Monday, January 18, 2010

How to get the hay from the hay mow to the horses.

I took my iGadget out to the barn with me this morning.  I was expecting a phone call and figured I'd better give the old reliability thing a try.  Since I had to go up to the hay mow and had the Gadget with me, I figured I'd take a few pictures up there.  Then I decided I could get a blog post out of it!

This is the view looking to the south.  You can see my barn gloves parked on the bale in front there.

Just behind this spot is a square hole where I throw down the bales.  I flip them end over end then give them a shove with my knee.  It works pretty good.

Now we take a little walk along the edge of the mow.  This usually freaks people out real good and proper.  That small path of planks... that's it.  That's your path.  And the boards themselves aren't very close together.  Jethro won't go up here, because he hates how the planks flex under the weight of his size 13 barn boots.

I'm not so worried. I'm not as big as him.  There's a big solid beam just to the left, and I can grab that if I need a little security.  Plus, I used to spend hours up here, decades ago, looking for kittens with my little sister Sweetie.  I kind of like it up here.

See the white glow over there, past the hay bales?  That's where  we throw the hay out of the barn.  Go... to... the light....

But don't fall out.

No really, don't fall out, because that window, on the third floor of the barn, is pretty high up.  Long way down.  Look at this, my horses look like toys.  Not often you get to see them from this angle, eh?

I'm at least kind enough to give a yell before I throw hay down.  They look up, but not usually all the way up (I don't think their necks are designed to look up!) and swivel their ears to the direction of my voice.

But they're mellow little Appaloosas, and this doesn't really excite them all that much.  Even if my aim is bad, or there's a brisk wind, and they end up with a couple flakes of hay in the head, they don't do much more that walk a few steps and dive their noses back into the feeder. A flake, by the way, is a section of hay.  The baler gathers it up and binds it together into a bale made up of sections.

For perspective, here's a shot with my toes in the picture.

Ya like them purple barn boots?  I got them for my daughter at the thrift store a few years ago.  She quickly outgrew them, and instead of moving them along to another kid, I tried them on.  Much warmer than unlined rubber boots.  And kinda flashy!  Really brightens up the old boring navy coveralls!  But I digress, as I often do when I start talking about workwear.

So yeah, it's fun to see the world from that viewpoint.  Sometimes I take a few deep breaths while I'm there.  I should do that more often.

After throwing some hay down into the corral, it's time to go back down the ladder to the second floor.
I repeat my bale-flipping to get over to the hay chute.  A sturdy piece of plywood with a hand hold fits flush into the floor until I need to push the hay downstairs.

I even get a push broom and sweep the hay leavin's down the chute.  I don't like to have a layer of hay on the cement floor up there.   It eventually rots into a musty smelling mat if it gets left long enough.  Also, sweeping it up means more edible hay makes its way out to the corral.

And I'm sooo cheap, I'd rather have the horses eat every little stem than throw decomposed hay onto the compost.  Of course all of this hay is just compost waiting to happen, if you catch my meaning.  I'd just rather have the horses enjoy it first.

More vertigo! Have a look down the hay chute! Each bale slides down the sheet of plywood, and lands on the one thrown down before it.  When I get downstairs, I stack them up at the end of the aisle, and rake up all the loose hay that's escaped on the way down.  I like to keep about five bales of hay down there.  It shouldn't be stored long term on concrete, but four or five days is okay, and means I don't have to go up to the haymow every day.

Oh look, there's my purple toe again.  Beside the plywood, you can see a gate (which is not as closed as it should be).  This is the section up by the stone wall, not big enough to house a horse, where the stairs go up.  I also park my wheelbarrow at the bottom of the stairs.  I would like to point out that nice cleanly swept concrete floor.

So that's how the hay gets from the hay mow, down to the stalls.

And just remember, people: Make the world a better place. Less Hatred, More Hay.


Sydney said...

Isn't it funny how horses look up or to see them looking up.

I climb up to the top window in the mow and call the horses all the time. Indigo comes trotting over below the window which is just as high as yours, if not higher and peers up at me with curiosity.

Heidi the Hick said...

I think it's funny... You'd think they'd be naturally kind of afraid of anything above them, like a mountain lion ready to pounce on them!

They always look like they can't quite figure out what the heck is going on up there.

Your barn must be an old bank barn too.

JKB said...


*happy sigh*

The memories. We had one of those too, and I loved exploring it.

*happy sigh again*

Heidi Willis said...

I misread your title in my blog sidebar as "How to get horses to mow hay."

I moseyed over here rather quickly!! :)

Still, I LOVE the look at your barn. Awesome place! I wish it were a bit warmer and I could curl up with a notebook in a corner to write. Or is it smelly??

Love the boots. Triple love the boots. :) You seem....good. Usually winter gets you down, but I think this barn is doing good things for you.

Heidi the Hick said...

aw Jen, so glad I could bring you back some happy memories!!

Heidi, it's actually not very smelly up there in the hay mow. A little musty if stuff gets stirred up, but there's lots of fresh air and seems just slightly warmer than other parts of the barn. Still a little too cold this time of year to take off the gloves and write.

The light up there is incredible. The little iPhone camera can't really get the light.

Thanks... I do feel pretty good, considering everything. What a relief. I'm not even riding, but just being near the horses seems to help my moods! And the purple boots. Definite booster.

as for getting the horses to mow hay... we do sometimes refer to them as lawnmowers!

Four Dinners said...

That's a a bloody long way down!!!! Throw more hay in case you fall off!!!

Much as I love em I am unsure the horses would catch you!!...;-)

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Paul Tee said...

I'm glad to see it's not one of those round bales you have to struggle with.

The farmer leaves those big round things around in the pasture. My sons (3 of them) have races rolling them downhill. One ran over my youngest, but has such a large footprint my kid wasn't hurt. It's fun to see them end up on the low end by the fence.

mugwump said...

Ooooooh. I don't do heights. I think I might barf...I'm sure dizzy. Oops, I just sped up the composting a bit. Sorry.

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