The most elegant and common hayricks of Romania are shaped like beehives. This form of hayrick has a central pole that can be 12 feet in height. These poles appear to be cut from the trunks of young conifers. They are about three inches in diameter and retain the helix of lateral branches that extends along the length of the trunk, except that each branch has been cut to a length of about 10 inches. The poles are set to stand erect in hayfields. When it is time to build the hayrick, the farmer spreads a layer of tree branches around the base of the pole and then hay is pitchforked on top of the branches. The base layer of branches provides spaces through which drying air can pass into the hay at the broad bottom of the rick.
As the height of the hayrick grows, the farmers wife will be assigned to the top of the stack. He will shovel pitchfork loads of hay to her, and she will pile the hay against the central pole, stacking it ever higher and she steps upward to keep atop the growing rick. After the rick is fully stacked, when the top of the central pole has been reached, the surface is combed so that hay points up and down to better allow rain to flow over its surface, rather than standing and infiltrating the hayrick. The beehive hayricks stand in rows in the cut meadowsthere are often many in each enclosure. In the hill country of Bucovina, the rows of beehive hayricks curve up the slopes to the edges of forest where the meadows end.
Search the page for hayrick. I think these neighbors are using the hay to keep the water from running off their bean plants, growing on each side of their yard. Looks very similar to the pic of the Romanian hayricks in the photo at that link, including the stick at the top. This is interesting, even if I love it that you are all so ... ummmmm ... creative?
It looks like they have a lot of bean plants climbing poles around the edges of the yard. I googled "growing pinto beans" and found that hay or straw is often used to keep the water from running off and to keep weeds down around the plants. Apparently those plants mostly use the water in the top part of the ground, so it is important not to let that get dry.
No farm critters around here to my knowledge, but more and more people are gardening, probably due to the economy. As much as I really don't want to do that, it is probably going to be a necessity. -- Join Team Helix * I am praying for these friends .