Block of the Week: Hay Bale

The horse chow treat that's safe to fall for

Spring is here! The sun is shining, birds are singing, and bees are ruining the picnics. Hey, at least we can have picnics again! It's stopped getting dark about twenty minutes after the sun comes up and each day is a fun new opportunity to skip and dance and have fun! Hoorah! Until the hay fever kicks in. Then it's back inside to sit in the dark for the rest of the year, sniffling and miserable. Spring is ruined, all thanks to hay. Hay, you traitorous snake.

That's why we prefer hay bales in Minecraft, where instead of ruining our lives, they sometimes save them. Landing on a hay bale in the game reduces any fall damage by 80%. That means you could potentially fall from a hundred blocks high and survive. Just. Our legal team cannot stress enough that you should only try that in Minecraft.

The hay bale block is also an excellent source of food, restoring up to ten points to your hungry animals. Foals that eat hay bales will actually grow into horses faster. Because who needs a rich and fulfilling childhood when you can just eat your way to the responsibilities, disappointments and baldness of adult life early? Don't do it, foals! Embrace your youth!

The expression 'needle in a haystack' is from Sir Thomas More, who wrote "to seek out one line in his books would be to go looking for a needle in a meadow". Wait, meadow? Image by Tony Webster.

You're just nine wheat away from a hay bale! And ninety-something hay bales away from building a straw house! We built a straw house once but then a wolf blew it down and ate us. True story.

They're flammable in Minecraft and just as happy to burn in real life, as hay bales spontaneously combusting is a serious problem. Perhaps consider building your home from something else.

You can make your own hay right this very second by going out to your garden and ripping up some grass. After several days of watching this grass not grow, you'll be the proud owner of some genuine home made hay! This process is fine for a small amount, but making enough hay bales for an entire farmyard is the kind of horrific 'hard work' and 'real job' us writer types have dedicated our cushy lives to cleverly avoiding. Hay-baling was indeed dreadful for hundreds of years until the middle of the 19th century, which saw the innovations of the mechanical hay press.

Early mechanical hay presses were cumbersome, occupying multiple floors of your barn and requiring a pack of horses. Said horses would then lift something called a 'press weight' (or turn a jackscrew or geared press) which compressed the hay into that lovely bale shape. These presses may have occupied a lot of space, but the resulting bales were huge too, some weighing as much as 300 pounds.

Over time, industrial progress made making hay bales easier and easier. Now the biggest problem isn't turning lousy floor-hay into a glorious bale, but making sure it doesn't randomly burst into flames. It's true! If you don't watch the moisture of content of a hay bale, they have been known to spontaneously combust. So a hay bale is capable of both blocking our sinuses and burning us alive? Well then keep that dumb straw cube away from us. Hahahaha! Take that, hay bales!

See you next time, Block of the Week fans!

Tom leans back in his chair, smugly chuckling at another BOTW well done. He really stuck it to that dumb hay bale block! Tom sniffs. His eyes suddenly feel puffy. Strange... His allergies never usually play up in the office. Tom glances out of the window. His jaw drops. He sees it sat on the roof of his car.
It's a hay bale, somehow holding an axe, waiting.
Waiting for him.
Swallowing a scream, Tom hastily writes a new ending.

H-how about a r-round of applause for hay bales, right guys?! They're the b-b-best block ever!

But it's too late. The window smashes! A blood-curdling wail rings out into the night. Tom is never seen again. But probably only because he's trying to get out of writing the next Block of the Week.