. I wanted to keep it as intact as possible for as long as possible.
I already knew my chickens would see loose straw as an invitation to go crazy and spread it all over the yard. Such are the ways of my chickens. They assume that straw is put there for them, and they have exclusive rights to it. They made a mess out of the last, much smaller bale. They’re drawn to it. They can’t help themselves. While I worked, I shooed them out over and over. They ignored me.
I finished my job and went in the house for some water. When I came back, I found a gift left there by Hattie. I reached in to gather it and inhaled that wonderful smell of the country. I was itchy and sweaty, but so thankful to have a bit of that country in my back yard.
It was a good day.