Sunday, July 26, 2009
Sunday was Hay Day for us. We unloaded 20 tons of alfalfa into our barn in 90 degree heat.
We enlisted the help of a big work crew--our nephew and his friend and a bunch of the neighborhood boys. It took about 3 hours to get it unloaded and stacked in the barn, but besides a little grass hay--this will get us through to next year. See that bed of hay in the picture with the guys tossing off the top layer so it can fit in the barn? We had two of those beds full of hay. I do not know HOW we fit all of that into our barn. It sure doesn't look like it!
The semi came through the breezeway of the barn, as you can see in the picture. It just barely fit, but the driver was quite skilled in maneuvering his truck. Unfortunately, we didn't open the front door high enough, and his exhaust pipe caught it and bent it up. It's all fixable though. It's not like we haven't done THAT before!
Here's most of the hay--minus about 2 tons that was still outside. This picture really doesn't do it justice--it seems like there's so much more in real life!
The goats liked it. Here they are sneaking some off the pile. They've snuck lots more by this point.
The horses have all loved it, too. We got it out of Waitsburg, WA. There's a grower down there who does it for a living--that and wheat. He's going to get 5 cuttings off of his alfalfa field this year. This is the 2nd cutting, and every bale is uniform and perfect--lots of leaf--0 weeds--low moisture.
The thing I really liked about having it delivered by semi is that I could see the official weight slip, so there wasn't any guessing going on. We got 15 tons last year and 20 this year--and this stack was double last years size and much better hay.
As for price--last year we paid 240/ton delivered for mediocre hay. That was a killer! This year--150/ton delivered for the best hay I've seen in a long time. It appears prices have come way down. Even this grower said they dropped their prices from last year. Anyone else have exprerience with hay this year?
Lea told me that Arlene had some of the most beautiful hay she'd ever seen down her way, (Lea went down to sign Wildairo's paperwork a few months ago) but neither of us knew how we'd get it up here.
As it turned out, the cost of the semi bringing it up here to us from Waitsburg was was much cheaper than I imagined: $470.00--which, broken down, was $3.00 per mile. I always figured a semi would cost around $1000 for a load like that. Although the semi does belong to the grower--so he probably subsidizes the cost. Or, do those semis get much better gas mileage than I figured? Is what I paid the usual cost?
My husband told our hay bucking volunteers when they couldn't believe how much hay we were getting--Boys, happy horses make a happy wife--and I'm going to have a very happy wife for the next year!
Truth be told, I think I also have a very happy husband. Getting the hay up and putting that behind us is a big relief.
I made the choice to put the bulk in alfalfa this year--returning to what I used to feed up until a couple years ago when I switched to alfalfa/grass mixed bales because I got tired of not knowing what was in each bale. I didn't feel like the horses wintered as well as before either.
I talked to my farrier about it and he has always fed alfalfa and feels that either is good as long it's good quality and fed in the right proportion.
I know some people swear by grass, and I understand their reasoning--it being more natural and helping to keep them warm in winter.
Anyone else have thoughts on alfalfa versus grass?