Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Three H's - The Last One

Hay. Who knew it would be such an issue?

I had enough hay to get through Friday evening, and maybe Saturday morning. However, I could not get in touch with the hay guy. I called and left messages and never got a call back. I was in a bit of a panic because I needed hay and I had to coordinate my schedule with Susan's schedule if I wanted to pick up more than the four bales that would fit in the back of my car.

Tuesday I called another one of my trainer's students who I know gets the same hay for her barn at her house. She said that she figured she'd need a shipment in April, so if I needed hay I could come over and get some of hers. I would need to count her bales and make sure I left her with enough to get through to April. So she was super nice and agreed to let me mooch hay. She also said not to pay for it, just to replace it when I got a bigger shipment.


I kept calling the hay guy, but to no avail. On Thursday I finally made the decision that Susan and I would go over and get hay from my fellow student. Since Susan had the day off I'd be able to get ten bales after work (if there were enough bales to take) and then I'd be set for another twenty days. I made arrangements with fellow student to go over on Friday. She said she had to work but told me we could go over and get it. She gave me her address, told me which hay was the correct hay to take, and said to pat the horses before I left.

No problem!

Thursday night, very late, I got a voicemail from the hay guy. He sorry he didn't get back to me right away but he had been out of town. He said I could maybe come by on Saturday afternoon and get some hay. Knowing what the weather was supposed to do Saturday, I called back to say that I'd found someone else to get a few bales from, but that I'd really need to talk to him about getting a small load delivered. I left a message because, no surprise here, he didn't answer.

Friday I'm all set to go after work and get hay with Susan. I called her at about 9:30 in the morning to get the hive report, but she didn't sound okay when she answered the phone. I asked what was up and she told me that there was something wrong with her truck. She had just gotten the oil changed 30 minutes ago and it started running funny. She was on her way someplace else but stopped at the barn to check it out. There was oil splattered all over the bottom of the truck and it was leaking everywhere.

Oh shit.

She told me that she called the mechanic and he was on his way over to fix the issue. I told her that I hoped her truck wasn't wrecked and to call me and let me know if it was okay. I hung up, thinking that it sucked if her engine was blown but also being nasty and selfish about thinking "How the hell am I going to get that hay now, unless I just get four bales?" I called Craig and he talked me down from the ledge, and told me that if I had to just get four bales I could do that, so it's not like Kaswyn would starve or anything. He was right, but dammit this hay thing has been a pain in my ass from the beginning and I just wanted it to go smoothly. Or just a little bumpy.

I sat on my hands for a few hours and called Susan back. She said something was defective with the oil filter they used and the gaskets had blown out on them. The mechanic had come over, fixed the problem, and gave it a test drive. He said it was fine but she needed to come back to the shop and have the engine de-greased. Other than that her truck was good to go get hay.


As I drove out to the barn after work, I was stressing about the amount of snow that was falling. Of course the day before had been beautiful and clear and we wouldn't have had to cover the hay. But today we would need a tarp to keep the hay from getting snowed on. I called Susan on my way to the barn and asked if she had a tarp and some rope to tie it down with. She said there was a tarp that we could use, and that we could probably find some kind of rope.


I got to the barn and Susan pulled the tarp down from the loft. It was the biggest damn tarp I had ever seen. I even said "This is a joke tarp!" It was ridiculous. It could have easily covered both of our cars. I'm guessing it was at least twenty-five feet long and fifteen feet wide. We did our best to fold it (cause it was in a gigantic blue plastic heap when she pulled it down) and got in in the bed of her truck. She had bags of salt back there and we weighed Big Blue down with a couple of those.

The snow was getting bad as we drove deeper into the snow belt. Everyone was going really slow but we made it to the correct street just fine. Of course we drove by her house the first time and had to turn around. We pulled into her driveway and we couldn't see the barn. Fellow student told me that there was a hill to get back to the barn and if the weather was bad not to go back there, but I though that with Susan's truck and 4 wheel drive that we'd be fine. We found the road back the the barn and it wasn't that bad. On the way down anyway - hopefully we'd be able to get back up.

We parked in front of the barn and said hi to the ponies. There was a very cute yearling there that Susan really wanted to take home with her, and there was also this really adorable pony. After the petting I climbed up into the loft, did a hay count, and threw down ten bales of hay. Then we went outside to set up Big Blue.

Susan said that since her truck bed was full of snow we'd be able to put the tarp down, put the hay on top, then wrap Big Blue over the hay and tie it down. When we unfolded Big Blue again I said this must be a joke. With the snow and wind blowing Big Blue took on a life of its own. I found a corner to spread in the bed of the truck but most of the tarp was still out of the bed, blowing around and threatening to fly into the pasture. Susan grabbed the first bale and hefted it up into the truck. Once one bale was down Big Blue was trapped and we loaded the rest of the hay in without an issue.

Then we needed to wrap Big Blue around the hay and tie it down. Susan had grabbed some bailing twine and we tied the front of the tarp down. After covering all the hay with the tarp there was at least ten feet of Big Blue still hanging off the back of the truck. I molded it into a tube and shoved it against the last hay bale. Then I slammed the tailgate and crossed my fingers that the tarp would be pinned between the last bale and the tailgate and stay in place. We swept the aisle, patted the ponies one last time, pulled out of the driveway without incident, and headed down the road.

I checked my mirror a mile down the road and said "Everything is okay with the tarp on my side. How about yours?" Susan said "Uh, not so good over here." Big Blue was making an escape. A corner of it had come loose and it was flapping into the oncoming lane of traffic. You could see people coming towards us and swerving away from the blowing blue monster. I know it was bad but we started laughing really hard. Finally Susan came to her senses and we pulled over into an Italian supermarket's parking lot. She tied the corner down and we went inside and bought some pepperoni bread to eat on the way back.

Halfway back to the barn Big Blue pulled another trick and got loose again. Since there were no more Italian supermarkets I deduced that we couldn't stop and would just have to keep driving. We made it to the barn, unloaded the hay, and then I folded Big Blue up. Hopefully we won't need its services again, but Susan said "You know the next time you need hay it's going to be pouring down rain and we're going to have to get that thing out again." To which I replied "Next time it's going to be spring!" She just laughed at me.

Twenty days of hay and counting. Wish me luck on getting more.


Rising Rainbow said...

I so know this hay stress intimately! With a herd the size of mine, we go through a pickup load a week. It's crazy making, that's about all I can say about it.

I'm glad it worked out for you without any major incidence and I'm really glad you friend's truck wasn't ruined!

dressagemom said...

I'm glad her truck is fine too, because if it wasn't I would have felt somehow responsible!

Katee said...

Just having to find hay on your own is difficult. Add in an oily engine, a snow storm, a giant blue tarp and pepperoni bread and the story becomes almost too difficult to believe! I hope that Kaswyn soon learns how to kiss your tired feet. Or, failing that, quickly becomes hive free and 100% sound for many, many days in a row!

dressagemom said...

That sounds great! Could you let him know so he can get with the program? :)

20 meter circle of life said...

Yay you got hay!! Is it not amazing the amount of work we will go through for these horses, and I would not have it any other way. Your pics in the snow are lovely and if you need some extra mud just yell we have pleanty here in the Pacific Northwest.
My show that is coming up is a league show, I will keep you posted.

Katie said...

hahaha a soon as you called the tarp big blue you had me laughing and I was crying with supressed laughter (im at work) by the end of it.

Glad you got your hay! Hopefully Kaswyn will realise all the hard work you've gone through to get the hay somehow pull those suckers (hives) back in.

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