I've been more than a little obsessed with hay recently, so please forgive me if I've been going on about it. The hay that Brandon and I baled ourselves lasted all through October and November, and the first few weeks of December, but as the stack got smaller and smaller, I noticed a growing sense of urgency in myself that no one around me seemed to feel. When I would bring the subject up with Brandon, he liked to point out that all my livestock was basically worthless from a farming point of view (cover your ears Rufus, and you spoiled non-milk making goats), and would imply that I was feeding them too much. What does he know! If you have to squeeze your nutrition from a bunch of dried grass, you should at least get to eat plenty of it, right?
My horse owning friend was sympathetic to my hay needs, and helped by directing me to several local folks who sold square bales of hay. Of course, this would mean I had to spend money and figure out how to get the hay from their farm to my barn. About the time I was ready to contact someone about picking up a truck load of hay ($4 a bale, oh my), Joe made an arrangement with one of our elderly neighbors to begin mowing a field right next door. This field had been rather neglected from a hay production point of view, although it is excellent deer habitat as our good neighbor who is a hunter likes to point out. Joe decided to harvest the weedy and stemy hay, and have it for a backup should his non pregnant or lactating animals need it this winter. His ultimate goal is to get the field back into good hay production in the next three years.
Stemy and weedy hay cut late in the year that's good for deer sounds just about right for worthless goats and a donkey. And it was so close I could see it. Joe was more than happy to sell me a few giant bales. The animals and I watched eagerly as the hay was cut, dried, and being baled. Just hold on goats, the hay is almost ready! But then Joe's tractor broke. Joe has important things on his own farm that must be done before he can think about weedy goat hay that he doesn't really need. Meanwhile, Rain is getting more and more anxious. My hay is out in the weather! I can see it, I just can't get to it. I don't want to be a pest, but I need that hay... Joe said if I could figure out how to get it, I could have it. Free hay - even better!
If the hay had been baled in small squares, I could have loaded up our truck myself, and been happy to do it, but these bales are humongous and heavy. Too heavy for our little tractor, Joe's tractor which is on site has broken hydraulics, and my horse owning friend's tractor is just far enough away that getting it would be a big hassle, although he was willing if necessary. They weren't too heavy for our good neighbors tractor, but he didn't have the right attachment to move them. It didn't stop him though. He and Brandon pulled a trailer over to the bales and used the tractor bucket to roll the hay bales onto the trailer and then roll them off and onto some pallets near our barn. Whew! They picked the nicest most grassy looking bales of the bunch, and now we have three big rolls, and two little ones. The animals and I are happy, and I'm sure everyone else is happy that I stopped fretting about hay for the winter. Aren't they pretty? Like a painting by Monet, right?
Well, maybe not quite like Monet! They have more of modern art flair now that they are covered by plastic, straps, and cinder blocks. I still think they are beautiful.