A Bale of Hay


Here at Stringtown Rising Farm, everything is an adventure. Come with me as I get a square bale of hay for the cows.

A big round bale of hay will last Beulah Petunia and Glory Bee about a week or so. Round bales must be brought on the tractor, through the goat yard, to BP-land. The goat yard is sometimes inaccessible to tractor trips due to the enormous dampness of our weather this fall. In between round bales, square bales must be brought. A square bale will feed two cows one day. Actually, they’d like two square bales a day, but you can’t have everything, so after they finish the first one they have to wander off and see what they can forage.

BP-land is, unfortunately, on the other side of the house from the driveway, where square bales can be delivered and stacked. I put my chore boots on and go down the porch stairs, under the porch where a number of hay bales are stacked.

I need to get the bale of hay past two gates. One gate goes into the goat pen and the far gate goes out of the goat pen.

Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since either one of those pallet gates was accessible. There is a buildup in the goat pen. The doors open inward. They won’t open. But we shall not be deterred! Pick out a bale of hay. The one with the least chicken poop on it.

Now I just have to heft it over the first gate, into the goat pen.

The goats are nibbling on their round bale, which will last them approximately 1,549,273 years as opposed to the one week or so a round bale lasts two cows.

Meanwhile, I have to get the square bale out of the goat pen.

And meanwhile meanwhile, the cows have noted my daily hay bale activity.

I clamber over the odd items between the hay and barbed wire, pulling away as pieces of my clothing are caught, escaping hay alley.

I go back up the steps to the porch.

There’s no other way to get to the goat pen and the bale of hay. In the past month, the goat yard was the focus of some ground work which was never completed due to rain. The fence is sort of propped on this side and the gate is tied with a rope. I know I can’t get it untied or tie it back right.

My cows are counting on me, though, so I cross the porch and go down on the other side.

I have to enter the goat yard now, which is perhaps the most dangerous part of my mission.

The cows are still staring at me.

The goats are also staring at me. Is this a cookie alert?

I HAVE NOTHING IN MY POCKETS! I plead for mercy.

I arrive at the bale of hay.

And heft it over the second gate.

I escape the goat yard unscathed to the hay bale on the other side.

The hay is always greener on the other side.

The cows are still waiting.

A square bale is heavier than you might think. I can only heft one for short distances (such as far enough to heft it over each gate of the goat pen). In order to get this bale of hay to the cows, I will have to turn it end over end over end until I reach BP-land.

BP: “Wake me up when she gets here, Glory Bee.”

The staff cheers me on.

I’m a-comin’!

I roll the bale under the electric fence then kick it over a few feet for good measure and we are all so happy!

And that was my day. You?

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on November 4, 2011  

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26 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 11-4

    You need a wheelbarrow so you don’t have to flip it end over end.

  2. 11-4

    Oh my. I think we might be able to figure out what your secret project it — or at least HOPE that the project is a solution to all that work! I not, make that a two wheeled wheelbarrow or a little red wagon with big wheels so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over or getting stuck in the mud.
    By the way, since you asked, my Friday will involve cleaning out the goat house. yay for me.

  3. 11-4

    Look on the bright side. You don’t have to pay for a gym membership to get your workout for the day!! I will be cleaning out my chicken coop today. A stray pit bull managed to get in the coop and kill all of my chickens and my beautiful Rooster Cogburn. The dog couldn’t get back out again so is now in the custody of Animal Control. It’s a sad day at our farm.

  4. 11-4

    Once in while we watch the old Bing Crosby movie, ‘Holiday Inn’. He quits show business to go live on a farm, which he thinks is going to be nothing but lazing around in a hammock. Wrong. As you attest every day, farming of any kind is hard, hard work. Rain makes working with animals harder. When our pen is wet, we couldn’t get a wheel barrow or anything else with wheels through the mud. It takes a lot of creativity and muscle to work when it’s muddy.

  5. 11-4

    Ok Suzanne you just gave me the last reason needed for not buying a cow.

    Tina, I am so sorry about the loss of your flock. How devastating. Our neighbors all let their dogs run loose and I live in constant fear of something similar happening here. Again, I am so sorry about your girls and Rooster Cogburn. I hope Animal Control does the right thing.

  6. 11-4

    There has to be an easier way…..but just think what great shape you are in!!!!!! :happyflower:

  7. 11-4

    That’s why you can fix all that FOOD and still be skinny. LOTS of stairs involved with anything you do.

    But BP and GB look so happy to be munching on some hay now :)

  8. 11-4

    Tina…sorry about your chickens getting killed. That sure makes a bad start to the day. People should take care of their dogs and cats but many could care less. :hissyfit:

  9. 11-4

    Oh man, got to have the rain but it really does make things harder. You have my sympathies. I’ve got it easy now because we no longer make the smaller square bales, only big rounds. So the guys have to move them for me using the truck. I must admit though, sometimes I really could use a small bale.

  10. 11-4

    Hey, what is that thing on GB’s nose? I missed it somehow but I’m guessing she’s an escape artist and this stops her from fence pushing?

  11. 11-4

    Remudamom, that’s her calf-weaner. It’s supposed to prevent her from nursing on BP. Good idea, huh?

  12. 11-4

    I am exhausted just thinking about all that hay bale moving! :)
    (But it sure is good exercise!)

  13. 11-4

    :moo: Maybe a child’s plastic snow sled will help you out; put the bale on top and pull it over the mud & muck. Works for me! You have to get the widest one you can find, or it gets tippy.

  14. 11-4

    Suzanne, You can remind me of when I had to do all that :? , until we hired a man to do it :) . I do hope you get a piece of moving equipment to make it easier for you :snoopy: .

    Tina, I can’t imagine losing all my hens to a dog. My heart really goes out to you :heart: . I am so glad my little Minature Ausie chases them all out of the yard and down the road :woof: . You must like John Wayne?

    My day yesterday was typical for me so lets talk about it. The pigs pen collasped so I had to help put them back in and rebuild the pen :pinkpig: , some of the cows got out so I had to help put them back in :cowsleep: , and the neighbors calf got out so we helped put her back in :cowsleep: . Had company :sun: for about an hour while I was butchering roosters :pirate: . Ran pumpkin through the seive so I can cook the juice out of it to can with sugar so I won’t lose it in the jars. Went to dinner, Yeah, Wonderful DH :chef: !
    I had plans to run away for the day today, but was too busy to find a place to go. I became old today, ha ha ha! :dancingmonster:

  15. 11-4

    We only have 2 acres but the house is at one end, the barn the other. Still doesn’t seem bad until I have to haul hay, straw and feed to the barn which is only accessable by wheel barrow, little red wagon or sled, over the bridge (there’s a brook)and to the waiting critters. I would be LOST without my trusty hay haulers!

  16. 11-4

    Oh what a mess! If that was facing me – I think I would close the door/gate and get out of town.

  17. 11-4

    Boy, I envy you your property but not all the mud that is keeping you from finishing the goat yard so you can go straight through with open gates to deliver those bales. We only have about two acres and just two horses among the hay eaters. Their paddock is right next to the barn where the hay is stored so I only have to fill their busy buffet bags and toss them over the fence before I secure them in the run-in. Much easier :yes: I think the sled sounds like a good idea. No wheels to get mired in the muck and no need to roll bales end over end.

  18. 11-4

    You are THE woman Suzanne :woof: I would not have the energy to do 1/10 of what you do – you go girl! :moo:

  19. 11-4

    Good Lord! Someone fix the gate!!

  20. 11-4

    That was awesome! I LOL’d. I do notice in the pictures that BP looks at you with love and Glory Bee kind of glares at you. Maybe it’s the mandatory nose ring, I don’t know.

  21. 11-4

    Another consideration might be to look for another farm that is better suited for raising and caring for animals and has better access in the winter and rainy season. There are many beautiful farms in the area with multiple features to fall in love with. At my age, I think I’d have to fix the gate(s)and alleviate the extra work. But……then the animals might not enjoy it quite as much! :turtle:

  22. 11-4

    Suzanne….Get a hay hook! http://www.amazon.com/Hay-Hooks-HOOK-sold-each/dp/B000AYE0ZWhttp://www.amazon.com/Hay-Hooks-HOOK-sold-each/dp/B000AYE0ZW

    That way you can drag & lift your bales much more easily. They’re a necessity if you’re moving any amount of square bales. :)

  23. 11-4

    OMG Suzanne! That is going to make for a rough winter for you if it doesn’t freeze solid. By spring you’ll be so strong you can just fling the bale off your porch out to BP land. Makes my day seem easy…cutting and clearing out leaning pine trees and brush from the fence line of the new goat field, even if the land is straight up and down.

  24. 11-4

    Okay, who needs the biggest loser to lose weight just go to Suzanne’s farm and do that kind of work out. I am exhausted just reading this.
    You must be in the best shape. i need to go to your farm and work out for a while. Hope it dries out soon for you. :happyflower:

  25. 11-5

    I love these adventurous posts, because I can totally relate, right down to the out-of-season mud. Ugh!

  26. 11-8

    i wish i lived on a farm :chicken:

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