Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Hay is on its way, a big Hooray! for another year with stacked horse feed. Yesterday, I rambled around in the heat caring for the Big Ones–cleaning-up, repairing, feeding. It’s especially tiring in extreme weather to work at keeping equines. Key factors behind one’s success are physical endurance and penty of available hay. Annually, the hay delivery day has me sighing in relief.
When first I got horses, about fifteen years ago, hay was plentiful and cheap. There were lots of easily-found fellows who made livings by delivering hay full-time. Early in summer, after a phone order, my year’s worth of hay arrived in a few days, and (this is no small matter) got stacked.
Somewhere in the early 2000’s, America began emphasizing the use of ethanol, a corn-based fuel. This caused manufacturers to alter vehicles by building engines to accommodate ethanol instead of expensive old-style gasoline. Immediately, many farmers revamped their fields and moved from growing hay to growing corn. Ethanol production caused the price of corn shoot up, and of course, hay became scarce and it’s price shot up, too.
We who feed grass hay never dreamed it could become difficult to find. After all, horses need only plain orchard grass and that’s everywhere, or so we thought. But hay became harder to find (much is shipped to other states and to other countries) and grew more expensive. Some delivery folks dropped out of business. In some years, it was a sweat to locate available hay and find someone to bring and stack it.
Hay is more available now and still very expensive. The folks who deliver hay dependably are slammed with customers and often can’t accept new ones. Delivering and stacking hay is hard labor that’s done in summertime heat, and requires knowing how to stack safely. Over the years, I’ve learned to climb onto a stack, toss down bales, and importantly, avoid getting my boots stuck in crevices. An end user figures how safely to draw each bale from a stack, and maintains personal safety by totally focusing on the work.
With hay on the way, my large animals may eat through another year. Periodically, I’ll climb onto the big stack to lower individual bales. I’ll be aware of where my boots are placed, set hay hooks firmly into each bale so they hold well, and sense how to maneuver each bale so it may land safely in a designated space.
Lots of work, horses are.
Dear Readers: On this note I’m going outside, to feed and clear space for the gold en route. Diana