Hay!

First off, I’m sorry for the inadvertent blogging hiatus! For a girl with 10 planners, my time management isn’t the best. Hopefully I’m back on track to post here regularly.

Summertime for horse owners (and keeping them at home) means hauling hay. It is one of the least glamorous aspects of horse ownership. There is nothing quite like being hot and sweaty with hay in your socks, in your shoes, in your mouth, in your shirt, well, you get the point.

When planning how much hay to buy every year, I usually get one bale for every day, so around 365 bales. They are about 50lb bales and most every year I run out of hay at least 3 months before the next harvest. Cold winters put a bigger dent in the hay supply, too. Horses stay warm by eating hay, it gets their internal furnace burning. My hope is that with one less horse and improved math skills I will get enough hay this year! It costs twice as much to buy hay from the feed store than to buy it directly from the supplier so is MUCH nicer on the feed budget!

All ready to unload. Who needs boot camp with this workout!

All ready to unload. Who needs boot camp with this workout!

The supplier I buy from is gracious enough to let us drop off our trailer and load it for us. This way all we have to do is take it home and stack it in our barn. When we built the new horse barn we started using the old barn exclusively for feed storage and as the chicken coop. This lowers the fire danger in the new barn and reduces the amount of dust.

This first load of the summer was few bales short of 150. We will get another similarly sized load later this summer and then hopefully one final small load before the hay is gone.

We have lots of helpers to inspect the hay  as we unload and load.

We have lots of helpers to inspect the hay as we unload and load.

We clean out the hay room before refilling it with hay. This requires taking out all the pallets and lots of sweeping. We probably should wear breathing masks because of the dust, but we didn’t plan for that this year. It gets REALLY dusty! You’ll see the dust in quite a few of the pictures. It makes me feel like sneezing just looking at the photos!

All cleaned out and ready for pallets and HAY!

All cleaned out and ready for pallets and HAY!

I learned at a very young age how to properly stack hay. You want to create a stable base for the stack and fit as many bales in a small space as possible.

The base layer, again with helpful inspectors

The base layer, again with helpful inspectors

After the base layer is down, you stack the next layer flat on and perpendicular the base bales. Each additional layer goes on the same way. Only the base bales are laid on the narrow side. The rest of the layers are laid on their widest side.

Two more layers in.

Two more layers in.

It usually takes a couple hours to stack 150 bales. I do most of the stacking and get Boot City to help with the top two layers. He’s taller and has more arm strength than I have to get the bales up that high. It feels SO good to be done stacking the hay and be prepared for the upcoming fall and winter with lots of hay for hungry horses (and sometimes goats).

All in!

All in!

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