Last week I bought a smidge of hay to last the year (7 ton) from an awesome gentleman I found via craigslist. It took me a while to find just the right hay I wanted: orchard grass or timothy or a blend, no brome or alfalfa in it, since I have found Chief's tummy is very sensitive. Additionally I had to call about 14 people to ask if they sprayed the field with aminopyralids in the last 3 years. I use the horses manure to make garden compost, and 1 year that compost killed all the beans and tomatos due to a hay field being sprayed with this herbicide
So, I find some perfect hay. 4th year stand Orchard grass, pure stand, first cutting, virtually weed free, and no spray applied in the last 3 years . Only this guy has 3 ton left. I reserve the 3 ton and resume my endless calling to find another 4. I locate some equally awesome hay for only a bit higher price and make the call...turns out it is the neighbor to the guy I am getting hay from already! Sweet. So after work I take a drive out there to examine and pay for said hay.
Stop #1 is to the original hay, and he had someone decide not to buy last minute...he has more than enough for me! Hooray! That saves me about $120. I call the other farmer and she understands and says she'll just heckle her neighbor for stealing business.
Now for the problem...I have no truck or trailer. I discuss possibilities with the hay grower and he recommends I call a friend of his who stores hay there already. Turns out through work I have met this fellow before. We arrange to have it delivered on Saturday.
Saturday rolls around and I get a call mid afternoon from the delivery guy wanting to know if he can come see the set up so he knows which rig will work best. Fine by me! He comes over, says he'll load the hay and bring it out with a few ranch hands to help buck that evening. 8 pm rolls around he calls to inform me that he's been called out to a fire. The fire is big...currently at 6,800 acres and burning hot. No problem, fires come way before hay .
Tuesday. Yesterday. I get a call at 6pm asking if he can show up in 20 minutes. Of course! I go out and straighten out pallets and sweep up old hay and just tidy up. I hear a big truck coming up the hill...and a few moments later my eyes are filled with glorious green, fresh hay (as are the horses' as they lined up at the gate nickering with big, "starving" eyes). But what is this truck? Why a full fledged semi! OK, we have quite a bit of room, but not a TON of room, but I trust the delivery guy, he knows what he's doing.
The giant truck pulls past the driveway, stops and begins to back in with a spotter on the ground. Sweet, this guy is a pro, look at him navigate that narrow driveway! Then the whole cab twists. Oops, no one saw the ditch on the passenger side
Big ole' Peterbuilt is royally stuck, wheels spinning, high centered on the gas tank (thank goodness a rock wasn't right there!). The next hour is spent digging under wheels and tank, wedging with various pieces of lumber and rocks, trying to unstick the stuck truck. I met a lot of our neighbors last night...and the delivery guy made lots of contacts as people eyed that amazingly perfect load of hay and wanted to know where to get some.
We finally ascertained that our method was NOT working, and all the jostling had shifted the hay which was now quite precarious. Well, the truck is only like 250 feet away from the shed, let's un load it from here! Oy vey. We got maybe 1/2 ton unloaded before everyone agreed that was not going to work with bales averageing around 90 lbs.
New plan. DH drives delivery guy home to pick up a dump truck and fill it with dirt to add weight. The guy is about 20 minutes away, so this adds another hour and a half almost 2 hours to do everything and get the chains and all that jazz. I explain the situation to 5 more curious neighbors in the meantime. By the time the dumptruck comes it is almost dark, but a few more helpers had come along--great since we were now having to flag traffic through as people were getting home and we're taking up the road.
The dump truck was able to pull the semi, trailer, and 6.5 tons of hay out of the ditch and into the safe, flat road. Hooray! With a bit of careful jockeying we got that troublesome load backed into the bay of the hay shed and were ready to unload and stack. By now it was pitch black other than a nice big, nearly full moon and we don't have power to the shed yet . Time to run extension cords and prop up a spotlight. Easy peasy.
Unloading was going quite well despite the less than perfect lighting. When we got to the front of the load and went to take the last strap off, we noticed the bales were bulging WAY out. Everyone was a bit on edge since a few days ago a local farmer died when stacking hay and 3 bales fell on him (RIP). Some more problem solving. Luckily we have lots of lumber right now and we assembled a quick little leg jack to hold up the stack. Shortly thereafter we finish unloading without any further issues at exactly 10 pm.
I don't think I have EVER had such an interesting hay buying and hay delivery experience. I had already had a frustrating day at work, then with a new farrier (THAT is a whole other saga). My medical condition was acting up and I was almost in tears multiple times, thinking it was all my fault. But part way through I realized something. This group of people, strangers a mere few hours before is working as a team to get through this. Neighbors I have seen drive by 100's of times yet have never met stopped to see if they could help, offer a hand, or just encouragement. It was a side of humanity we don't see everyday: cooperation.
Additionally, DH got to talking with the delivery guy driving him to his house and made a potential business connection, so he was happy.
There truly is a silver lining in EVERY seemingly bad situation.