I got my hay put up in the barn for winter already; it’s such a nice feeling to have that done. Last year, I didn’t get it done until September. What a difference a job commute makes in the ability to get things done and stay ahead! Evan, one of the employees at the feed co-op where I shop, asked that I give him a chance to bid on it this year. (Last year I didn’t even ask, just assuming their marked-up retail prices were going to be higher than buying straight from a hay producer.). He is building up the hay business at the co-op, and it’s kind of his baby. I still need hay delivered, as I don’t have the bandwidth to go pick it up and stack it all myself, nor do I own a hay elevator to get it up into our barn loft.

Evan is a good businessman, and haggled with a neighbor who does not deliver but who often supplies hay to the co-op. He was able to beat my last year’s supplier’s current prices by a little bit, and I think this is nicer hay than what I got last year. It was cut locally, within a mile or two of our place. So that means my mineral mix will apply reasonably well even throughout the winter, since the soils are similar throughout this valley.

The only thing I don’t like about these bales is they are 100 pounds. I really prefer 50 pound bales. The big ones are so much more work to lift. But, I can work with it. I met them in the morning to get them started loading hay, but then I had to leave. When I came back, not only was the hay all stacked as I expected, but they had swept the whole hay loft and bagged the extras, and raked it up down below the loft door as well. Nice!

I stored 15 tons last year, and didn’t quite use it all, so I went with that amount again, and will use up the leftovers first this fall when I transition the sheep onto hay. I plan to keep 40 ewes this winter-trying to keep inching up in my numbers.

I need to buy my winter grain soon as well, since it’s all over the news that grain prices are already creeping up. Prices are predicted to skyrocket with this year’s poor harvest in the Midwest. Here in Washington, however, I hear the crops are looking good, and farmers intend to take full advantage of the boon while it lasts.