Today we got a delivery of 44 large round bales of hay. That’s 52,800 pounds. It will more than last us through the rest of the winter months. Our herd has grown considerably since I had originally ordered hay back in June of 2007 so our hay needs increased. Hay is something we can’t produce well on our mountain slopes – they’re better for pasturing. I had had two other deliveries lined up for last month but they fell through. We have enough hay to squeak us through the end of March but it is a big relief to have more hay on hand. This means I don’t have to be stingy about putting out hay for the pigs and sheep.
These bales weigh 1,200 lbs which is 50% more than the 800 lb bales we used to get. Our John Deere 4700 tractor really notices the extra weight. These are up at the upper limit of what it can handle – especially when lifting them down from eight feet up in the air! Slowly I go, ever so slowly. Since we don’t have a bale grabber I use my chain and bucket trick to unload the hay, restack it and then deliver to the animals. Dealing with the double stacked bales on the high bed truck was a trick. Next summer I’m going to widen the road in front of the house so I can work more easily around the delivery trailer.
Unstrapping the Load
These bales are large enough that we can not easily roll them. A definite disadvantage of the bigger bales. I need to train Longson, Archimedes, Spot and Big’Un, our big boars, to help with the process. Instead, today Longson was pushing on the other side of the bale at one point as Holly and I tried to roll it. Lot of help he was not… If I can get them trained that would really impress Earl, the trucker, when he comes to deliver!
You’ll note that Earl put chains on the drive wheels of the tractor trailer. He said he never would have made it up the mountain otherwise. He’s dragging a heavy load rather than carrying it over the drive axles. That makes a big difference. He had another set of chains for the other drive wheels but didn’t have to use them this time. Good thing he decided not to come yesterday which was much worse weather. Today was well frozen up rather than greasy ice. Earl calls this his off-road rig.
Outdoors: 24°F/19°F Light snow all day on top of yesterday’s ice, Spots of Sun
Farm House: 52°F/39°F Hay stowed and out.
Tiny Cottage: 63°F/51°F