Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘stacking hay

Hay’s In

leave a comment »

This year we accomplished our goal in three days. The hay is in. I’m ready for winter.

On the left side of that image, in the front you can see remaining bales from last year. Behind it are the new grass bales just stacked. On the right are the new bales we stacked on Sunday and Monday, from a second source. Those bales have a rougher mixture of stemmed grasses, which our horses showed strong interest for last year.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Working early in the morning yesterday presented a nice change to throwing bales at the end of the day. Stacking to the top of the shed however, ended up being just as hot and sweaty as doing it in the late afternoon on the two previous days.

We hadn’t opened the chicken door on the coop yet, so Delilah was able to hang out with us while we worked. When the chickens are roaming about, we don’t leave Delilah unsupervised, as she has a history of breaking her leash to reach the irresistible teasers.

If our full attention isn’t directly on her, she has a tendency to violate her restraining order.

We collect all the sweepings that fall from the bales to provide the horses a taste test of the menu they will be served for the next year.

I’m told there were no complaints.

That means a lot to us after the year our horses resolutely refused to eat bales we bought from a third source.

Imagine how it feels to have food we offer rejected after the strenuous effort to transport and stack a season’s worth in the high heat and humidity of summer.

Today, we are breathing a sigh of relief over having the hardest part of this chore behind us for another year.

Now, how long ’til it starts to snow?

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 11, 2018 at 6:00 am

Double Day

leave a comment »

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.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Exhausting Effort

leave a comment »

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.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 1, 2017 at 8:27 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

Better Sense

leave a comment »

It looks as though my shadow has better sense than me about taking a much deserved break in the midst of toiling over non-stop things to do.

After work yesterday, it was another trip in the pickup to fetch 45 more bales of hay. Tossing them off the truck and then hefting them back up, stacked high in the shed, was a little more exercise than I was planning to do.

Of course, the stacks get higher as I grow more exhausted, so I out-smarted the task by placing the last half-dozen on the lowest level for now.

I do have better sense than to over-tax my weary body on one particular activity.

I’m better off spreading the exhausting efforts across several days-worth of projects. After that, my body can catch up to my shadow and take a well-deserved rest for a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon.

About that time, it will be the beginning of another week and I’ll get to start the process all over again.

Luckily, the rewards for our efforts are plenty, and we are richly blessed in this paradise we endlessly tend.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 14, 2017 at 6:00 am