The Straw Sculptors
Our farm community works as a team to turn big bales into amazing artwork.
few years ago,
Darla Hoff painted a pumpkin face onto a round straw bale to advertise her U-pick pumpkin patch at Al and Karen Goldman’s farm in Idaho Falls.
While Darla has stopped growing pumpkins, the annual tradition of straw bale art lives on at the farm and has grown to involve friends and neighbors.
Once Darla comes up with an idea, the team goes to work. Past creations have included an owl, Minions, dueling tractors, Thomas the Tank Engine and a teddy bear.
The impressive public art has become quite an attraction.
“People who drive by seem to get a kick out of it,” Al says.
When Darla, her daughter Savannah, and Darla’s sister DeAnne Hoots painted Minion faces on three of the round straw bales, these bright yellow critters were the talk of the town. The Minion display was the site of a wedding proposal and children’s
Afield trips, and it also lured many picture-takers and admirers. “We all picked a different face and chose a straw bale,” Darla says. “It was my favorite display.” The giant teddy bear was Karen’s favorite. “His great big smile just made me happy,” she says.
Dueling tractors have since replaced the Minions in Darla’s affections. For these, Al, a loyal John Deere owner, baled round straw bales in two different sizes— smaller ones for the tractor’s front tires and larger ones for the rear.
Large square bales made up the bodies. Jerry Kienlen used his equipment to arrange the bales in the shape of two tractors.
Then it was time to bring the tractors to life. Karen and her
Story continues on page 50 Karen, Al and Darla (above, from left) design a new creation each fall.