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!
[Continued next picture …]