After the first few awkward moments when I try to explain who I am, where I'd gotten the number and what I was looking for he seemed very sorry that, no he didn't have any barley straw. On the verge of hanging up, he said, "would wheat straw work?". Why yes it would. It would be my second choice, but it never occurred to me to ask because I have never heard of anyone growing it in this area. He said he'd planted a bit just as an experiment. My hopes were nearly dashed again when he said the bales were the giant square kind that weigh 650-700 lbs.
me: "There is no way I can handle one of those and I don't have any way to move it."
Farmer: "No problem, I'll just bring it to you."
me: look at phone in amazement, "but I can't move it once it gets here."
Farmer: "No problem, we can just slide it off wherever you want it. Don't worry, I'll help you. We'll put it wherever you need it."
me: blink in astonishment, look at phone again. "That sounds good, what would that cost?"
Farmer: "Well, I never usually sell just one these, hmmm, would $40 be too much."
me: "Uh no, that would be just fine. Absolutely fine."
So, I made a space and a little platform for the straw in my shed. Ramsey immediately gave it his seal of approval...
Here is where my second clever idea comes in, just in case you ever find yourself in possession of a 650 pound, ultra compressed bale of wheat straw which will explode everywhere as soon as the strings are cut.
Find some lengths of heavy twine and cut just one of the middle strings. Use your other string to splice it back together leaving 3-4 inches of slack. Repeat for each of the strings. The bale will pop open and loosen enough to pull some straw out, but won't escape to run rampant all over the farm. The strings can be re-tightened as needed to keep order.
It'a always useful to have someone check your knots when all is done...
It seems to pass inspection. And sorry for the blurry photos, it was one of those bleak November days with no light. The flash makes everything look weird and without the flash, blurry.