Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Hay Saga Continues.....

Feed me! Feed me!
The girls gather around, looking for a handout.
I've become obsessed with hay. Due to a major miscalculation on my part, I think I will run out of hay for the sheepies before the grass comes on. Math has never been my strong point, and when I purchased smaller, more easily managed round bales this year, I knew they wouldn't go as far as the bigger bales I usually buy...so I bought extras. I just didn't realize how less farther they would go. I have enough hay for now, but every time I roll out a big bale, or grudgingly feed the boys some flakes of square bales, I wonder....how long is it going to last. No peace and joy in that!

I abide by the laws, I'm honest mostly to a fault, I don't cheat... but I've found myself thinking about hijacking hay trucks that are driving through....wondering how hard it would be to drift into that lonely field in the middle of the night and take a bale or two. :-) Trust me in that I would never do this, but its surprising the thoughts you have when you've got 23 hungry sheep mouths to fill.

I've called all my regular hay guys, I've followed elusive leads here and there. No hay. I can and have bought some from the local feed stores...but its unbelievably expensive and extremely poor in quality. The hay situation in this part of the country is desperate. Drama and secretiveness abound. I was sworn to not tell anyone that I got my original hay from my good neighbors...as there were 'others' that were pestering them to spare a few bales. A week or so ago I was told that a certain party would sell me two bales at an honest price, but it was top secret. At a meeting a few nights earlier he had told me he didn't have any---but only because there were 'witnesses' that might hear! :-) Its two year old hay, and the price is very good. It remains to be seen how decent it will be. These are the really large rounds, so two will give the girls quite a bit to pick at as the grass starts coming on. This guy will bring it, eventually, although he usually comes through in the end, sometimes it takes him awhile.

Then last night---a beautiful miracle happened! :-) I was already in bed, still feeling a bit yucky from this cold/sinus thing---I'd also taken some dentist prescribed pain reliever for my teeth---when the phone rang. As usual I let the machine pick it up....until I heard my 'hay guy' talking. I quickly snatched it up and answered it! It seems that since the grass is greening up, and he was able to rent some pasture to 'strip graze' he isn't going to need the rest of his square bales. He feeds primarily round bales, but since we've had such a terrible winter with all the dramatic storms, he was afraid to not keep the squares, in case of another ice storm etc. Anyway, I said I was very, very happy! I asked him how many he had and he has around 200! This is the GOOD stuff too, not nasty pretend hay. This will be more of the lespedeza that the sheep so love. Of course its more expensive than normal (at 4.50 per bale) but its loads cheaper than the fake stuff I've been buying at the feed store. In the course of the conversation, we were trying to match up a time for me to come and get the bales. It wasn't working, (mostly I think because he didn't want to have to pin down a particular time to be home.) so he said, well, it'll probably be easier if I just throw them on the truck and bring them over! I had originally thought I'd get 23 bales (as that is what my truck will haul), but when he said that, I immediately upped it to 40 bales! :-) Although he couldn't see it, I was doing a little dance around the house---in celebration of getting some lovely hay---DELIVERED! Being the nice guy he is, he isn't even charging extra for the delivery. Bless him.

Being still inspired the next morning, I got up extra early before going to work and worked in the barn, moving the 10 questionable bales of hay that I had accumulated from various places over to the side on a pallet. I still have around 20-25 bales of good hay from this guy, but there is plenty of space for him to now stack another 40. Happy, happy, happy! :-) This should see me through, with the round bales I have and the other two that are coming, until late spring.

With all the moisture and warmer temps, the pastures are starting to revive, so the farmers with cattle and lots of pasture are now being able to reduce hay feeding--which helps us little squirt farmers in the hay crisis! I noticed quite a few more ads for hay in the paper this week.
Things are looking up! :-)

1 comment:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

The Lord always comes through, doesn't He? :-) Praise Him for filling your need not just with any old forage, but with the sheepies' very favorite. Now watch Him bring the buyers for all that wonderful fleece from your previous post to pay for it!

Glad to hear that Spring is springing there, after your horrendous winter.