Friday, June 20, 2008

Hay Day

Since my main hay man won’t be delivering for a few more weeks, I took the day off from my paying job to go pick up a load of grass hay from Hay Jerry. I don’t know his last name, so I’ve always called him Hay Jerry. I called him last week. “Hey, Hay Jerry. Got any hay yet?” “Yes, ma’am.” “Great. I’ll be there Friday morning.” “You bringin’ help? I’m retired you know. The missus won’t let me load.” “Not a problem. I can handle it.”

The adventure began just as I turned out of my ranch. There he was...a great big snake in my path.

I got out of the truck to see if he was a rattlesnake or a bullsnake. Why are all snakes hes in my stories? Just a bullsnake, I discovered. Would I have run him over if he were a rattlesnake? Probably not, but the thought did cross my mind.

So I get to Hay Jerry’s place in Albuquerque’s south valley, a mere 70 miles and $21 worth of fuel from home, and he shows me the stack where I need to back up the trailer to. I suggested he go get a cup of coffee in town and by the time he got back, I’d have this rig in place. I’ve gotten much better at trailer-backing in the last couple of years, but the key to my success is backing it up in a straight line. Hay Jerry wanted me to back up and curve at the same time, to avoid landing in a big hole. I gave it a few pitiful attempts. Defeated and with my head hung low, I handed over the keys. Hay Jerry, of course, backed it up around the curve at 30 mph with his eyes one try.

Hay Jerry is maybe 70 years old. And he has a heart condition. And he’s not supposed to do anything but point to the right stack, collect money, and ride around on his John Deere telling his hired hands what to do. But his hired hands hadn’t shown up yet, and he’s an old-school cowboy who absolutely cannot watch a woman load hay and not help. So as he tried to help, I had to put my boot down and yell at him. I didn’t want a Hay Jerry heart attack on my conscience.

And so began the loading of 60 bales of fescue into the trailer. 60 bales times 50 pounds per bale equals 3,000’s that for a calorie-burning exercise?

Have I mentioned that it was 90 degrees while I was doing this? Hay Jerry would come back and check on me every few minutes, and I truly enjoyed talking to him during my many water breaks. When it came time to settle up, my new BFF Hay Jerry cut me a break on the price - $5.50 instead of $6 a bale, since I had to load it by myself.

The worst part of the day was yet to come. I had to go grocery shopping on the way Wal-Mart. I would have rather loaded another 60 bales of hay.

The groceries, the hay, and I arrived home mid-afternoon, and now the real fun would begin...unloading and stacking the hay. Please notice the perfectly aligned, backed-up trailer at the hay barn. Ok, it took a few tries, but I did it.

99 bales of hay on the wall, 99 bales of hay, if one of those bales should happen to fall, 98 bales of hay on the wall. I cannot get that stupid song out of my head!

Break time.

Mission accomplished!

And for the second time today, 60 bales times 50 pounds per bale equals 3,000 pounds. Guess what I’m having for cream and ibuprofen!


  1. I hear ya on the ice cream and ibuprofen. Been there, at times we unloaded a tractor trailer box full of hay from one box to the other while the delivery guy stood and watched. Helping was extra. Wow, those are some pretty big snakes you get out there. I'm very impressed with the trailer parking. I still have a hard time occasionally now that I'm out of practice.This is just a guess but I'm wagering you will sleep good tonight!

  2. Holy cow! And I was proud of myself that I'm doing a 5K run tomorrow. That's nothing to all your hay lifting. I'm very impressed. I also loved the "Hay Jerry" name. Your blog always makes me smile :-)

  3. I just don't know how you do it with all of these snakes running around. I am afraid to lift something up and find a spider let along a big ole snake. We don't have snakes like that here in OH-IO...

  4. See??? Who needs cowboys? You go girlfriend! You definitely got your cardio and weight training workout done all at once. Ibuprofen will probably be in order for tomorrow too!

  5. I am so impressed Linda! You are a go-getter, a get 'er done kind of gal. All of your hay grubbin' animals will thank you greatly! I remember when grass hay was that price around here. This year, I think it is going to be $7 or $8 a bale! My sister feeds her mares grass hay. My Boy is still on alfalfa.
    And those snakes sure do like to sunbathe in the middle of the you see a lot of snake roadkill around those parts?

  6. Grey Horse, is falling into a deep coma considered sleep? If so, I slept great last night!

    Heidi, good luck in your 5k today. Thanks for stopping by.

    Cathy, did you know I lived my formative years in northern Ohio? Us Ohio girls can adjust to anything.

    Knutson's, who needs cowboys? Rancher-woman needs a BIG load of hay gettin' delivered in a few weeks.

    Pony Girl, my hay-grubbin' animals sniffed me like they were all dogs when I walked out there in my hay clothes. I know they appreciate my efforts. I don't see a lot of snake roadkill out here - that would require traffic. I see more snakes in a given week than I do cars.

  7. You are an inspiration on doing it yourself - wow!

    (and I sure hope my husband doesn't start reading your blog - I might lose my help!)

    I love love love the image of a big stack of new hay. Enjoy.

  8. ME TOO on the 'rather load another bale of hay than go shopping at WM' sentiment. Good for you backing in! Here in Maine I'm paying 3.50 per, this summer if I pick up. But my bales are only 25 - 40 pounds, rather inconsistant in size, good timothy though.

  9. You go, girl! You are an inspiration! I know the next time I'm doing something challenging, I'll be thinking of you and your 60 bales of hay - times two!

    As for cowboys....cowgirls need a little eye candy around too, don't we?

    I hate grocery shopping with a passion. If I didn't enjoy eating as much as I do, I'd probably never go. I don't think I've ever been in a Wal-Mart. I don't like the big-box stores either. Fortunately, I have other choices.

  10. Dude! You've got Macho written all over you. A job very well done, I'd say.

  11. Ok I feel like such a slacker seeing all the work you do to load hay. I get my husband to go pick it up and load it in the barn...and sometimes he even gets our two sons to help out...a little bit.

    I bet you've got a mean set of arm muscles! You'd lay me flat on the ground if we did any arm wrestling for sure!! haha

    I noticed that you've got your shirt all buttoned up to the hilts. Weren't you hot?

    BTW, would you mind sharing your hay resource, Hay Jerry?
    We've been buying our hay 'locally' and paying between $7.50-$9.00 a bale for Alfalfa and Grass Hay.
    We sure could use a break.
    Here's my e-mail: Twinville2

    Thanks...and keep up the great work. I bet some of those cowboys couldn't even keep up with you, girl!

  12. There's nothing like the peace of mind that comes from having 99 bales of hay in the barn. It's getting to that time of year around here where 2nd cutting is gone, gone, gone. I've got 19 bales left that I need to stretch out and mix in with the tough stuff until mid-August. I'll bet you slept well after all that bale toting.

  13. Twinville, I sent you an email with the hay 411. The buttoned-up look was pretty hot, but hay movin' is bad enough without having to deal with all the itchy-pokey pieces down the front of your shirt. Chalk that one up to lesson learned the hard way.

    Victoria, I can't believe y'all are past second cutting. This stuff was the first cut. And now that I've opened a bale, it's a little disappointing. Hay Jerry had to bale it in zero-humidity weather so the flakes just fall to pieces and make a mess.