What the Hay?
Snack: Haystack Cookies: melt one
cup of butterscotch chips and ½ cup of peanut butter in the microwave for about
three minutes, or until melted. Stir in ½ cup of peanuts and 2 cups of dry chow
mein noodles. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper, using the spoon to shape each
lump into a "haystack." Let cool. Makes about 2 dozen.
Clean, seedless straw
from a farm supply store - one compressed bale should supply enough for 10-20
students making small sculptures - if you wish, an adult can chop or shred the
hay using a weed whacker or chipper-shredder machine -- or the
students can cut their
own pieces with scissors
Soak the chopped hay in
a large clean container in a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part glue; the
quantity depends on the amount of hay
Recycled baling wire
or chicken wire, wiped clean | wire cutter | twine
Rubber bands | extra
glue | old newspapers
of the most unusual and adorable art contests in the country is the "What the
Hay?" sculpture contest. It is celebrated in September in the towns of Hobson, Utica
and Windham in north-central Montana. Instructions are below for students who
wish to make a mini hay sculpture, but first, let's learn about the Montana
Locate Montana on the U.S. map, and then find those three
towns within the state.
Read how the contest got started on:
The contest began in 1990. It normally has more than 50
entries, mostly created by farmers and ranchers in the area, but the contest is
open to anyone from anywhere. There are two categories: adults, and children 12
and under. The only rule is that the work of art must be made of hay.
The titles tend to be very clever and incorporate the
word "hay" or plays on words that have something to do with hay. They may tie
in to current events, the popular culture, agricultural lifestyles and so
forth. Examples: from children's TV, "Cookhay Monster," and from movies, "Straw
The hay creations are displayed along the highway
connecting the three towns.
Judging is by a team of art experts - or maybe it's hay
experts - and everyone celebrates with a barbecue.
Here are some past entries, as shown in the Great Falls Tribune:
make a crown on the 45-foot-tall "Statue of Libert Hay" during the
annual What the Hay! contest near Hobson on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006. About 50
hay and straw bale creations were displayed this year between the towns of
Hobson, Utica and Wimdham.
other memorable sculptures: "Haylicopter," "Pirates of the Carhaybean," "Tonhay
Lama Boots," "Ra-hay-ging Bulls," and "Pink Flhaymingo."
How about making your own hay sculpture? In a group or by
yourself, come up with an idea for something that you can create in the amount
of time you have, and think up a catchy name for it.
can use a small amount of clean craft hay from a crafts store. Or, if you have
a lot of students, you can buy larger amounts in compressed bales from a
country supply store, usually located on the edges of a city. They might give
it to you free or at a reduced price.
Here's how to "sculpt":
- Lay out old newspapers to catch scraps.
- Cut or carve hay off a bound bale . . . chop it
up with a shredder or weed whacker . . . and soak it in a clean garbage
can filled with one part glue to three parts of water.
- Squeeze the hay fairly dry, and then form it
into the desired shape. Hold it together by rolling twine, wire or rubber
bands around it. After it dries, you can glue fresh hay pieces over the
twine to hide it, or cut off the rubber bands or wire, if you wish.
- Or you can shape the form in advance with
bendable chicken wire and "pomp" (or stick) tufts of hay inside the
- Or build your shape with cardboard, Styrofoam,
clay or other frame structures, and hot-glue chopped hay in place.
Keep in mind that after it dries, you can spray-paint,
brush-paint, add moving features, or otherwise finish your sculpture. Be sure
to sweep up all excess hay and offer it to a local gardener for mulch, or to
someone with guinea pigs for bedding.
of all, keep the sculpting process fun, and don't take too much time with it.
the saying goes: you've got to make hay while the sun shines!