Meditation on a Moldy Bale of Hay

rotten bale of hay

I noticed  some many of the potatoes in the heavy mulch (Ruth Stout method) garden plot were starting to sunburn two weeks ago.

Sunburn= the potato skin turns green because they are too close to the surface.

I’m running low on old hay, so I called my neighbor to see if he had any old moldy, bales lying around he would sell me.

The bales themselves are not worth a whole lot but the time and fuel needed to load and transport them to our place is.  Last time my neighbor brought me a couple of bales, it meant two trips from his farm with his old Farmall and loader.

“How many do you want?” he asked.

“Could I get three of them?”   😉

“Sure thing!”

Two hours later he pulled into the yard with a trailer…4 rotten bales!

Felt like Christmas morning.

Enough rotten moldy hay to get me into next Summer.

Now there is something special about this neighbor I need to tell you.

First, he would accept no payment for the hay.

Secondly, he is a busy farmer.  He and his brother farm, hundreds, if not thousands of acres, yet he took the time to squeeze in an act of kindness to a fellow-man.

Thirdly, he is an honest man.  There is not a hint of self-serving, manipulative, ulterior motives in any of his dealings with me.

We have two neighbors who will swing by our place after a heavy snow storm and dig out our driveway with their equipment. He is one of those neighbors.

We may not have any dealings with each other for months on end.  It’s not like we are in a card club together and see each other monthly.

Earlier this Summer, this neighbor was setting up a grain bin.  He called to see if I or any of my crew might be able to help for a day or two.  We were right in the middle of tearing off a house roof and I needed every pair of hands I could muster. We were a couple of weeks behind getting to that job and there was no way I could pull off midstream.  I felt slightly conflicted, because here was a neighbor who has repeatedly stopped what he was doing to bale me out.

I also knew he was not the kind of person to harbor any kind of ill will.  He was also dealing with the rainy weather so he would understand the job pressures I was under.  If I could I would.

He is an instrument of goodness.

He quietly plants seeds of goodwill in my heart.

His random acts of kindness go along ways in helping me keep my heart from growing cold.

I have a confession to make.

As I get older, I feel a tendency to pull into myself.  I  have less and less desire to deal with other people’s stuff.

The scriptures (the Bible) talk about in the last days, most men’s  hearts will grow cold.  That’s what I’m talking about.  A hard heart. A cold heart.  A loveless heart. A selfish heart, only looking out for itself.

Who’d a thunk a rotten moldy 3-year-old bale of  hay could counter that pull towards darkness.

But it does.

And in a  small way, interacting with many of you on this blog  also counters that temptation.
Thank you.


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8 Responses to Meditation on a Moldy Bale of Hay

  1. What an eloquent piece on the goodness of interaction, conversation and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. My husband’s ranch partner is a very good man, too. He may not drop what he’s doing but he gets “tuit” as my husband says. We are blessed to have such a good neighbor.
    I didn’t comment on another piece you wrote recently about the incessant talker. Quite frankly it gnawed at me and resonated. I know such people, and your post led me to the realization that that is one of the reasons I blog, to be heard, as I get the sense folks in our blogging community listen.
    Thank you Georgette. You know, that really encouraged me to hear you were still chewing on that other blog post, even though you’d not left a comment. We as bloggers never know who is reading our stuff and whether we’ve touched someone. Later- DM

  2. A beautiful post and a gentle reminder. Thank you.
    thank you Martha. I don’t always do “gentle” very well, so that encouraged me 😉 DM

  3. micey says:

    I love your honesty Doug. I also love that now I’ve spent time with you and your lovely wife IRL, I can hear you speaking these words out loud, your voice. Exactly how big is a bale of hay???
    thank you Michelle. 😉 Well, those bales were at least a couple of hundred pounds each. the one in that picture is about 4 feet high I’m guessing. DM

  4. emjayandthem says:

    Sometimes it truly is the “little things” that remind us of someone’s character and our humanity .. good on you for being able to see it 🙂 ~ MJ
    Yep, it is the little things I pay attention to…the words people use in their unguarded moments are big indicators to me, as well as little actions when they think no one is looking. DM

  5. Theme song: “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart” now that we are all grown up those words can have real meaning. Second verse is especially true. I know you know the song.
    😉 DM

  6. Al says:

    Thank you for that excellent homily, Doug. It spoke into my own present and similar circumstances as only a brother in Christ could share.
    thank you Al for your words of encouragement! DM

  7. shoreacres says:

    My thoughts went off in a slightly different direction. Some people listen to our requests, then give us what we need. Others insist on giving us what they think we need, regardless of our own wishes or desires. There can be quite a difference between “What you need is…” and “What do you need?”
    good point, and I really try to watch that when I’m meeting with someone about a project, not to impose my preferences on them. In this case, I think the neighbor “heard” my heart quite well..he know I would LOVE 4 bales but was reluctant to ask 😉 DM

  8. Billy says:

    We shall all be healed by the smallest of gestures, not the grandest. Woe to us who sit around planning great things and let thousands of small opportunities go by. I am as guilty as anyone.
    good morning Billy, Thanks for your words of encouragement! DM

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