Round Hay and Giant Marshmallows

August 27th, 2007

The field beyond our property still has a dozen or so round hay bales in it. The hay was cut in June, but that particular farmer decided to leave the hay in place for now. I’m not a farmer… I just love the rural life. Maybe we’ll be hobby farmers over time with a few more animals. But I enjoy looking at hay bales for some strange reason… it seems like “food in the pantry” when you see them all neatly tied up. But why do farmers choose round bales over square ones? Any math folks out there? My hunch is that it relates to the most efficient manner of storing the largest volume of hay. But don’t they lose some portion of the hay to the elements over time if not stored in a barn? When I drive throughout Missouri, I have noted some farms will wrap their round bales up very tightly in sheets of white plastic to preserve them.

A round bale of hay sits in the field in late August

It was so cute last year… I was driving with the young one, then 5 years old, and as we came down a long hill with the pastoral view of several farms and red barns in fields, he said, “Daddy! Look! Giant marshmallows!” I looked and chuckled to myself… he was so right, there were several rows of round hay bales all wrapped up in white and looking just like giant marshmallows. We were going camping, and planned on roasting some of our own! I went along with it for a time, but then my rational self explained a little about what they really were. “Oh.” he said…obviously disappointed by this new reality. Now I can’t help but think of giant marshmallows every time I see them.

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