Thursday, June 4, 2009

Squirreling for Winter

If I'd been given a choice, I probably wouldn't have picked last evening to stack hay. It was in the upper 80's and very, very humid. You know, the kind of day where a casual stroll to the mailbox causes you to sweat bullets? And, there's positively zero chance of having a good hair day? You've got it! One of those days. But, even so, when I arrived at home after work last night our crew of volunteer slave laborers already had one load of the hay in the barn. What a great team!!
It is bright green and sweet smelling grass hay straight from the neighbor's field. A bail wagon consists of about 3-1/2 tons, or roughly 115 bales. We got 4 loads total, which is roughly 14 tons altogether. Looks yummy huh? Well, it looks yummy if you're a horse, or the horse's owner who typically frets and fusses until the barns are comfortably filled with the stuff. And, just like a squirrel, I'm feeling much better now.

Here's the CEO of the organization. Hey, every smooth-running operations' gotta have a supervisor...ours has 4 legs and a very long tongue.

My nephew, Scott. He's one heckuva good worker. This was his first time loading hay. I'd say he was a quick study. Thanks Scott!! We'll be attending his wedding this coming August. Sorry ladies, he's about to become a married man. He works at the family business where my hubby and both his brothers work. Scott used to be with the U.S. Coast Guard. I guess that's where he developed all those muscles. Muscles are quite handy, and not too bad to look at either...I'm just sayin'.

And this guy on the right here, is another Scott. He's a college student, and in a couple of years he'll be attending Oregon State University to study veterinary medicine. For the last several years, he has worked at the clinic where I work, as an assistant to the doc in the field. He's a very, very good hay loader. He's not too bad of a horseman either. He got married almost 2 years ago and last month, he and his wife had their first baby. A sweet little girl they named Emma.

The job went as smooth as silk. This crew worked so fast that we had almost a half hour break between delivered loads. Gave us some time to chat, and have some refreshments. Did I mention that it was very, very hot...and we were all sweating like little pigs???

We even found a very large bull snake who came to an early demise in one of the bales of hay. In a strange sort of way, he was kind of pretty and had little diamond shaped markings on his back. Poor little guy, he lost the battle with the mower, or maybe it was the baler. I forgot to take a picture of him though. I really don't like snakes much at all, but I don't wish them any harm. We don't have any poisonous snakes where we live, no dangerous bugs either. I'm very happy about that.

My friend Shannon who is staying in her motor home at our house for a while helped us too. She is an amazingly hard working gal. She could work a lot of guys under the table. Way to go Shan!! She is just about the best horsewoman I know too. She can pretty much ride anything, and is one very talented trainer of horses. She is patient, soft-spoken and has a knack for helping people feel at ease and build confidence with their horses. She is a natural-born horseman and a wonderful teacher. She used to ride race horses and for years worked sorting cows by horseback in a feedlot in Oklahoma. She's a real cowgirl!!
Here's Scotty again, looking like he might be getting a little tired.
And this is my brother-in-law Steve. My hubby's little brother. He has allergies and probably should have stayed at home, but he helped us out and was a tremendous help too. Thanks Steveo!! His daughter is getting married in September in Hawaii. Doesn't that sound romantic? We will be attending the wedding and it will be our first trip ever to the islands. I am so excited - it's going to be so much fun!!
It was beginning to cool off and get a little dark here. I think this was our last load. That's Shannon on the left, me in the back and Steve on the right. We loaded the 14 or so tons in about 3 hours total, and that included our breaks in between deliveries. I am totally impressed - what a crew!!

I think we were all getting a little tired and maybe a little punchy by this time. But there's always time for having a little fun!! My poor hubby wasn't feeling very well, earlier in the day he'd been to the dentist and had most of his teeth pulled. Poor guy!! At least I remembered to pick up his prescription before I came home. He was our photographer for the evening. Thanks honey!!

Thunder and lightening had been predicted throughout the afternoon and evening, but we were blessed with no rain and no drama at all. The skies however, were glorious and the clouds looked more than just a little ominous!! One time the wind picked up and we thought the storm was headed our way, but I think it was just God's thoughtful air conditioning blowing our way.

You just can't beat God's art. These pictures really don't do the skies true justice. They were magnificent!

What a wonderful evening we had. It always amazes me just how quickly a large and imposing job can be tackled with the help of a few wonderful people. What would have been an arduous and time-consuming job for hubby and me was completed in no time at all, and we had a blast doing it! I am so thankful for our family and our friends. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders because every year, without fail, I fret and fuss until our winters' hay supply is safely tucked away in the barn. What a huge relief.
I know exactly how the squirrels feel.
Blessings everyone.


Gail said...

A shared load is always lighter!

Beautiful skies and beautiful hay.

fernvalley01 said...

Gathering nuts are you ?(LOL)
Good lookin crew , glad you got it done and what a beautiful sunset !

Carolynn said...

What a great team of helpers you have there. I guess that's one sure fire way to know who your friends are. It's a shame I live so far away and had so little advance notice or I would have been there too. Really. I could have poured the lemonade and told jokes or something. :o)

Paint Girl said...

You are so lucky to have all those wonderful people there to help you unload and stack hay! It is a tough job, my other half does the stacking, I stand in the truck and unload it to him. We try to get a couple tons at a time. Especially now that everyone is baling their hay.
That sky is absolutely beautiful! What amazing colors.
I hear you on the heat, but I shouldn't complain, I have been waiting a long 8 months for it!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous skies (I almost said guys!) and nice looking hay, too! Our hay guy has cut and is baling - today I think - so we'll have new bales very shortly - can't wait!

Leah Fry said...

That hay looks gorgeous, and how wonderful to have family and friends pitch in to help.

And the scenery wasn't bad either, if you catch my drift.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

What a beautiful sunset!

It's always such a good feeling to get fresh hay stored. Haying is just starting here. For many years during the drought, it was a struggle to find people who had extra hay and it was very expensive. The last couple years has been much better. While we have our own hayfields, the majority of that must go to the actual money makers-the cows. So we always have to buy extra semi-loads for the horses.

Jenn said...

Sure takes a load of worry off knowing you have a loft full of delightful smelling hay! I'm getting another load this weekend, so I'll be nice and sore Saturday night. It's a good, comforting sore, though.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great sky pictures. It's miserable to do any work in the humid weather. I love to have help doing this kind of work, makes it go so much faster and even adds a little fun to the job.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow! Those skies are amazing! Gorgeous! And your flower photo reminds me of something Georgia O'Keefe would paint.

Yes, you are truly lucky and blessed to not only have all that help with such a grueling job, but also to be able to afford to keep your barn full of hay all year.
Not everyone is so lucky these days.

I was giggling at everyone wearing tank tops bucking the humidity. Yikes! When we lived in South Carolina many years ago, we had heat and humidity, too, and just the sight of those folks in tank tops with itchy hay and sweat is enough to make my skin crawl!

I would have worn a long-sleeve cotton shirt, just to keep my arms from touching that hay, even if I would have been sweating. I sure don't miss that humidity at all.

Enjoy your nuts now :)