Sean and Sean. (Look, you don’t even have to remember two names!) Sean and Sean are old high school friends of Ross’s, and they are just like Ross. Hard working, inventive, competent, strong, and full of initiative. I always say if I had to take one thing to a deserted island, my “thing” would be Ross. Sean or Sean would do, too. Any one of them would go all MacGyver, pull out a toothpick and a couple wires from their pocket, build an airplane, and fly me out of there. They can rebuild an engine, or build a fence, and everything in between. And they do it all cheerfully.
Farming on my own, I’m going to need some hired help at times, and they are the bomb. They helped me move the animals and hay from Stringtown Rising and then helped move my furniture on moving day, and yesterday they helped me haul more hay and load it in the barn. Soon, they’re going to be helping me with some fencing additions I want to do.
Before we started hauling hay, I had them meet me at Stringtown Rising to pick up a couple gates and some woven wire fencing to take back to Sassafras Farm. I want to fence in the area between the barn and the goat yard so I can move animals back and forth to the barn from the goat yard and other connected fields beyond it without taking them outside of fencing.
Gettin’ hay is actually pretty fun. I love hay. I love how it smells. I love to look at big stacks of it. I love being in a barn full of hay. (Is that weird?)
We went back to the barn, our usual hay guy, for 100 bales with their pickup and my Explorer. Sean went up top to throw hay while Sean stayed in the truck to stack. (It’s so easy to talk about Sean and Sean. You can’t get it wrong!)
The hay guy was in his orange jacket, eager to get rid of us so he could go hunting.
The hay guy has a huge barn. He told me it can hold at least 1100 bales.
I was worried about how much hay we could safely get on there, but I let the hay guy run the show. He knows how to stack hay on a truck and he directed the superboys.
Hay guy (and his brother), supervising the tying-on.
Then it was time to load the Explorer. I had the seats folded down to make the most room possible.
We got 40 bales on the truck and 10 in the Explorer, so 50 bales per trip! (And we didn’t lose a single bale off the truck.) I was pleased. That meant just two trips to get 100. The hay guy was pleased, too, because he wanted us to skedaddle so he could go hunting.
The hay guy’s barn is just a few miles away from my new farm, but there’s all the unloading to do after each trip, so the event took all afternoon.
When I first visited this farm in October and toured the barn, one of the previous owners showed me this contraption in the barn. (The following three photos were taken in October, which is why there’s no hay in the barn, and that’s one of the previous owners pictured.)
It’s an electric-powered winch! Instead of carrying one bale at a time up the narrow loft stairs on your back, a winch allows you to place several bales on a platform and haul it straight up for unloading at loft-level. All the pieces of the winch were there, but it wasn’t put together. I asked the previous owner if the winch worked and he told me that he didn’t know. They’d never tried to use it.
The superboys had carried hay up to the hayloft the day we moved the animals and hay from Stringtown Rising, so they’d had that experience. They said, “We’re going to make this winch work!” And they pulled out a toothpick and a couple wires and set to work.
I scrambled for an extension cord with a three-prong adapter to reach the outlet on the lower level of the barn and next thing you know, I had a working winch.
And up the hay went!
Me, watching the superboys, wondering if the bent platform is going to break.
Jerry, who drove the Budget truck on moving day, stopped by with a friend while we were on the first unload and took this photo. Then he and the superboys used a sucker rod to shore up the platform. Before next hay time, I need to get the platform repaired more securely, but it did the job for now.
By the time we made the second trip and the last bale was unloaded, it was getting dark.
I sent the superboys home with two hot pizzas sliced and packed in a box with paper plates and napkins, with sodas to drink. (I would have been happy to have them eat here with us, but I knew they wanted to be on their way–and yet start eating at the same time. They earned their appetite yesterday.)
With what I had from before, and yesterday’s haul, I probably have something like 150 square bales in the barn.
I bet I could stash 250-300 bales up here in the hayloft. There are half a dozen large stalls on the lower level of the barn, and I could probably store a couple hundred more bales if I commandeered a couple stalls for hay. This is a GREAT barn. But, I also have a number of the big round bales back at the other farm, enough to feed the larger animals all winter, leaving me enough square bales now to get through for the goats. Next on my list is lining up a trailer to haul the round bales.
I’m hoping that next summer and fall, I will be making my own hay right here from my own pastures!