This is what our last weekend consisted of: drive an hour, load 130 bales into the trailer. Drive another hour and unload the 130 bales in the shed. Drive back another hour because not all 200 hay bales fit in your trailer and finish loading the 70 that were left. Your back is dead and your arms are jello. Then the next morning you wake up at 6 am finish unloading the 70 bales, hop in the truck and drive another hour in the opposite direction and load another 116 bales; drive back and unload the 116 bales. Your back is still shot and your arms are still jello.
Not only are we preparing for our move and working on home renovations, but we also have been working on preparing our miniature highlands home in their new pasture and this included finding and storing hay bales for the winter. Because our mini's are grass fed, we needed to load up on more square bales than the average joe with only three head of cattle. Right now our storage is limited, but we're making due with what we have until we can afford to build another storage shed or (in my mind) a nice big barn with a hay loft. Hay is in high demand right now because we are nearing the winter months and some people lost hay cuttings to bad weather earlier this year. Around Iowa, some small square grass bales are going anywhere between $5-8 per bale! We were fortunate enough to find some at a cheaper price without losing the quality, but we had to be willing to drive a little further. In the future we would love to invest in a mini baler (yes a mini baler) that makes small round bales and can be pulled behind a small tractor. This way we can bale parts of our pasture that isn't being occupied by our cattle and we can store up throughout the summer.
The pasture is almost ready to be occupied by their new tenants as well. My husband got the fence line up with the help of one of our friends digging in t-posts and wrapping barbed wire, along with hanging the cattle gate. The only thing that is left is moving their shelter to the new property, setting up their waterer and building their new hay feeder, which consists of a metal frame futon, wooden hay catch and u-bolts. I'm tellin ya, Pinterest is your friend when it comes to being creative and saving money for your home and farm! $20 instead of $250 is my kind of deal for a hay feeder.
At the end of the weekend we were tired and irritable, but it was so rewarding seeing our hard work coming together. I couldn't help but think of that stupid Lizzy McGuire song, What Dreams are Made of. Because in all reality, when you're working hard toward your dreams and what you see for your future, 9 times out of 10, it will consist of hard work and long days to get there, but in the end it will be worth it.