Sunday, July 17, 2011

Putting the hay up

My best friend here in Ithaca owns a horse farm (I ride her horses, the last 2 years in a row I've had a pony to train, this year I've been sticking with a big red warmblood mare named Ruby because I'm tired of posting quickly). 

Of course owning 30 head of horses means you have to feed 30 head of horses and while she has tons of pasture, that pasture is covered in snow most of the winter. Hay can be made less expensive moneywise if you spend a week mowing, drying, baling and then stacking it yourself (and spreading manure on it year round). This last week was that week. Friday, we put up* 7 wagons, yesterday and today another 4. I do not know how many bales in a wagon but I do know that we end up with over 1000 bales. And that doesn't last even half the winter! Casey usually supplements with round bales, which are expensive, money wise but it means that feeding the horse doesn't have to be done every day, twice a day. And with the exception of a few hard keepers (mostly thoroughbreds, of course), because we don't ride in the winter, none of them need much grain to keep weight on (particularly the Welshes). 

*putting up the hay requires many hands and many steps: 1. Someone bales the hay; 2. Someone drives over to the field to pick up the full hay wagon; 3. Hay wagon is delivered to the barn; 4; With 2 or 3 people in the hay loft  (the most unpleasant position) taking the bales off the elevator and stacking them, and one person putting bales on the elevator plus one or two people on top of the hay wagon, passing (or dropping or throwing) the hay to the person on the elevator, the wagon is unloaded into the loft and put in neat, stacks. 
It's good, honest work and I can't help but feel like it is so much more fulfilling than trying to complete competitive renewal paperwork, which is what I have to look forward to tomorrow. 

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