Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hay! And seeds a-poppin'

It has been a while since we had our act together enough to buy hay in the summer.  As a result, we get it a few bales at a time throughout the winter, one trip to the farm store after another. 

We did better this year.  Phoebe was inspired one day, got on Craig's List, and sent me a half dozen links.  It was going for $3-4 a bale, a much better deal than the $12-14 each at the feed store.  We narrowed it down to a couple, and gave one a try.  We hauled a ton of it and fed a bit to the horse.  He gave it a B.  Phoebe thought we could do better, so we tried a different place the next day.

It was better.  Greener, with more full seed heads.  At $4 a bale it was at the higher end of the price range, but it was dry, unsprayed, and being sold by really nice people.  So we bought 124 bales.

Since they were selling by the bale I weighed a few to get a sense of how many bales per ton.  That will be easier to remember this time next year.  They weighed in between 40-70 lbs each.  It was not the most uniform baling, but that was OK.  After bucking several 70 pounders in a row, a 45 felt really good.

 It had been so long since I stacked hay Phoebe had to remind me to weave the bales.  Alternating the direction to tie them together builds a stronger stack, and lets you go higher without much risk of a column tumbling onto you down the road.
The stack is a bit crooked because we started the outside row on pallets, then transitioned to tarps.

All in all, we got 155 bales.  Based on an average weight of 60 lbs that is a little over 4.5 tons.  These bales are smaller than the ones we get at the feed store, but we figured we were saving at least $5 on every bale.  That is almost $800 we will not be spending on hay this winter.
In the end, we were tired, a bit sore, with very activated grass allergies.  It filled about a quarter of our cleaned up Hay House, leaving room for the wood splitter, lumber and other building supplies we keep in there. 

We hope to have the next big pasture on line by winter, which will cut down on the amount of hay we feed.

While I was stacking the hay, I kept hearing an odd crackling sound.  It was almost like the big stand of Scotch Broom was on fire, which it wasn't.  When Phoebe came up to help, she identified it as the sound of the Scotch Broom seeds bursting open.  It was a crazy thing, and you can get a sense of it from this video:
If it wasn't such a doggone invasive pest, it would have been kind of cool. 

1 comment:

  1. Good for you. It is amazing how much money you save when you get it from the farmer verses the farm store. It's been a long time since I have helped with hay bucking. :)


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