You can watch this on YouTube. It's pretty amusing. On a pleasant, sunny day in England in 2011, a man is taking a video, presumably in his backyard, of clumps of some substance slowly drifting down from the sky. "What the heck is going on?" he says as he shoots the scene. "What is it?" A young woman, laughing, runs around picking up the yellowish tufts, then brings them back for him to record. The substance is hay. Hay ?!
Sometimes on warm, summer days, the toasty earth emits a puff of warm air — a thermal — that rises into the sky. Thermals can grab items as they rise, typically light and easily transportable objects such as hay or other dry grasses. It's also pretty common for thermals, which can swirl like tornados, to pick up dust and sand. The higher the thermal rises, though, the more it cools. At some point, it cools so much that it drops its baggage. Hence the hay shower recorded in 2011 [source: Bartram].
At times thermals can be pretty strong. 2011 must have been a banner year for them in England. In addition to the event we described earlier, another thermal plucked worms from the ground, and later nonchalantly dropped them on unsuspecting kids running around outside for gym class. And a third thermal that year rained down hundreds of apples [source: Bartram].