Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Body Building

I moved 10,000 lb of hay this morning. That's 5 tons of hay! It was already in our horse trailer. Sometimes we tarp the trailer and use it as hay storage. This time, though, we need the horse trailer to take our sheep to the Skagit County Fair on Friday. So I moved the hay.

These are those Herculean bales that even the muscle bound, young Adonises break a sweat over. Of course, they bench press the bales to break a sweat, and move them in minutes, tossing them like salad into the horse trailer. I, on the other hand, definately do not bench press 100+ lb bales, and it takes me more like an hour to get it all out of the trailer and stacked in the garage.

I, being the consumate Engineer, use all the Engineering principles I can find to help - levers and wheels, friction and fulcrums. I, also being woman, use every finesse technique possible to move gargantuan hay bales - one layer at a time, tip them out of the trailer onto the hand truck, tip them off the hand truck onto the pile - use the hand truck!

Every bale had to come out of the horse trailer, some higher, some lower, some right at the door, some way back up in the tack area. Knock 'em down, drag them back, tip them out, tip them up onto the hand truck. That's Once.

Next they're trucked across the garage from front, where the horse trailer is, to the back, where the haystack is. That involves tipping the hand truck, rolling the hand truck keeping the bale stabilized, rolling into place at the haystack, then tipping them off the hand truck. That's Twice.

Now they get stacked. The first ones are easy, just tip them off. The last ones are hard - they go up. The first ones are easy... but not too easy. They have to be positioned, scooted, tipped, pushed, pulled. And they're lowwwwww on the floor. Ugh. After a few are in the first layer, I use those as a platform to lever the next ones up. Tip a bale against one on the bottom layer, remove the hand truck, push on the upside to get it horizontal enough to push - push it into place. Repeat. Repeat. Third layer? Lever it on up from the floor to the first layer to the second layer, then finally the third. Three layers is enough! That has to count for two times... Three and Four.

Twenty five 100+ pound bales of hay moved four times is 10, 000 lb of hay. And, there was "stuff" in the way, so it had to be moved first - lawn mowers and pallets and bags of alfalfa pellets and sheep feed. I didn't count that this time. ;-)

Those sheep better appreciate all this!
- Franna


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Of COURSE they won't appreciate it -- they DESERVE it, don't you know -- and MORE! Ha! I just look at it as taking care of my animals AND getting a workout without having to pay for a gym membership....

Kathy L. said...

I hear you, Girl! As kids, we'd help buck bales in the summer at my grandmother's farm. Now I have animals, here I go again.

BUT, we women tend to "Work smarter, not harder" and invent ways to move such things without using brute strength...something most men just don't get. My DH watch me unload bales from the truck (before the surgery) - then noticed I parked the truck on a hill so the bales would more easily slide off the tailgate into the wheelbarrow I was using...then I would take them to the feedroom where I would tip the barrow up and the bale would land right at the place I needed it to be, usually partially tipped up so all I had to do was heft the other end up. Done.
It was last week I saw him doing the same thing. I wonder if he'll take credit for doing it that way? ;)

(And I'm hoping he'll help me with a cheesemaking video I have to share with you...IF I can find it, since I can't get into the areas where it might be - down low)

Franna said...

Yes, the smarter the better! The advantages to parking on slopes are overlooked and underappreciated by the opposite sex, too. Sliding out bales and loading sheep. Sheep who willingly jump up 12" balk hard at 18".
Cheese video! Cheese making is on my fall "to do" list.