Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Hay shed

Hay Delivered

with 2 comments

One of the best parts of our relationship with This Old Horse is that they provide all the support needed to care for the horses, and the greatest relief for us is that we don’t have to find and transport baled hay. Yesterday was magical in that a trailer full of small squares was delivered right to our hay-shed door.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Since I was conveniently an hour away at the day-job when it arrived, the work of helping to unload and re-stack it in the shed landed on Cyndie. [monotone fake concern…] Too bad I wasn’t able to be there.

Despite the fact it was wintery-cold outside, all I wanted to do when I got home was go hang out with the horses. They were out on the back pasture, so Cyndie and I picked the chore of clearing out two years of overgrowth from within, and around the outside perimeter of the round pen. We were standing where the horses could clearly see us.

Our previous herd would quickly move their grazing to get very near wherever we happened to be, but these mares are much less connected to people at this point. They randomly appear to adjust their positioning with respect to us, though it usually involves maintaining a distance that reflects their understandable caution.

We look forward to showing them plenty of reasons to develop a special connection with us over time, starting with the fact we will be the primary ones serving up their rations of hay.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 20, 2021 at 6:00 am

Satisfying Progress

leave a comment »

It’s not all that hard, but oh, so satisfying to finally buckle down and give home equipment the annual maintenance inspection it deserves. Yesterday, we did that for our variety of carts and wheelbarrows.

Just like so many manuals often instruct, periodically checking bolts for tightness, adding air to tires, and greasing moving parts proved to be a well-deserved exercise. I found one missing a nut and one had lost both nut and bolt. As is usual in the spring, all tires needed air, but one tire was practically flat.

With our wheelbarrows in renewed shape for heavy duty, we put them to work hauling things and old, moldy hay out of the hay shed.

 

It almost looks like new and is prepped and ready to receive any hay that may be warranted for feeding the horses before our pastures have sprouted eight new inches of spring growth.

Just like taking care of regular maintenance on equipment is well advised, periodically giving barn and hay shed a thorough going over is worth it whether or not you have the incentive like we are currently enjoying. The effort uncovered several wasps nests we were able remove, which will force them to start over from scratch.

The progress of cleaning up the hay shed was even more satisfying than the wheelbarrows. That’s an excellent motivator for the next target of our attention: the barn.

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

March 29, 2021 at 6:00 am

Recent Past

with 2 comments

While I was working on a project that had me perusing some of my old photos from the last decade, I developed a yearning for the good ol’ days of about 4 years ago. (That’s the time period I was viewing when the nostalgia hit.) It has me missing our horses anew.

That was back before we added doors to the hay shed. I don’t miss the years of sun-bleached hay reserves. Of course, I don’t miss needing to put up a winter’s worth of hay anymore, either.

Our lives and focus of attention in 2015 seem so far removed now, yet at the same time, pretty recent compared to all the years even farther back in our history. I suppose I’m experiencing something of a near-term nostalgia.

I can’t help but think it might also be related to wanting to be back in a time when US politics weren’t a worldwide embarrassment.

I was so much younger then, four years ago. Delilah was, too. In that series of pictures I was reviewing, there were many where I was putting dog and horses in particularly close proximities, hoping to develop a safe and friendly bond between them. They never became close pals, but the horses offered a gracious acceptance of Delilah’s tendencies to nip at their heals or bark vociferously around feeding time if the horses got rambunctious.

Then, there are pictures of me throwing discs for Delilah to chase off-leash in the fields. That was B.C. (Before Chickens). Unfortunately, we can no longer trust the dog to spend any time off-leash, as she has no impulse control over her urge to follow her carnivorous canine instincts.

Ahh, those were the days, four years ago. Remembering those times feels like wrapping myself in a snuggly blanket on a cold day.

I’ve learned a lot in the years since, though (and Delilah, too, I think), so as 2019 closes in on its final weeks, I’m feeling good with our lives. I just need to remind myself to avoid the constant barrage of horrendous news and put my energy toward sowing seeds of love to all.

That will become a memory I would like to look back on in a few years to remember fondly.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 5, 2019 at 7:00 am

Bad Decision

leave a comment »

It has been a while since I used the Grizzly ATV. Last time I had it out, I decided to park it in the hay shed since we no longer need to store hay in there. That turned out to be a bad decision.

Maybe birds don’t like the Grizzly and they were sending a message.

If I had parked it one foot over in either direction, they would have at least missed the seat. It was positioned directly beneath a joist where they perch. Just lovely.

I posted a message to the neighborhood group for input on our fisher sighting. Nobody else has reported similar. We still have all eight chickens, despite visible signs where the critter had dug to get in and out of the barn. Luckily, the chickens aren’t ever in the barn. We keep the doors shut.

There were no visitors to the chicken coop in the last twenty hours other than Cyndie and the chickens, based on the surveillance of the trail camera.

Maybe the fisher is more interested in moles and voles than chickens. After mowing yesterday, it became obvious there are plenty of burrowing rodents active across our land.

That’s probably why the big weasel showed up. It’s here to rid our yard of pesky moles.

See how I visualize the outcome I desire?

I’ll let you know how well it works. (I’m guessing not so well in this case when delivered with a heavy amount of sarcasm.).l

.

Written by johnwhays

August 17, 2019 at 7:59 am

Little Help

leave a comment »

We moved a lot of hay bales over the weekend, but in so doing, came upon a little surprise. Unexpected company had taken up residence in the hay shed.

What I thought to be the squealing of baby bunnies turned out to be raccoons. One of our customers spotted the mama moving around after we took the bales from over her nest site. We decided to seek assistance from a wildlife removal professional.

By the time the pest control guy arrived, all was quiet in the shed. We had no proof that the critters were still in there, but he said they had probably just gone back to sleep.

There was no sign of them in the spot where we first heard them, but I knew where to look next, because Delilah had showed me. Earlier, when the mama must have moved her babies, they resumed their squeaking frustration. Delilah and I just happened to be walking up the driveway at that time and she heard their cries through the back wall of the shed.

The intensity of her response to the sounds included her attempting to dig through rocks after them. That provided a precise location to present to our new wildlife assistant.

He was so close to a textbook capture. Inches. One inch, actually. I saw it. There was the tiniest hitch as our guy tried to pull the snare loop closed around the mama raccoon, and that’s all she needed to step all the way through it. Then the game was on.

She climbed up to the rafters. She skittered back and forth. Eventually, she made a huge airborne leap to escape the shed. Too bad for her, she chose to seek cover in the immediately adjacent culvert. Her options shifted entirely in our favor.

With a cage trap on one end of the culvert, we used a little water pressure from the other end to inspire her to move into it. The babies were a little easier to contain, although they were much older that expected, all five of them.

The pest control service comes with a guarantee they will relocate the evicted wildlife over 25 miles away.

Problem solved, …thanks to a little help.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 29, 2019 at 6:00 am

Adding Bales

leave a comment »

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.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Adding Hay

leave a comment »

Our original local hay source is back. Tom was the first reliable local provider of small bales from whom we purchased hay 3 years ago. At that time, we over-bought and ended up not needing more bales from him the following year. Then there was a wet year where he didn’t have any second-cut grass bales that met our needs.

We ended up shopping around.

This year conditions have been good for hay and he called to see if we were interested. Last night we hustled over to see what he was offering and ended up bringing home a truck-full. His bales include a larger percentage of stemmy content than our most recent supplier who Cyndie found through a local ad, but Tom is located half the distance away.

If our horses don’t reject Tom’s hay outright, we’ll probably put in a reservation for another 160 bales or so from him. We expect to be bringing in hay from three different sources this year, and would like to avoid coming up short before the winter season is over.

I think determining the correct number of bales needed for a year is more of an art than a science. We haven’t quite mastered the craft yet, but each year we seem to be gaining skills. It would help if the horses wouldn’t be so picky about eating what is served.

It doesn’t do a lot of good to have the hay shed filled with bales that the horses won’t eat. I’m told they’ll be less picky if they get hungry enough, but we haven’t seen that happen here yet.

We are offering the horses some test servings of the hay varieties we are putting up this summer to bolster our confidence on the new bales before committing with money and stacking muscle on further truckloads.

It’s a manner of practicing our artistic skills.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

July 18, 2017 at 6:00 am

New Doors

leave a comment »

Progress on the hay shed doors is coming along nicely. One of the guys installing them hollered to me while I was tending to the horses, reporting that the hay inside was looking better already.

Seriously, protecting the bales from the continued harsh exposure to the sun will go a long way to improve the nutritional quality from what we’ve been left with in the past.

These doors certainly weren’t the cheapest option, but having professionals do the work is worth every penny to me. Watching them figure out the nitty-gritty details for just a few minutes was enough to assure me I wouldn’t have come close to achieving the quality of work they are performing.

All that’s left now is to buy more hay.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

June 26, 2017 at 6:00 am

Catching Up

leave a comment »

I’m in ‘catch-up’ mode this weekend, trying to do a week’s worth of chores around the property after my bicycling vacation. Tomorrow, it’s back to the grind of the day-job. Meanwhile, Cyndie remains tethered to one-arm limitations while her shoulder heals from the surgery.

I finished mowing and trimming the lawn grass areas yesterday, but that leaves quite a few acres of fields yet to be mowed with the big tractor and the brush cutter. It’s a jungle out there!

The horses happily volunteered to work on keeping the arena space short.

We enjoyed a pleasant surprise yesterday when a contractor knocked on our door to announce he was ready to start work on building doors for our hay shed. After a few years of watching the outside bales baked to a nutrition-less crisp of dried straw, we have settled on solid doors for a long-term solution.

The prospect of a curtain or hanging shade cloth would be a challenge to secure against the abuse of wind and sun. Rolling metal doors is our choice.

Speaking of wind, we lost two large tree branches to a gust yesterday after I mowed. I didn’t even notice the wind blowing, but the evidence is impossible to ignore in two completely different ends of our property.

Even after having the tree service trim out the risky dead wood from our large trees, there is always a threat of falling branches. Maybe we need to provide hard hats on windy days around here. Geesh.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

June 25, 2017 at 10:32 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , ,

Storm Preparations

leave a comment »

On Saturday morning, when we realized we should delay our scheduled appointment to pickup hay due to the looming storm, I hung around the barn and hay shed to finish preparing space to stack the new bales. Of course, that is when I made a wonderful arrangement of bales on pallets in the barn, which would eventually need to be tossed aside in a panic to allow the trailer to fit.

As the front edge of the thunderstorm slowly approached, I stepped out under the overhang to check on the horses. Spotting plenty of manure, I decided to go out and clean it up before it got rained on. Methodically toiling away as the heavy weather arrived provided a unique opportunity to witness the horses behavior under the threatening conditions.

In addition to scooping poop, I decided to move fans inside and close the barn door to shut out some of the racket made by the rain on the metal roof. While I worked, the horses randomly wandered down toward the willow tree, out from under the overhang, and then Hunter came back up again.

IMG_iP1473eI should point out that we generally find the horses huddled together in a low spot at the far side of the paddock whenever it is raining heavily. I had yet to witness the actual exercise of them getting there.

It makes sense that they might find the roar of the rain on the roof to be too much, but I keep hoping the opportunity to stay dry might provide inspiration to overcome the noise issue.

Then I spotted Legacy coming up to get Hunter out with the rest of them. The first drops were starting to fall and the initial burst of wind was kicking up. It was quickening my pulse.

I don’t know what the trigger was, but all at once they seemed to realize it was time to go, and together they hustled out toward the bottom of the big paddock. There was a little jostling for position, and then some romping around, but the drill ended in classic form with their butts to the wind and their heads down as the clouds let loose and the barn roof roared.

IMG_iP1479eThey made it look so routine, despite the unpredictable drama of wicked weather.

Many hours later, after I had successfully backed the trailer of hay into the barn while the second cloudburst of the day was underway, I stepped out to check on the horses and found them taking advantage of the overhang. And they were doing this despite the clamor of the drops pounding the roof over their heads, just as I’d hoped.

Well, mostly, anyway. Dezirea will often appear indecisive about things and was standing half under shelter, as if she couldn’t make up her mind.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 25, 2016 at 6:00 am