During the summer our family often eats out--out in the hay field. A week ago Friday we unloaded our dinner, a folding table and lawn chairs in a wheat field, where the boys and Betsy were baling straw. Straw is made from the stalks left after grain, such as wheat, barley or oats, is harvested. The hay crew looks forward to handling straw because it is lighter than the hay bales they are accustomed to throwing.
As our crew baled straw into square bales, our farmer friend, Mark Pelton, harvested wheat with his combine on the other side of the field. A semi-truck and trailer waited at the end of the field to haul the wheat to the elevator.
The field was the site of a spontaneous neighborhood farm convention--the driveway was lined with pick-up trucks and several big machines operating in the field. The farmers gathered to discuss the earlier excitement when a nearby field caught fire. Another farmer was baling the wheat straw into round bales, when one bale caught fire. Six round bales and part of the field went up in smoke before the fire truck arrived. The fire burned itself out before much damage was done, but the incident provided the farmers with a story.