As we inch into October, the issue of enough hay to last my flock through the winter and until there is grass enough to let them out into the pastures to graze again, has been giving me sleepless nights. Walter, our source, had promised 250 square bales of first cut, May hay. He’d managed to deliver two small loads, but has been slow to schedule the bulk of the order, and the empty looking hayloft was beginning to fill me with the dreadful thought that I may have to start looking elsewhere for hay.
You’d think that with all the pasture land around us that finding hay would be an easy task, but I’d learned that folks who need hay and know about the best hay keep their sources a closely guarded secret. Haying is hard work, and the square bales needed for smaller flocks of sheep are labor intensive and much more difficult to find. My original source, shared with me by the kind shepherd I’d bought some of my flock from, had stopped haying altogether two years ago. I’d tried someone else recommended to me, but found that the hay was dusty and of poor quality (expensive as it was);my sheep were most unhappy.
Then, in a moment of weakness, and perhaps sensing my helpless panic, my friend Sarah shared the name of her source: Walter. And Walter, who I called immediately, promised 250 square bales of first cut May hay. I spent the summer cleaning the hayloft of all the below grade hay and preparing for Walter’s “crack-cocaine hay” (which is what Sarah calls it, based upon the way her flock falls upon and devours all of it).
But, months have passed, and no Walter. He’s a genial fellow, always gracious when answering my many calls and reassuring me that the hay will be delivered “soon”. Well, “soon” arrived two months later than I thought it would, when Walter showed up (with his trusty Lab Chester) yesterday afternoon.
Truth be told, it was a hell of a lot easier putting up 100 bales on cool Fall day than to endeavor to do the same on a hot, humid August afternoon. And the hay looked amazing. My flock, so disappointed and disgusted by what I had to offer last winter, will definitely approve.