Stack ’em Deep, Feed ’em Cheap


This is the time of year to get hay for winter. We haul it right out of the field.

We have a regular hay guy we buy from every year. He cuts and bales on several large farms not far from where we live. This was one I hadn’t seen before. It’s a beautiful ridge-top farm with more open land than you see most places around here. Two big ponds. Leaves turning on the trees. Gorgeous fall day.

He said he wasn’t even baling most of what he cut there.

It’s just gonna lay in the field and rot.

He can’t get people to come get it out of the field and he doesn’t want to haul any more back to his barn.

We’re picking as much out of the field as we can store. It’s two dollars a bale out of the field. That’s rock bottom around here.

By the way, here’s a site in West Virginia only to be found on a cleared ridge–horizon and sky.

You don’t see that too often.

We’ve stocked up over 200 bales of hay, which we hope will get us through till March. Realistically, we’ll still need hay into April, but we can only store so much. We need a barn. A cow will take 100 bales alone to get through the winter. The goats don’t eat that much (yay for goats!), but we have to have enough for the sheep and donkeys, too, so I’m still feeling as if we are a little short and worrying about how/where we can store more because now is the time to get it.

We have stacks of hay in the meadow bottom, under wrap, for easy access for the sheep and bucks.

Up by the house, we have been stacking hay for the goats and donkeys (Jack and Poky will be wintering up here in the goat yard), but we need hay for Beulah Petunia up here, too. After some rearranging, space was made to store about 50 bales under the far side of the porch. The only way to get there is through the goat yard.

There are a few obstacles.

Armed with a bucket of cookies, I took the offense position while 52 hung back with the truck. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE GOATS, I told him. Actually, I don’t like to drive the truck. Goats and donkeys are so cute. I love my goats and donkeys.

Poky and Nutmeg.

I paraded everyone into the goat house with my magic bucket of cookies except….

….for Jack. Jack plods to no drummer but his own. He arrives at his destination in his own good time. He is Jack. He can’t be rushed.

Only this didn’t work out so good for him this time because no way was I opening the goat house door. I’d be stampeded by 50 goats. Okay, not 50, but it would feel like it. I put Jack in the goat pen by himself. He nearly died of sadness. HE WAS SEPARATED FROM POKY.

Then I looked around and there was a baby that had somehow escaped my parade into the goat house. I coaxed it with cookies.

Eventually it ended up in the goat pen with Jack. Which didn’t make Jack feel any better. HE WAS SEPARATED FROM POKY.

Jack’s ordeal lasted about 15 minutes while the truck went through the goat yard, unloaded on the other side, and went back. He was really glad to see Poky again.

Gratuitous photo of cute farm animals.

Another gratuitous photo of cute farm animals.

Yet another gratuitous photo of cute farm animals.

Have mercy.

Sometimes it really is hard to get anything done around here.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 12, 2010  

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47 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-12

    Suzanne! There is no such thing as a “gratuitous” photo of cute farm animals. All such photos are absolutely necessary, especially for your readers who don’t get to see them every day.

    I’m excited about leaving on a road trip for Savannah, Ga in a few days to see my almost 11-month old grandson, but very sad that I don’t have a laptop so I can drop in on Stringtown Farm along the way.

  2. 10-12

    Oops – Stringtown Rising Farm!

  3. 10-12

    :snoopy: I just want to say more cute pictures please please!
    We all love them, I am a city girl and love all of these.
    You have athe best blog I have found. I love others but yours is the best for me.

  4. 10-12

    Oh my goodness I love the picture of Poky and Nutmeg the best! My heart melts for that smiling donkey. Thanks for the cute animal pictures!

  5. 10-12

    That pic of Nutmeg on her knees straining to get to you is just precious!

  6. 10-12

    I, like Nona, am a city girl, too. And I have to say I love your “gratuitous photos of cute farm animals.” I love, love, love your farm animals!

  7. 10-12

    That is just too cute! We are anticipating our rainy season here,so no baling hay for us for a bit. I feel for Jack,seperation anxiety is not nice to have to deal with, life can be so tough!

  8. 10-12

    Gratuitous? What on god’s green earth would be gratuitous about those photos? They are darling – but poor Jack. You’re mean. heehee – Kidding.

    I can’t believe you got hay that cheap. Wow. Now definitely build a barn or a three sided something to house all you need.

    And 52 – a Keeper I tell ya. A Keeper.

  9. 10-12

    I see a new hay barn in your future! In my area it is hard to even find small square bales. We did this year and paid $4 a bale for grass hay so I bought about 30 for the smaller calves on Willow. That was delivered to our barn.

    I wonder if that farmer would be willing to deliver maybe 150 or whatever a load would be for a little more money? Might be worth it.

  10. 10-12

    How do you handle so much cuteness every day? The donkey is especially charming. :-)

  11. 10-12

    I don’t know if you saw my comment a few weeks back or not, but… You may want to talk to an accountant. Friends of mine needed another barn for feed, etc, and knew they could not afford to build one right now. Their accountant told them they could not afford NOT to build one now, as there is a tax credit- you can write off half of the building. It will run out at the end of this year.

  12. 10-12

    Cathy, I did (I read every comment!). I can’t afford to build a barn right now, no matter the tax credit. I would love to, but absolutely can’t.

  13. 10-12

    I did not see a hay field in WV!!! I was wondering where you got your hay from.

    Thanks for the daily dose of farm animal shots ;)

  14. 10-12

    I wish we could all put on an old fashioned barn raising!

  15. 10-12

    We’re watching all the hay bales disappear from the fields here in Germany, too. Looks like you all are having a beautiful autumn. The farm animals are so cute! What would you do without cookies though! Thanks goodness for cookies!

  16. 10-12

    Cathy, I wish we could, too!!!

  17. 10-12

    love, love, love, the farm animals. Perfect pictures to see first thing in the morning!

  18. 10-12

    I know how you feel about the hay. I never feel like I have enough to get through the winter. We feed our goats hay year round so I need enough until the next hay crop. I also enjoyed the pictures. You can’t have too many cute animal pictures!

  19. 10-12

    At 2 dollars a bale.. shoving a bale in every available space is a must!
    “gratuitous photo of cute farm animals” – keep ’em comin’!
    I have three girls (pygmy goats) abd I adore them and their antics.
    I wish I could have more farm animals..but alas, my farm space is too I visit your farm daily for my fix!

  20. 10-12

    I wouldn’t get anything done either, my camera would never get rest, it doesn’t get a whole lot of rest now! Your farm animals are soooo cute! Just love that Nutmeg!

  21. 10-12

    I would get nothing done…except maybe for feeding. Hungry critters can be so annoying! Toby the orange kitty is licking my knee right now, needing fresh kibble. Wonderful photos today!

  22. 10-12

    Awe…poor Jack…separation anxiety :cry: Glad he was able to reunite with Poky….love the pictures Suzanne! :happyflower:

  23. 10-12

    I think if I were you, I’d be eating breakfast sitting on hay bales in my kitchen for $2 ea.! :)

    LOVE all the pix of those sweet faces! Poor 52 has to wait for the cookie parade, late arrival wranglings, photo ops, etc. before he can unload hay! What a guy!

  24. 10-12

    If your guy still has more bales for $2 have him give me a call. I need at least 300 more bales and am more than willing to come and get it off the field. Email me and I will give you my number.

    And I agree, there are never too many cute critter photos. Keep em coming!

  25. 10-12

    Around here, there is no way we could get hay to dry at this time of year. Getting it out of the field is a good deal, but it sure is a lot of work. How about putting up a shed roof of some sort to store your hay? It would be cheaper than a barn.

  26. 10-12

    Hmmm. I’d be willing to send you a contribution so you could build a barn. I bet lots of us who hang around here would. Although many if not most of us are in the same financial shape you are, $5 here and there would add up pretty quickly with all your fans.

    Not to be nosy, but approximately how much does a barn cost? Could you have a barn raising, with a bunch of friends and neighbors pitching in to do the work if you supplied the materials and ‘sustenance’? We’re doing that now – have to have our foundation completely rebuilt. //shudders//

  27. 10-12

    Thanks for the gratuitous photos! We appreciate them and the smiles they bring!

  28. 10-12

    And they are so darn cute!

  29. 10-12

    what fabulous photos of your critters. I love them! I wouldn’t get much done at your place Suzanne, I would be wanting to play with the animals all day. :yes: :yes: :yes:

  30. 10-12

    Such beautiful faces on those animals! I love all their expressions. Okay, city-girl question for ya: how do they all stay warm in the winter? I see from your pics that they have shelters, but surely the wind blows snow and rain in; how ever do your babies stay warm and dry??? I have outdoor kitties and last year I fixed up a shed with a cat-door for them, filled it with stray and cozy nooks and such, but it was STILL plenty cold. I didn’t know what to do! So what do you and others do for their animals in winter???

  31. 10-12

    oops-I meant I filled the shed with “straw”, not stray! hee hee!

  32. 10-12

    I’d buy more tarps like you’re doing and buy more.Cheaper than a barn and I think you’ll need more hay too.Don’t forget GB will be growing and needing more hay, as well as your other babies.Buy it now while you can- if the extra rots in the spring it will make good mulch for your garden.

  33. 10-12

    I love your farm animals, I needed cuteness this morning. Thanks! And wow $2 a bale, awesome price!

  34. 10-12

    Thanks for the daily dose of cuteness. I love your farm animal pics — they are so sweet.

  35. 10-12

    Oh man that stinks about hay storage :( I feel lucky we have a big ol bank barn with a hay maw. You have way more animals – that would be a serious improvement for the farm. Any plans to have a good ol fashioned barn raising next year?

  36. 10-12

    If we ever get all the stuff, maybe we should have a barn-raising party next year, LOL. That would be fun!

  37. 10-12

    Okay, I’m taking a chance in writing this before reading previous comments. Means, this could be a duplicate. Maybe.. just maybe, Jack is the one who should be named “Poky”, and Poky should be named Jackie??? I love seeing all those faces. You and 52 had quite an audience during your maneuvers getting all that hay in there. They seem to be really enjoying the “show”. Funny how you watch them for entertainment, and they obviously enjoy watching whatever you are doing. Just too cute!

  38. 10-12

    Girl, I’d never get a thing done with all those cuties around me!

  39. 10-12

    Have you seen those portable barns. One of our neighbors up are hill has one for there horses and goats. I don’t know how much they cost. But must be a whole lot cheaper then building one. It is made of really heavy plastic.

  40. 10-12

    Sometimes, you and your kids, 52, and the animals MAKE MY DAY.Today is one of them. I need to get away from the maddening crowds today.Well, at least I can stay home and bake some bread and pretend I am in the country..Hugs to all of you and thank you for the blog.. and sharing..

  41. 10-12

    I had the same idea as Morningstar – I’d be very willing to donate to a “Barn Fund”! You really, really need and deserve a barn! :moo:

  42. 10-12

    Hate to say it but I hope you put plastic under the hay? Remember your cows milk will drop if the hay is bad or not much protein in it? I really think you need a barn or some kind of cover over it. The donkey will have respiratory problems if there is mold in it so be careful.

  43. 10-12

    Paul, we lay pallets down and put the hay down over that (whether in the field under cover or under the porch).

  44. 10-13

    Last year we were also lacking a barn, but had a stock trailer that we would not be using until spring, so loaded it up with hay and covered it with tarps. Made for a cheap and portable barn. If you don’t have a stock trailer, a neighbor might be willing to “store” it at your house for a while, and just feed the bales out of it first and return it with some homemade something (jam/cheese/soap) as a thank you. :moo:

  45. 10-14

    Aw, gotta love those farm animals !

  46. 10-14

    Those guys are just too cute! Never too many pictures! Looks like you’ll be getting a barn next year! You’ve got a lot of great fans here!

    I love the donkeys! That Jack is a funny fellow and Poky is so cute!

  47. 11-21

    OK everybody, lets get temporay out of the way. Suzanne has given so much love to all of us. Lets just take the BARN BULL by the financial horns a build her a barn. My email is [email protected] if you are really interested. LETS GET TOGETHER AND DO IT. All we need is to know where to send the money, right and like someone else said, $5.00 here and there is all it will take and she can have permanent shelter for ALL her critters and hay, grain, supplies and whatever else she thinks she wants. I will start with $5.00 and someone let me know where to send it.
    The critters are so fun to see. I know I am really late on some of this, but I am really surprised you didn’t think of cookies for Glory Bee when she was being a wild child and not obeying, I guess she wasn’t close enough to get a smell. My donkey would love to have a donkey for a friend. He has cows and pigs.

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