belly full o' bean soup

This will be an educational post. Don't worry, though; I know you've always wanted to be educated about the topic of this educational post.

Having read hundreds [possibly thousands] of books that have touched on briefly [or in great detail] either hay or straw, I often wondered aloud in my head, in the split-second moment that I pay homage to the tiny black dot declaring the statement I just read to be complete, "Are hay and straw two different things?" But then I continue on with my reading, and the thought is forgotten. Until the next mention of straw or hay. And the cycle continues.

Cycle, STOP. I am here to save the day.

Before launching into this eye-opening topic, I suppose I should mention what triggered my desire to be ignorant no longer. String of events commence!

  • Jason and I like to read books to each other. We each have books we're reading separately on our own and then a nice easy read together. I wanted to reread the Little House of the Prairie series [nostalgia!] and since Jason easily gives in to my random whims and fancies, Laura Ingalls it was. [Adult observation: Ma Ingalls seems a tad racist against Indians.] We've made it all the way to the Long Winter, and I think it's safe to say that we are both thoroughly enjoying it. However, it is no surprise that hay and straw come up pretty frequently in this type of story, so... Event number 1. 
    • Reaction:  Hm, what's the difference between hay and straw?  
  • The Civil War era book I was reading on my own also mentioned straw and hay, though for a more amusing reason. Apparently, when recruiting young, probably not very educated, farm boys, there was the very irking problem of them not knowing their right from their left. When teaching them how to march in unison, this was... an issue. Hay and straw to the rescue! Obviously the poor lads, having grown up on a farm, knew the difference between hay and straw. So, tying a bit of hay to the left foot and a bit of straw to the right, their drill sergeants could guarantee marching synchronicity by referring to their "hay foot" or "straw foot." I find this brilliant and hilariously awesome. And, people, THERE IS A SONG.
March! March! March, old soldier, march!  
Hayfoot, strawfoot, 
Belly full o' bean soup.
March, old soldier, march! 
Event number 2.  
    • Reaction:  Hm, what is the difference between hay and straw?
  • As Jason mentioned in the previous post, we went to Kennett Square's Mushroom Festival this past weekend. [Incidentally, this brought back super strong memories (some really good and others not so much) of the hours spent in similar festivals helping out at my brother's booth. It's intriguing to me how clearly I can relive certain moments and how certain smells or sounds can instantaneously transport me to a different time. I like it.] There was a Mushroom Exhibit tent that was poorly queued. Inside the tent, there was just a long line of tables that attempted to show a progression of how to grow and harvest mushrooms. The first table had containers of various things such as... hay and straw [and horse manure, but that's not really relevant]. Honestly, the material in each little container looked the same to me, so it was only helpful in piquing my interest, yet again, to find out what in the world made hay and straw noticeably different. [I suppose I should also mention that the container labeled 'horse manure' also only contained a straw/hay-like material, which was very clearly not horse manure, so... maybe the material in the straw and hay containers was not actually correctly labeled either and that's why it all looked like the same stuff? (Hey {hay?}, maybe the horse manure was relevant!) Obviously, I did not understand this part of the mushroom presentation.] Thus concludes Event number 3. 
    • Reaction:  WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAY AND STRAW? Imustfindoutimmediatelyorlifewillnotmakesense.

So. Clearly, all of these events in succession demanded that I remedy my ignorance when it comes to hay and straw. Clearly. As soon as we got home from mushrooming, I went to the google and got 'er done. [FYI, searching for "What's the difference between h..." you will find that people have a hard time differentiating between 1) hair and fur, 2) here and there (??), 3) hotel and motel, and 4) hay and straw.] And now... With my newly acquired knowledge, I will enlighten those of you who fit at least one or more of the below conditions:

  1. You are now unbelievably intrigued by the topic of hay and straw differences/definitions but do not consider it a good use of your time to search out these elusive truths for yourself.
  2. You don't think there really is a difference between hay and straw OR you don't see the big deal even if there is, BUT you're willing to humor me and/or you feel compelled to keep reading since you've already devoted so much time and effort to it to turn back now.
  3. You are a 5'2 Korean who is married to a dapper mathematician and you know you will later forget whether hay goes on the left foot or the right foot when teaching your children to march and you just need to jot down the information now for future reference.

If you said yes to one or more of the above, read on. Someday, this information may save a life [who knows?]. You are welcome.

What is it?
  • Hay:  Green grasses or legumes [such as alfalfa or clover] cut and dried.
  • Straw:  The stalks or shafts of grain [such as oats, wheat, barley, or rye] after being threshed and dried.

What is its purpose?  
  • Hay:  Used primarily as fodder for animals.
  • Straw:  Used primarily as bedding for animals [or basket weaving!].

What is the use of this information?
  • Hay
    • You own farm animals:  If you use hay to bed down your animals, they're probably going to eat their bedding.
    • You own a cat:  If you use hay to bed down or feed your animal... no.
    • You don't own animals:  You probably have no use for hay. 
    • Hayfoot is left.
  • Straw
    • Good bedding.
    • Good baskets.
    • Good hats.
    • Not very good food.
    • Strawfoot is right.

What now?
  • As it would be a waste of hay, you probably have never gone on a hayride. It was a strawride. Yep. Straw. Ride.
  • It is very possible I am still sorely mistaken on the fine differences between hay and straw and some hay/straw expert out there is having a conniption because of my oversimplified generalizations.

Ok. Whew. I'm glad all of that is out in the open for the bettering of the world. 

Now, as is usual, I had several things I wanted to mention in this post, but my initial topic got out of hand and so everything else will have to wait until next time. Except there's this one last thing that needs to get taken care of...

Jason and I have typically used separate toothpaste. Weird, I know. We just each had the kind that we liked to use when we got married, and we kept replacing them until that was just what we did. So we had separate toothpaste. No big deal. Anyway, Jason's ran out recently and we haven't gotten around to replacing it yet so he's been using mine and you guys he squeezes it all into the front of the tube. I mean, he really just goes at it. Just squashes the thing, right on the very end of the tube. So every day I slowly squish it in the middle so that it all goes back to both ends and squirt out my toothpaste like the whimsically odd but ever so frolicsome person that I am, and every day he smashes it all back to the front. Oddly enough (because I've heard of couples fighting over this sort of silly thing), I think it's pretty funny. But, he may be getting his own tube again sometime.

My sentiments regarding Jason's toothpaste methods exactly. <3

1 comment:

  1. Haha, you could have asked your old friend! I spent many hours dealing with both. But, it will probably stick with you more since you had to research it yourself.