Monday, June 28, 2010

New Hay Supplier

Below is a post I wrote before Bombay's trailer accident. I'm going to take leave from blogging for a short while. I was already so overwhelmed with my job and school, and now that I'm caretaker for an injured horse and a sick dog, I just don't have anymore time to spare. Because dealing with Bombay took an entire day out of my weekend, I fell behind on my homework, my house cleaning, my errands and chores, so I'm starting off the work week on a bad foot... just like Bombay.


I've been the customer of one of my valley's oldest, most well known, most politically active hay farmers for over 10 years now, but he keeps raising his prices. A block, or 76 bales of hay, costs nearly $1,200! He's charging $15 a bale plus delivery costs. To make matters worse, every time he comes by to deliver a block, he insults me in one way or another. I'm tired of the abuse.

I saw an ad in which someone was selling grass/alfalfa mix for $7 a bale or $8 a bale if delivered. I called the number and found out it was last year's hay and only 40% alfalfa with 60% grass. I usually prefer 50/50, but beggars can't be choosers. I asked if they deliver an entire block with a harrow, but all they had was a flatbed truck that could carry 40 bales at a time. I decided to try 40 bales, and if they worked out, I'd keep doing business with the outfit.

It turns out that their bales are smaller than the more expensive bales I've bought in the past, however the hay does look good. They've kept it in storage, so it's not bleached. They have a money back guarantee for moldy bales and bales with weeds. The hay farmer asked me whose hay I have been using. I told him and said, "It's getting a bit too expensive for me."

He and his wife laughed and he said, "He's pricing himself out of the market."

I know a lot of his old customers are jumping ship and going with other farmers. The shorter bleached stack is from my old hay farmer and the taller green stack is from the new hay farmer.

I was hoping this batch would last to the second cutting, so I could get some of this year's hay, but he said he always sells last year's hay. He cuts hay for his own cows and saves whatever is left over to sell. That was a bit disappointing, but selling hay is not really his main business. He just shares with the public at a lower price when he can.

What was really funny was that his two dogs sat on top of the hay in the back of the truck. I have no idea how they got up there that high. They must have jumped out of a hayloft onto the stack. They were very well behaved and moved out of the way each time he had to move another bale. He and his wife pulled each bale off the truck and stacked it on my pallets for me, which made it well worth the extra $40 for the delivery. I really don't feel like pulling a muscle in my back, so delivery is very important to me. My husband and son are strong, but they both have hay allergies, so I hate to drag them into stacking hay. They get stabbed in the arms by sticks and end up itching and sneezing for days afterward.

Another thing I really appreciated was that this new hay farmer was in and out in 10 minutes. My old hay farmer was a talker and could easily suck up hours of our time. Both my husband and I dreaded his visits. He's one of these people who you can say, "I've got to go. I've got something in the oven..." or whatever, and he'll just keep on talking like he never heard you.

I was about to ride Gabbrielle when I got the phone call that the hay was being delivered. I didn't want to have to worry about the truck showing up while I was riding, so I cleaned water troughs instead. It's a good thing, because I found two drowned sparrows in two water troughs. I also cleaned the winter blankets, so that they will be ready to wear when the first snowstorm hits... God forbid.

Oh yeah, and I also made it out to the feed store to pick up some horse and dog items and posted an ad for trail riding buddies while I was at it. We'll see if anything good comes out of it, but in the meantime, I'm plenty content riding the trails alone.


Stephanie said...

I am glad to read that Bombay's injuries were not too serious. No neurological problems...(although quite bad enough!) but I am sorry to read that life has you so crazy right now!

Take care of yourself!!! and all your wonderful animals and I look forward to catching up when you get back to blogging :)

fernvalley01 said...

What do your hay bales weigh? Sounds like with all you have going on a break will be much needed! good luck , take care and we will see you when we see you

Leah Fry said...

Just read the last 2 posts together. Glad to hear Bombay is doing better, but I think you're right about having to do some retraining about trailering. Poor baby. How sweet of Gabbrielle to care for him.

I just tried out a new hay guy too. We had been getting it from a guy right across the road, which was super convenient, but he found buyers who wanted the whole cutting, and we felt like we were more of a bother to him than anything else. We just got 5 900-lb. round bales the other night for $50 each delivered and set for us. The hay is nice and clean, the bales tight. Nice guy, too. Hope they work out for both of us.

Katharine Swan said...

The new hay supplier sounds like a big improvement -- I hope the hay is as good as it looks! And I hope you won't take TOO long of a break, either, because I will miss your blog posts!

KD said...

I understand the no time issue. I haven't updated my blog in months. That hay looks great. Our horses mostly get straight grass hay - our bales cost between 4 and 6 dollars, but only weigh 50# if we're lucky.

Dreaming said...

I was off the Internet for a few days so I'm just reading about Bombay's accident. I totally understand when you started Sunday's post by saying: "After having such a wonderful day on Saturday, Sunday followed it up with a nightmare."
That seems to happen.
I also understand how time consuming the blog can be. Enjoy some time off. Take care of Bombay. Get some great rides in with Gabbrielle. Sc*(^ the neighbors. Good luck.
I look forward to seeing you on the blog in the future.

Breathe said...

Take care of that horse and yourself. We'll be fine till things calm down.

But we'll miss you. :)

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Your hay looks really nice. At least you know it's not moldy. I find that when I buy it out fresh of the field, some bales will often turn bad on me by the time I go to use them.

I've been paying $7 - 8 a bale for the last several years now. And the bales seem to be getting smaller and smaller. I've been getting pure grass (on the vet's recommendation) but I don't think they're getting enough to eat so I'm going back to part alfalfa.

Crystal said...

The new hay looks really good! Hopefully he will have enough to keep you full and you dont need to go back to the other guy.

Grey Horse Matters said...

We've recently switched our hay guy too. They must think there is gold hidden somewhere in those bales lately. The prices were getting ridiculous.

Hope you find some trail riding buddies from your ad. That would be fun.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I'm catching up...and very sorry about Bombay's trailer accident. Glad his legs will heal and that your vet did such a thorough job caring for him.

A good hay supplier is hard to find. It's a shame when they get greedy.

Hope you can get caught up on chores and homework and enjoy some horse time. Best wishes for Bombay's speedy recovery.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I hope this hay dealer works out because that hay sure looks great, and the price is right, and they don't waste your time. Sounds like a good deal to me!

I hope you find some riding buddies from your ad, too. I agree about riding by yourself. Sometimes it just works out better. You can connect with your horse, and not get distracted by someone always talking. I think that's why I prefer to either ride alone, or, if I'm in a group, to ride way in the back. That way, it's "my ride".

Either way, have fun and be safe.

Take all the time you need to get caught up and take care of things around your place. I've been doing that a lot more lately, too.
I'm also preparing for my first ever horse camping trip this weekend. woohoo!


ps The Horse Boy book you gave me was an inspiration for my latest Horse Whisperer post. That book has made me cry with some of the similarities.

baystatebrumby said...

It sounds like you and Bombay have been through the wringer. I am sorry that that happened to him. And I hope you are able to have a good July in spite of everything. Those neighbors of yours are so naughty. I wish they'd just move away from you and a sweet old lady who likes to make pies and keep a beautiful garden would move in!

Callie said...

OMG! where have I been? I'm sorry to hear about Bombay, I hope he heals quickly without any permanant issues, poor boy. Looks also great that you had a nice trail ride with Lostine. Sounds like she really pulled through for you, awesome. Sorry, I've missed so much. Take care and well wishes for Bombay!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Gee, I missed a lot in a couple of days.

On your new hay...Barn stored hay does not lose nutritional value, so if you can pick up last year's hay at a better price, you are getting a good deal. I have been doing the very same thing around here and saving $1-2 a bale. That adds up in a hurry. $$$$

When I worked for the Ag Extention office we often tested hay, so it really is proven that older hay does not lose nutritional value if it is stored inside.

Poor Bombay. Is there a possibility that you could load him in the first stall and turn him around so that he rides backwards? That is if you don't want to have to take your center divider out. I think hauling loose is good for horses that panic though. You will notice that if they can, they will usually turn around and face the trailer door, which is why I suggested hauling him backwards in his slot.

Good luck and hopefully things get calmed down around your place. Yikes!

Sydney_bitless said...

LOL your husband on a skateboard??

Oh on the pill taking. Put them in a plastic bag, crush them with a hammer, get a piece of bread and put molasses, jam, applesauce etc. sprinkle on crushed pills, fold bread slice in half, cut folded slice in half and feed to horse. Make sure you feed a piece of bread with just the molasses/jam/whatever on it first to make sure they know whats going on. Haven't had a horse refuse it yet and makes less of a mess than water/pills or powder.