Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Hay today, cows tomorrow?

Summer is slipping away from us, and it doesn't look like we'll manage to get cows this fall. However that doesn't mean we're not planning for them.

Now that the barn is vastly cleared out after our humongous yard sale, we've got room to move around.

And one of the first things we did was move in some hay. That's because we happened to see a local listing for small(ish) bales (80 lbs.) in a small(ish) quantity (4.5 tons). Because the price was right and the quality was good, we snapped it up. Here it's stacked on the seller's trailer in his barn.

For a reasonable fee, the seller delivered it. Here he's backing the trailer up the lower driveway...

...watched intently by Mr. Darcy.

The seller unhitched the trailer and left it at our place so we could unload it over the span of a few days.

Unfortunately this span coincided with the days we held the yard sale, making for a very divided focus. What it meant was Don and I started unloading it in the evenings, when the heat was still sizzling and we were tired already.

The first thing Don did was mark the floor in the barn, leaving spaces to move around the bales.

We started by loading the bales onto the tines of  the tractor to transport them into the barn...

...and quickly discovered a hydraulic leak.

Right. So much for unloading and stacking the bales quickly and efficiently. With the yard sale going on and with the seller coming back for his trailer on Sunday afternoon, we had no option except to tumble, shove, and push the bales off the trailer willy-nilly. No rain was predicted, and the only thing we had to make sure was that the seller could pull his trailer out unimpeded.

After the yard sale was over, and since no rain was predicted, we were able to move the bales into the barn at leisure, working just in the cooler morning hours. We used hand trucks to cart the bales in. When the stacks got too high, Don rigged up skids so we could shove them higher. I don't know why, but 80-pound bales weigh more than they used to when we were 20 years younger.

Days went by, and either separately or together, we moved a few bales at a time into the barn, stacking them higher and higher. Temps at this point were still in the high 90s and low 100s, so we didn't kill ourselves to get everything indoors.

But finally the day came when rain did threaten, so we made a final push and just got everything under cover, mostly by leaning the bales vertically in long lines. Hey, it's temporary.

We're still stacking – quite a number of bales are still leaning in vertical lines against the main pile, blocking usable space – but we'll get it done in time. We need this load of hay to have the smallest possible footprint on the barn floor, since we are keeping an eye out to purchase another two or three tons.

No, we don't have cows ... yet. Among much else, we still have to fence the property and build the barn infrastructure (feed boxes, milking stall, calf pen) to support them. With everything else we're working on, that's why we may not get animals before winter.

But wow, is it nice to see hay in the barn again.


  1. Isn't that just how it is, lol?? I always say that on a farm you can make your plans but things rarely ever go the way you laid it out! Good for y'all getting all that hay under cover. You're right, somehow the bales keep getting heavier and heavier the older we get but, man, it's a nice, contented feeling having a big ol' pile of hay in the barn.

  2. Hay Elevator, some out there used !

  3. And the hay makes the barn smell so good!