[Sca-cooks] pennsci hay

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Tue Aug 1 07:26:01 PDT 2006

> However, what the Coopers sell are straw bales, not hay bales. I used  
> to say they were hay bales but got sternly corrected on that.  
> Apparently there are various advantages of using straw instead of hay  
> in durability and the moisture. This is the same reason that they  
> make houses out of straw bales, not hay bales.
> However, some of these concerns may still apply to straw bales as  
> well as hay bales.

Yes, similar concerns apply, though wet straw is nowhere near as likely 
to reach combustion temperature internally, since it is more completely 
dry. There will be fewer weed seeds since most straw comes from cereal 
crops that are intensively farmed and often treated with selective 
herbicide. However, that does not stop there from being weed seeds.

To bring this back to period, I recently read somewhere that there were 
in fact multiple cuttings of hay in the season, just as there are now. 
(Usually there is first, second, and third cutting, Stefan; the first is 
often considered premium.) I knew that August was haying season in 
period and assumed that was the only hay cutting, but apparently in some 
places and time hay was cut up to 3 times. (Now, I just have to find the 
book where I read that! I'm thinking it was _The Medieval Year_.)

In terms of strewing things, I've been warned more than once about being
careful what herbs we strew lest certain animals get ahold of it. Modern
horses, in particular, apparently tend to go straight for the things
that they shouldn't eat. I'm currently kicking myself for the basket of 
strewing herbs I made for a friend's laureling, as it included some 
plants in bloom-- which I try to avoid to cut down pollen-- and 
lavender, which one of the Laurels present is allergic to. However, it 
was an outdoor ceremony and no one suffered ill effects, so all's well 
that ends well; but I'll never cut strewing herbs in the near-dark 

-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net 
"History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it screams
'Why don't you ever listen to me?' and lets fly with a club."

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