... or more accurately:
My barn should look like this right now:
Instead my hayloft looks like this:
And this little pile (about 4 days worth) is all the hay in the barn.
I'm no expert on hay economics.... I'm pretty new to this whole hay buying experience... but my understanding is that the combination of drought and last year's huge wildfires in Texas have been having a major impact and contributing to hay shortages here in Colorado and skyrocketing hay prices. So... the fires in Texas turned a lot of their hay fields to ash, forcing them to buy hay from Colorado which already had a smaller hay crop due to drought. Supply and demand. Make sense?
I've been trying since early summer to buy a decent load of hay. I knew I couldn't (or wouldn't want to) buy my year's worth of hay then because it would be too early for this year's crop. So after searching around and not being able to find much of anything, I finally paid too much for a few 900 lb 3'x3'x8' bales to get me through the summer. I paid too much and got poor quality hay... but it kept Murphy and Tucker eating, which was good because our pastures aren't big enough to feed them without extra hay.
The guy we've always bought hay from (since 2009) has dropped out of sight, so I've spent the summer waiting for the hay crop to be ready so I could start the search for someone new to sell me some good horse hay. After asking friends and neighbors for referrals, and striking out on each one (most hay guys won't stack in hay lofts any more, and some wanted $1. per bale extra just to deliver and stack!!), I resorted to Craigslist and after MANY calls, I thought I'd found the guy who had the hay I wanted at a fair price and I thought I might have my hay delivery on Monday... as in day before yesterday.
No hay delivery... no phone call... what's up with this?!
The hay crop should be in, at least a lot of it, at least the first cutting.
So I'll start calling again today.. see if I can find good hay, at a fair price. I've been quoted prices up to $19.95 a bale (and yes, they told me the price with a straight face!) for plain old grass hay. In 2008 we paid $6.50 a bale, in 2009 and 2010 it was $7.50, in 2011 it went up to $8.50 and last year I paid $11. and considered myself lucky to find $11 a bale hay. (This probably doesn't sound like much but keep in mind I buy TONS of hay each year, usually between 7-9 tons... that's 14,000 to 18,000 pounds... so each dollar added to the price of each bale can increase our cost by two hundred dollars or so.)
Ok... I'm done whining and venting... I'm going to go shower then start calling hay guys. Again. And now I only have four days to find hay and have it delivered before my big guys will have to start grazing in the front yard to get some extra calories!
And as long as I'm talking about my big guys... I took this of Tucker this morning.
Getting nosy... :)
Isn't he the most photogenic donkey ever?!
Updated to add: Just talked to the hay guy I thought was coming on Monday... he says he's coming Friday... for sure. He's very agreeable and polite... full of "Yes, ma'am's" and "No, ma'am's" ... I just hope he shows up when he says he's going to.