It’s hay stacking time again. Every year, we look forward with increased loathing to the semiannual hay delivery for our llamas. We’ve determined over recent years, that they are going to eat 200 bales during the course of a year. Our loft will only hold about 100 bales, so we have our local hay farmer deliver us 100 bales in late summer when he does his 2nd cut, and he holds another 100 bales for us until we need more mid winter. We are very fortunate to have such a great source of hay just up the road a couple of miles. He will pull the hay wagon with his tractor down to our barn, and leave the wagon by the back gate. It is up to us to unload the wagon and stack it in the barn.
The distance from the gate to the loft stairs is about 50 feet. Then 10 stair steps up to the loft. With each passing year, the steps get longer, and the hay bales get heavier. We are trying to minimize the effort and make this job easier. Dear Husband and I do all this ourselves. DH takes the hay off the wagon (stacked about 9 feet high) and climbs off the wagon and carries it across the barnyard and up the steps. I stack it neatly in the loft. Last year we sprung for a hay elevator. It’s basically a conveyer belt that runs the hay up the steps and spits it out at the door to the loft.
This has been a great labor saving device, as climbing stairs with a 50 pound bale of hay over 100 times is a killer. Next, we purchased a flat garden cart so that DH can wheel the hay from the wagon to the elevator. It’s helped his job out by 50% but I’m still lifting and stacking each bale in the loft. It’s the age old inequity in job compensation between men and women.
It just so happened that dear friends were coming out to spend the weekend with us when our hay guy called and said he had 101 bales of hay on the wagon ready for delivery. Our friends had generously offered to help with farm chores, so we decided to covertly take them up on their proposal. We didn’t want to scare them off before they even got there. So I surreptitiously told them to bring some jeans and work gloves, and left it at that. They were great. We actually had a lot of fun shuttling that hay around. We got an assembly line organized; one person pulling the hay off the wagon and dropping it on the cart,
one person pulling the cart from the wagon to the bottom of the elevator, and 2 people in the loft catching the bales and stacking them.
In a little less than an hour, we had stacked all 101 bales of hay, each bale eliciting a silent “damn.”
We congratulated ourselves on a free workout, no gym fees involved. We had each lifted over 2 tons of hay by the time it was done.
So our progression of labor saving devices has grown from 1) the hay elevator, 2) the garden cart, and 3) a couple of unsuspecting friends invited for the weekend. (All kidding aside, infinite thanks to our great friends for their help).