Farm Chores [Continued]

Next up, we had to deal with 15 round bales of hay that we had delivered (for a decent price of $35 each.) Now, in this case, “delivered” means “pushed off the trailer to gather willy-nilly in the low spot.” These bales are 4-foot diameter by 5-foot length (called “4×5” ) and weigh about 600 pounds each. Last year we got “5×4” bales (5-foot diameter by 4-foot length) which weighed about 800 pounds, but the guy we bought from had a nifty extension trailer so he was able to place the bales where we wanted them for storage. We store at the high end of the back driveway and are able to roll them by hand — well by body, really, there’s a bit o’ rasslin’ involved — down to the goat shed one by one as we need them. But this year we wanted to get the bales up on wood rails off the ground so they will stay drier, and our little Yanmar is not powerful enough to lift these bales — it probably maxes out at around 500 pounds at the 3-point hitch, so we were delighted to borrow this tractor (loader rated at 950 pounds, 3-point hitch rated at 1600 pounds).

Anyway, (sorry to ramble!) with a little trial and error (and initial inspiration and guidance from Walter Jeffries and one of his SugarMtnFarm blog post on how he rangles hay bales), Eric came up with a system using two chains, one looped around the bottom of the far end of the bale (right half of the picture) looped through a second chain that is in turn looped around the loader mounting frame — would have been easier with one longer chain!

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Farm Chores [Continued]

Since these bales are longer than they are round, they stack well in a simple two-on-the-bottom, one-on-the-top pyramid. Was very careful when lifting the top ones into place as shown here — that 600 pounds up above the hood of the tractor really raises your center of gravity and makes you more prone to tipping over, which would be very bad!

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Farm Chores [Continued]

Behold the finished Hay Storage Project, all tarped up and ready to stay snug until we start feeding it to the goats this winter.

Don’t have any pictures of the Gravel Pile Project, but that loader sure was handy! Eric now officially has Tractor Envy!

A Full Hayloft

We have our hayloft full this year with 150 bales of second-cut hay. The first hay cutting of the season is lower in protein than the second and third cuttings. Besides, this year we had a wet spring and it was difficult for the hay farmers to get the first cutting done at the optimal time.

Today Is Hayday

Today we need to go get some more hay for the barn. We just broke into the last bale this morning, and all the rest of our hay is out in the field buried in the snow.

Hey, Look: Another One!

Our first lambs look over to Happy and her new single lamb, born this morning. We moved the sheep to another pasture on Groundhog Day — in the background you can see the new bales of hay we had waiting for them, plus our stockpile of locust posts for this year's fencing project which will allow us to stop moving our electric net fencing around so much.

Another Snowy Day

We got fresh bales of hay rolled into the pasture for the sheep just as today’s snow was starting. It was too wet yesterday for our annual Twelfth Night bonfire — couldn’t get the fire to stay lit.

Hay Low In The Dell

The pickin’s are getting slim, so we have more round bales on order. They serve nicely as windbreaks, jungle gyms, and bedding as well as food, and they’re durn cheap to boot!

Pistol Pete And The Gals

The goats agree that we need more bales.

Icy Day Sheep

We had an ice storm this morning, on top of last week’s snow. The sheep seem pretty content with their bales of hay.

Gang’s All Here

On a rainy night, goats get the best digs: in the barn, with a manger full of hay. If one goes in, they all gotta be there.

Contentment

As the rain pours down, the goats chow down before enjoying a dry night in the hay.

Sheep in the Snow II

What could be better on a wintery day than to lie on the hay and chew your cud?

King of the Hay

That’s Pistol Pete answering the age-old question ‘Who’s the boss?’ We rolled down a bale of hay once the green grass faded into the winter. Since Pistol is prone to destroy anything resembling a shelter, it’s a good thing he’s discovered that he can burrow into the hay to keep warm at night.