Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

Hauling Hay

Having a bit of excitement, due to a short stretch of particularly greasy highway, wasn’t our only hay hauling fun, this past weekend. Though as prepared as can be, what can go wrong, really will.
On our first load, we decided to give hauling five, large round bales a go. The trailer was certainly rated for it, and the fewer the trips, the cheaper the overall cost of fuel. We use proper ratchet straps and know what we’re doing, yet there are still times, when everything seems to fight your best efforts. The bales were cross-strapped to keep them in place, we did a few, check and re-tightens along the way, and it should’ve been fine. It wasn’t. Sweetpea drove like a professional, made no sudden changes in direction and was mindful of the load at all times, yet the load still eventually decided to do its own thing. She pulled over about ten miles from home, so I could do yet another check and to my dismay, those two top bales were no longer sitting as securely as when we’d started out. Though the straps were as tight as ever, there was now a definite list to the passenger side. It was enough that I suggested we get off the highway, and take back roads home. That’s the problem with long-grass bales. It’s near impossible to get a really tight bale. They’re squishy and somewhat unwieldy, and it’s difficult to keep them from moving as if they have a mind of their own. At least if we took back roads, we had a chance of finding a farmer with a loader, if we needed one. We figured if we went super slow, we could make it home, and if we didn’t, the closer to home we got, the better. We had a machine at home that could sort out the problem.
Travelling at a snail’s pace, we carried on. We had to go slow, to keep the bales from trying to fall off the trailer, but just as important, keep from creating too much dust. Hay bales suck up dust, like a sponge sucks up water. We didn’t haul hay all that way, to ruin it through impatience, but a few miles from home.
Well, long story short, we turtled our way home, doing so, without losing any bales, too. It was a bit annoying though, as hubby kept complaining that he was bored, and couldn’t we go faster. The girlchild just sighed in response. As for me, I grinned at her. He did think he was pretty funny. Maybe he truly was bored, because he chose to stay behind for the next load, which happened to be uneventful as we only hauled three bales.
The next day, it was once again, just Sweetpea and I. Hubby chose to stay home. He reasoned that if we didn’t know how to haul hay by now, we never would. He’s probably right, too. We decided to try one bale in the truck box, and three on the trailer. That one extra bale would cut the trips by one, so was worth doing.
Typical horse lovers never stop admiring, or at least pointing out horses, and there were plenty of them to look at, on our hay runs. We had a bit of a chuckle, when we noticed a horse standing in the middle of his hay, snoozing. It was so like a horse, to sleep in, or on its hay. They often lie down in it, but standing in it, is also a big favourite. They’re also not adverse to the idea, of relieving their bladder on it, then walking to a different bale. We used to have a mare we called Libby, who did that whenever she had the opportunity. She would pee on hay just as soon as it was thrown out, then quite happily eat elsewhere. The other horses would avoid the soiled hay, and that darn Libby would go back to it later.
We carried on, still grinning at the horse snoozing over the hay as if claiming full ownership, and watched for it when we went by with the load of hay, over two hours later. Darned if it wasn’t still standing, pretty well exactly as we had seen it before. This was a little strange, yet not unheard of. He didn’t appear to be stressed in any way. He was simply standing there, still snoozing, another horse nearby.
Of course we were watching for him, when we went for the second load of the day, and sure enough, he was still there. This time, he was all stretched out, doing what horses are apt to do, pee on the hay. Both amused yet somewhat relieved to see this normal, equine behaviour, we carried on to get another load of hay. Though still concerned, we had no time to stop and check on the horse. The farmer was waiting to load our trailer, and as it was, we were just going to make it in the allotted time. Right then and there, we decided we would stop and check on the horse and not drive by, on our way back, no matter what.
Headed back and nearing where the horse was, I realized sweetpea was concerned, as was I. That horse had stayed on both our minds. Within a few minutes, we would see him away from the bale, or we’d know something was very wrong. He came into view, still in the same spot, the middle of what was left of a big, round bale. Something was definitely wrong. The big horse had to be entangled in something. That much was obvious.
We’re not the sort who can ignore when an animal is in distress. Already slowing down, sweetpea pulled the truck and trailer over, and parked it across the end of the driveway.
We had spotted a couple of people standing not far from a row of bales and the fenceline, and that’s where we headed. It was highly likely, they were completely unaware that one of their horses was in trouble. After all, the horse was simply standing there, not fighting, or putting up any kind of fuss at all. If one didn’t know, it would be an easy enough thing to think all was well. To anyone looking, it was a most pastoral scene. One where one of the horses was quite happily standing in the buffet.
We were glad we stopped. The people weren’t aware that there was a problem, and the horse was swiftly released from its fragrant trap. It walked away, as if it hadn’t just spent at least eight hours, caught up in a round bale, hay net. The sight was one that gave the girlchild and I, a great sense of relief. If we hadn’t stopped in to let the owners know, we would have wondered and worried about that horse. That worry was gone, poof, just like that.
Sometimes it’s good when hubby doesn’t go along, too. He knocked some big jobs off ‘the list’. While we hauled hay, he stripped a pen, repaired a shelter, including pushing in a new fence post, how I don’t know. I would’ve said that pushing a fence post in with a loader bucket, to be at least a two person job, apparently not. That man knocked a few things off that list, and added some as well. The latest project, is to put a ‘people’ door into the side of the garage.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB