Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ranch Tour - The Hay Barn

High atop today’s to-do list was hanging new tarps on the front of the hay barn. Now that the obnoxious big blue monster tarp has been replaced with the lean green machine, I’m not embarassed to take you on a tour. (What's left of "big blue" is in the Ranger, ready to be hauled off to the trash.)

The hay barn is situated on an acre of the ranch closest to the entrance. When the hay man comes once a year, he can pull up right next to the hay barn and unload, then drive right out without ever having to back up. Since I have a devil of a time backing up any trailer, I wrongly assume that everyone else does, too. Men apparently are born with a special backing-up gene. Men love to back up trailers just to show off. Well, my hay barn doesn’t give them that opportunity.

I love my new, super-heavy-duty green tarps. I put two side by side this time, and used real tarp bungee cords instead of baling wire to hang them up. The elasticity of the bungee cords should allow the tarp to move with the wind without yanking out the tarp grommets. (Does it sound like the voice of experience talking here? Indeed, I’ve learned these lessons the hard way.) They fit the front of the hay barn just right...unlike big blue, which was way too long and just collected dirt and provided lots of hiding places for varmints.

Now some of you might be thinking why didn’t she just enclose the front of the hay barn so she wouldn’t have to mess with the tarps? Because it’s way easier to unload a hay truck and stack the hay when you’re not having to deal with a doorway, no matter how wide. I also like to have lots of air circulation around the haystack. Freshly cut hay that is not cured properly before it is baled can self-combust, so if you can provide good air circulation and not stack it too tightly, you minimize the chance of that ever happening.

The hay barn is 24 feet wide, 12 feet deep, 9 feet high in the front, and 8 feet high in the back. Not that it ever rains around here, but just in case it does, the water would run nicely off the back of the roof, where there is a 12-inch overhang. Please ignore that pile of firewood. I decided last winter that life was too short to stack it, and since I’m the only one who ever sees the pile, it’s been very easy to ignore until now.

I stack the hay on top of wooden pallets - again, for better air circulation and in case it ever does rain again. This hay barn holds 300 65-pound bales comfortably, which is a little more than a year’s worth for my herd in a year when it doesn’t rain much and the pasture grass doesn’t grow. The hay man will be here in 3 or 4 weeks to fill it up, and I always sleep better with a full hay barn, especially one with tidy new tarps on the front.

Ok - in the interest of full disclosure - here’s how not to tarp a hay barn. How embarrassing...


  1. Oh, I am jealous! That is exactly what we need here right now. I am of course floundering because I'd love the hay barn to match the horse barn and for both of them to have green metal roofs with cupolas but that will be such an expense. So I rebound to the other extreme and think okay, I'll get a heavy-duty hay tent I can use until I'm ready to do the "real thing." In the meantime I have a hay stall instead.

    We put the hay on pallets too and leave gaps. The one good thing about the hay stall is that not only is it convenient, but I open the stall window on sunny days to let the air blow through. I'm ready for a dedicated hay barn, though, and with Redford coming we need to act on SOMEthing.

  2. I had a dedicated hay barn but then got more horses and ended up using part of it for stalls. lol

  3. You are working hard around your place! It looks so nice, I like the green (My Boy and I are partial to hunter green, it is "his color" :)

  4. I LOVE your hay barn! You also have some good tips here for me to remember~thanks for sharing!

  5. I know what you mean about the trailer-backing-up gene! My husband can park anything anywhere! I'm lucky if I can get my SUV straight in a regular parking lot!

  6. Funny about the trailer backing up thing. How true. hehe

    That's a handsome hay barn. I'm a little envious. We keep our hay inside our small barn. It's tough to get back there to stack it and we can't fit as many basles as we'd like.

    I like your green tarps alot. Where'd ya find 'em? Locally, I hope??