Woke up to a cold, windy, pre-winter day. The only thing missing weather-wise was snow blowing sideways. The leaves are now off the trees. We now have a 360 degree view of the Talkeetna and Chugach Ranges. We’re now also better able to keep tabs on the car traffic going up and down our road. City people have nothing on us.
On our weekend list – the word Hay. We decided to go and get a load after doing morning chores. Pete hitched the trailer to Fish Habitat, our mustard yellow Dodge pickup, and I threw a bit more feed to the horses. Then, with a belch and a snort, we were off.
It takes us approximately 30 minutes to get to our hay supplier’s place. I’m not going to divulge where it is, or who the dealer might be, because his supply is limited. He also has a good product, and his prices are reasonable.
Hay dealer showed us his $13.00 brome hay stash, and $11.50 timothy/brome mix stash. We elected to go with the $11.50 stuff after looking at it. There was some mold on the outermost bales – they’d been rained on – but the interior bales were dry and green. He assisted us/we assisted him in high grading-pulling forth the better bales. I was most appreciative. As I later told Pete, most places, you get what they toss onto your trailer. Not so here.
We talked before, after, and while we loaded up – some about the weather. Hay dealer noted that while the wind’s been blowing elsewhere, it’s been still at his place, meaning the hay on the ground has been drying slowly. As we chatted, it began snowing, wet flakes falling silently out of the sky. So we quickly wrote him a check before taking off. Hay being perishable is one thing, having funky windshield wipers is another. Once at home, we untied our load, ate a late lunch, and then stacked the hay in the left-hand side of the shelter hay barn.
It was then that the day took a slight downhill turn. I say slight because it was not a steep downhill turn. An analogy like bobsledders, most people, including us, have some say about slight, but not steep turns. We finished up, and Pete then opened the door and examined the hay in the right-side hay shed. I knew that at least a few bales had gone bad when I heard him cursing.
There was very little discussion about what we’d do next. You just know what to do if you’ve been through this before, and as well, lived with someone for 26 plus years. I marched into the shed and began tossing bales into the shelter area. And Pete stacked them on the previously empty trailer. We’d decided to put the good bales aside, but there weren’t many. These bales were all bad. A rotty smell and high dust level are good indicators. I was a bit annoyed about having to deal with all this because I’d wanted to get a ride in. So I considered doing the yoga thing and breathing deeply, but then realized that this would be counter-productive: There’s no future in incubating mold spores in healthy lung tissue.
After, I moved the pallets and swept the hay dregs into piles, which I later carted over to the new compost facility. And Pete called Hay Dealer and informed him that we were returning with a load of 48 moldy bales. Undoubtedly, he was disheartened to hear this bit of news. We’d merely been inconvenienced. He, however, was going to take a financial loss.
Hay Dealer is fast becoming a good friend. We talked before, during, and after we unloaded the bad hay, and about a variety of subjects, including one that is dear to my heart, composting. He too is into vermiculture – worm farming. It was very exciting for me to hear about what’s being done on large scale farms.
We eventually returned home, and stacked the fresh hay in the right hand side of the shelter shed. By then, it was getting dark. Rather than piss and moan about a lost day, that is one in which we only knocked a single item off our list, we instead commended ourselves for having the had the foresight to pick up an additional 30 bales, thus having saved ourselves yet another trip to hay dealer’s place.
Next: 308. 10/ 14/12: Leah’s Visit