I’m so excited. Through Craigslist I found a farmer over in Lewis who wanted to dump some moldy round bales of hay.
I have always yearned for mulch hay to rot into and improve my soil, which is sour rocky sand. Hay will break down into much needed organic matter and meanwhile will carry pounds and pounds of hay seed — which, if I had to buy it, would cost me $125 per bag.
However the cost, even for spoiled hay, has always been prohibitive. With the price of good hay soaring, mulch hay has been $2-$3 for small squares. Big round bales generally cost $25-$40 in this area, and mulch ones $15 to $20. And then there’s the delivery. I don’t live in a farming community. Almost everything I need has to come from an hour away.
I began dickering with this young farmer around the time of my knee surgery. He offered the round bales to me for $6 apiece, which is an excellent deal. However I only had $300 left in my farm fund and I wasn’t sure I should spend it this way. I wrote that I’d have to consult with my husband. Then I went in for surgery. During my silence he dropped the price again. Then again.
When the Vicodin haze cleared, I found he was willing to bring over a hundred round bales to me for a bit less than $3 apiece.
I feel a little bad for the farmer as I think he is barely clearing his fuel expenses for baling this hay last summer and delivering it to me now. However I remind myself that recouping his costs is a good thing, and he is also clearing his fields of an eyesore. He told me he hays 500 acres. No wonder he has bales left over at the end of the season.
The farmer, Todd, is a nice young man with a broad white smile in a sunburned face. He would like to become my regular hay supplier. He was eager to undercut Rick, my erratic but charming hay man, by fifty cents a bale. I told him I’d have to think about that. I owe some loyalty to Rick.
In the meantime I am very excited to see all this future fertility moving onto my farm. The more grazing I can create here, the less I will have to buy in from elsewhere.
Todd drove around the back acres slowly while his helpers pushed the rotting bales over the side of the hay wagon.
Todd says that since he can’t start haying his own fields until 10:30 in the morning (waiting for dew to dry), he will bring one load to me early every day until all the bales are here. I expect that by the end my entire eight-acre back field will be dotted with rotting round bales.
My plan is to mow the weeds and then figure out a way to unroll each bale so I can spread it. Todd thought this was a great idea though he understood that I would be working alone and without a tractor. His grin flashed. “That’ll keep you busy!”
So many projects, so little time! But I am deeply thrilled, and impatient for my knee to heal.