Making Hay in Transylvania

I love finding some ordinary part of life that is so vastly different in a foreign land.  Such as the simple matter of how to store hay for the livestock for the winter. As Russell and Holmes travel through Transylvania towards the village of Bran, they see a rural landscape that is both familiar…and very much otherwise:

I began to catch sight of the haystacks that I had been seeing all day from the train. Nothing like the familiar piled domes of England, these were six or eight metres high with a trimmed sapling protruding from the top. The stacks marched over the countryside like a clan of enormous, shaggy creatures.

“Those haystacks look like gigantic bears,” I said to Holmes, after a while. “Or those mythic Himalayan creatures said to live above the snow line.”

(Image from here.)

“One  does  wonder  if  the  local  hooligans  don’t  occasionally adorn them with a pair of dinner plate–sized eyes.”

I laughed, then with a glance at the driver—behind a glass shield, but still—lowered my voice. “They do rather loom. I’d have thought the people would build their horror tales around those things, rather than dead folk climbing from their graves.”


Moonlight is always uncanny. It obscures as much as it reveals, putting every object into sharp and deceptive contrast. Here, it exaggerated the presence of those haystacks. I found myself trying to catch them move. As if they were trolls or woolly mammoths, dancing an imperceptibly slow pavane across the fields.

(Image from here.)

And here’s how it’s done:


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  1. Sandy on June 22, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    This is totally refreshing. I loved it. . . my son in law is a frustrated farmed and I will send him this video! I never would have thought to watch anything like this but here I am enjoying every moment. I kept wondering, does that man sleep well at night? Does he eat well? What does he think about during all of that quiet manly work? How strong is he? I live near Amish so I am accustomed to haystacks, but now I know where my friends the Stackpole’s got their names.

    • Laurie King on June 22, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      I love the idea of this being the basis of the Stackpole name.

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