Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘hauling hay

Double Day

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When it’s hay season and you own horses, filling your shed with bales claims a big chunk of time and attention. After a full shift at the day-job yesterday, our priority quickly reoriented to the physically taxing effort of picking up hay bales from two of our main suppliers, one right after the other.

On Sunday evening, we hauled and then stacked a hundred bales from our first source. Yesterday, we started the last half of our “work” day with a trip to our second source to pick up one hundred of his bales. As soon as we had unloaded and stacked that batch in our shed, we headed out again to revisit our first source for one hundred more.

Once we reached home with that load, we took a short break to eat dinner. Cyndie’s brilliant preplanning to fill the slow cooker with chicken cacciatore in the morning, allowed us to enjoy an instant meal with little in the way of immediate preparation.

After some food, it was time to unload and stack the final hundred.

It was hot, sweaty, exhausting work. The hay shrapnel ends up everywhere, especially stuck to sweating skin. The dust triggers Cyndie’s allergic reactions.

The fatigue increases and the stack of bales gets higher to climb, both at the same time.

The joy of completing the task is amplified by the visual of now having enough food for the horses to last most of the year. There’s just one more load needed, and based on the time our supplier was available, we are setting out first thing this morning to do another hundred bales.

I’m not tired. You’re tired.

Last night, after we finished, Cayenne came over to offer me a nuzzle of thanks for our efforts.

The horses seem as happy as we are, seeing all these bales showing up to fill the hay shed.

Cyndie and I will be happier still, when the intense effort is behind us and we can return to our more typical leisurely pace around here.

That’s “leisure,” in a relative sense, of course.

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Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Never Dull

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There is rarely a dull moment in our lives with acres and animals. Yesterday was a particularly full day. Before I get to that however, I really must post more pictures from our great cow adventure last Friday. These belong with Saturday’s post, but I was up at the lake, and just didn’t have the bandwidth to support my intentions.

Here is my view of the main herd as their curiosity brought them over to see what we were up to at the fence:

I didn’t want them to get any ideas about joining the remaining escapees, so I worked to convince them they’d be happier going the other direction.

This is Cyndie, holding the opening as wide as possible while cooing sweet nothings to woo the last stragglers back into their pasture:

It was a hard sell. The second wire from the top was the only broken one, but holding them open provided plenty of clearance, if only the overly cautious (now they decided to be cautious!) bovine would step through.

After a busy morning at the lake yesterday, tending to minor chores before heading home, we traveled in Cyndie’s car with the top down in the beautiful sunshine, joining a LOT of other vacationers for the trek home.

It was as if our full day had barely gotten started. I was able to connect with our next-door neighbor to borrow his large trailer for hauling hay. Our first source of bales reported a shortage of availability, due to a new client who required 4000 bales. Five minutes after that sorry news, he called back to say his brother had bales we could buy, but needed to get them out of the wagon by the end of the day.

Cyndie whipped up an early dinner and then we set off to begin this summer’s hay bale escapades, the first of multiple expected trips.

Thankfully, due to our previous experience, the loading and transport went smoothly, and we got the load stowed in the shed while there was still daylight.

As the last light faded, I found Cyndie out picking black raspberries because there are still so many berries ripening.

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From inside the house, I heard branches breaking in the woods. I called out the window to Cyndie and she said she was hearing it, too, but didn’t see anything. She prolonged her berry picking to see if that last stray cow from Friday still might be roaming around, but neither a deer nor a cow materialized before she quit to go secure the chicken coop for the night.

We are happy to report, all twelve birds were safely inside.

Honestly, the fullness of our day was the epitome of the saying, “never a dull moment.”

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Written by johnwhays

July 9, 2018 at 6:00 am

Exhausting Effort

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Yesterday was an unplanned effort that turned into an all-day haul. This is how it came about…

We were looking to double the amount of hay we have stored for the winter in our hay shed. Using just our pickup truck to move 41 bales at a time over the summer, we had accumulated under half of what we are comfortable having for the winter months.

It made most sense that we should find a trailer to haul more bales per trip, so Cyndie contacted our neighbor.

His immediate response was, “Not right now.”

He had a car loaded on the trailer and didn’t want to take it off. Maybe next week, he said. Okay, we can live with that. Then a day later, after I had spent half a day covered in spider webs and dryer lint (the hose venting to outside needed replacing) and half a day mowing and cleaning the mower deck of moldy grass clippings, I was desperately looking forward to a long soaking shower.

The second I turned on the water, Cyndie said our neighbor just arrived to drop off his trailer and wanted to show me some details of the hookup. Surprise! She told him I had just stepped in the shower and he said he would be waiting down by the trailer.

I barely got wet, then dried off and jumped into clothes so I could hustle down to greet him.

He generously provided his ball mount attachment to fit the coupler and guided me through all the safety connections. We are so very lucky to have him for a neighbor.

With trailer in hand, we suddenly had a different itinerary for our Saturday. We ended up making two trips to transfer a total of 240 bales of hay for the day. That involves stacking 120 on the trailer, strapping them down, anxiously driving to our place, unloading 120 bales, lifting 120 into place inside our shed, and then driving back to do it all again, a second time.

Keep in mind, the bales appear to get heavier with time, as our bodies fatigue. The second batch of bales are harder to lift, and I need to climb higher in the shed to stack them on top of the first load.

Since we were trying to fit our two loads into the hours our hay seller was available –basically, the hours in a day– this effort came with nary a break. As I finished stacking the first load, Cyndie hustled up to the house to put together sandwiches for a lunch we could eat in the truck at 1:00 p.m. while driving back to pick up the second load.

After a non-stop day awash in dusty, scratchy hay, I was looking forward, even more than the day before, to that long soaking shower to calm my itchy skin.

It was a soothing finish to a full day of exhausting effort.

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Written by johnwhays

October 1, 2017 at 8:27 am

Adding Bales

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We made a run to our favorite hay supplier after I got home from work yesterday in the high heat of the day.

Our little truck fits 41 small squares per trip, which isn’t much, but turns out to be a good quantity for ease of loading and unloading.

We recently discovered that the bottom bales that we place on pallets in the shed are getting moldy from moisture that comes up from the ground. Since we still have a batch of old bales that the horses don’t like and that were bleached dry by the sun, we decided to use those for a base layer on the pallets for now.

I did an accounting of inventory and discovered we don’t have as many on hand as I assumed, which I guess is what happens when you only buy them in small pickup loads per time.

Somehow, the horses keep eating, so that ongoing issue of the constant drain on inventory needs to be considered, too.

No matter how many bales we have, it always feels rewarding to finish the task of putting up new bales in storage.

Especially when the old truck survives another load without any problems. That poor beast has its best days behind it now. The rust is making inroads on multiple fronts, which always has us wondering what piece might fall off next.

Now it’s not just bales I worry about losing each trip on the way home.

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Written by johnwhays

September 14, 2017 at 6:00 am