I'm not "back", not really. I've been checking my email/blog/a private forum or two with personal friends on it once a day and otherwise only using the internet for shopping for brass bells*, doing research, checking on my library books and finding recipes. Aside from that I have been turning the computer completely OFF for all but about an hour a day. Wait, no, not true... I have been also using the computer to watch an episode of True Blood each day, now that I have read most of the books they were based on. lol.
Well, I needed to send Tsu an IM about his surgery friday (Tonsils coming out, EEK! and fixing his deviated septum) and I thought I would pop in and make a post. This means I will be going to facebook to post the link, and I haven't been THERE in days.
Well anyway, earlier this year I was all relieved that I had my entire years worth of hay money stashed away. And then... medical bills, unexpected costs, my neck being jacked and needing fixed... Once again I was stuck with a winter on the way and without having my hay money (or the hay itself) secured. Folks who don't live in a really rural setting don't fully understand the concept of "stocking up for winter". Natural gas comes piped to your house, dog food and cat food can be bought at the corner store once a week, and you can buy tomatoes at the grocers all year around. But here... there are costs that accompany winter above and beyond that. You need to stock pile hay, fire wood, save up for filling the propane tank (at times a fill can be as high as $1100. Even the minimum they will deliver is close to $600).
Realistically in today's world you don't need to stockpile food for winter but... I feel better knowing I have some of that laid up in case, too. It's not uncommon for the snow plow to only get to our road 3 days after a big storm. You can't just pop out for lettuce and mangoes when there are two miles of road buried under 3 foot of snow between you and the nearest plowed road.
So... I spend all summer worrying about being ready for winter, and all winter being worried about having enough to make it to summer so I can start over. And not having 12 months of hay in my barn (or bank) by first of June drives me nuts.
So, last week there is a knock at the door. familiar looking guy standing there, "Hey,you bought some hay last year from me and my brother..."
"You Jim's brother?" I asked, then mentally slapped my forehead because the guy looks JUST LIKE Jim. I could run into him 500 miles from home and take one look at him and have to double take to make sure it WASN'T Jim.
"Yup, we just pulled our last field of second cut and we are dang near outta room in the barn. I just remembered you was buyin' hay from us before and was wondering if I could make a deal on a trailer full we ain't got no room for. I just can't see lettin' it sit out and get rained on, so I figured I would offer it to ya for cheaper if we could just move her right into yer barn."
"Hm, well, I'm broke right now but how much you got and how much you want for it?"
"I ain't counted it for sure but I'd guess it's about 150 bales, I was thinking maybe $200 would be fair. If ya ain't got the money right now you all can just pay when ya can, it ain't like we don't know where ya live." *laugh* "Ya know just as long as it don't take like until next year or nothin'."
Now I usually buy their first cutting for $2 a bale. This is pretty much crap hay. Weedy, bland. It's busy work hay basically. I give the weedy bales to the goats (in the past I used the weedy ones for bedding, because it was cheaper than the straw around here) and grassy ones to the fatties. I mean to my horses, who if I give them REALLY good hay either get morbidly obese OR if I limit their hay they get bored when it is gone and eat my barn to pieces. I never ever buy anything other than first cutting. But I know their second cutting is almost completely free of weeds, and is a nice soft grass, better than what I usually get but not so rich that it will make my horses blobs by spring.
So I went and talked to Tsu about it, and he said it sounded like we could swing it. So sunday he brought the trailer over. I think we got closer to 135 bales, for $200. And I was able to pull the cash out to pay right away ('Cause I don't like owe'n no body...) And it is lovely. Soft, pale green, no weeds. We had two bales bust open while we were putting it into the barn and I gave it all to the horses and goats. 20 minutes later every herbivore i own was laying down on the soft fresh hay, munching around themselves.
GOOD grass hay for under $2 a bale? My friends, it just plain don't get no better than that. Depending on how the grass goes this summer I may be set for hay until end of January. I'm at least set until November. It's a great thing to know that your critters have food for a good long time.
The very next day after we got it delivered and stacked it stormed all day. Perfect timing.
*I've started taking the goats out, like a goat herd... me with my walking stick and the goats running loose, all except my queen who I keep on a long line until they figure out how this works. I want bells for them, each with a different sound so I can track them and they can track each other... and a big Swiss style cowbell for myself to use to call them back to me. So I have been looking for brass bells to hang on their collars, from 1 1/2 inches tall to 3 inches tall...
I'll take my camera out on a goat walk next time, and post them.
Time to shut off the computer for the day, have a good one, friends!