Today was hay day. And no, I’m not referring to the app for your smartphone. Hay day means something entirely different around here, and it requires a heckuva lot more work than swiping your finger to feed your virtual livestock. Today, we had 100 bales of hay delivered for the goats. They go through 2 ½ to 3 bales a week, so this should last us through late April.
I’ve talked about the rain we’ve had and the havoc that it’s wreaked on our garden. Unfortunately, the same can be said for hay. Hay is scarce this year, which means that it’s – you guessed it – more expensive than usual. When we called Hay Guy (I’d post his real name, but I’m against doing that on the internet without express permission from the individual) a few weeks ago, he told us about the predicament hay was in for the year, and how second cutting (higher quality) hay is pricier than normal. He did offer to drop off 5 bales of first cutting (lower quality) hay, as it might suit our needs just fine and be more economical. Then we could put in a real order after we see how Pepper, Flora and Peony did on it.
The first time I dropped that first cutting hay into the manger, they looked at me and howled. Yes, howled. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a goat howl, but they do. They were not happy, and they wasted more of it than not as they picked through it, trying to select only the choicest parts to eat. We wound up letting them out of the pen to browse in the back woods so that they could get enough to eat, because they were having none of it. Goats will eat an old tin can indeed! The next time you hear that little tidbit of absurdity just smack whomever happens to be saying it.
So, we called Hay Guy, thanked him for the suggestion but we’d be springing for the higher quality hay. Our storage space is the upstairs of the barn, and it took a solid hour for Rachel and I to get it all upstairs. If anyone is looking into homesteading, first floor hay storage should be high on the priority list. Every once in a great while the thought runs through my head that perhaps Rachel is right and having a milk cow isn’t a terrible idea. Then we go through days like today and I realize that even the smallest of cows go through a bale of hay per day rather than a goat, which barely goes through a bale per week on its own. That’d be an awful lot more bales to haul upstairs. So no.
Anyway, I think we’ll be turning the goats out into the back forty more often. For one, it will keep the hay bill down. For two, it will increase the amount of time between hay deliveries and having to run up and down the stairs with 50 pounds of cumbersome weight.
When we were done, I had a tall glass of milk.
Then, we had homemade pizza for dinner with mozzarella cheese from our goat milk.
It’s backbreaking, but I’ll haul hay.