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Monday, November 2, 2015

The Runaway Round Bale Feeder

It was windy last Thursday when Mike and I delivered hay to two different locations.  The first trip we made, we took a load of large square bales and the buyer unloaded them with his tractor while one of our Little People and I checked out the sheep, took a walk and later watched from inside the truck cab.  The second load of hay took a little more effort in the delivery, and it's a good thing the Little Person had gone home to be with her momma.

We took a load of small square bales and one round bale to a home where the buyers were unable to assist with unloading the hay due to disabilities and injuries.  The square bales were not a problem.  There were only forty bales and we are use to moving small squares.  After stabling the horses, Mike and I got the forty bales unloaded in good time.  These folks, however, did not have a tractor or any means to move round bales other than by hand.  Mike had brought a dump trailer and the plan was to dump the round bale on it's flat side and then put the hay ring around it.  Mike brought the hay ring up to the top of the field and set it on edge so that we could place it around the round bale once it had been dumped.  He then went to back the wagon up to the desired location and I got into position where I could direct him and make sure he didn't hit the gate posts as he backed inside the pasture.  As Mike was backing up a huge gust of wind hit and from the corner of my eye I saw the round bale feeder begin to roll down the sloping hill.  I remember saying "Oh my gosh" over and over as I turned and ran after the round bale feeder that already had a good jump on me.  My mind was calculating the speed of the feeder, the momentum it would gain, and how it was going to take out part of our hay customer's fence when it hit.  My almost forty eight year old body was protesting with every step but my brain was saying "Run faster.  Fence repair is no fun either."  As I somehow gained on the feeder, the thought crossed my mind that IF I actually reached it in time, trying to "catch" it could send me rolling down the hill with the  feeder.  I had a momentary visual of a cartoon farmHer flattened out, rolling round and round with the feeder, and crashing through the fence.  At this point,  I was able to reach the feeder and stop it from crashing into the fence with just a few feet to spare.

Of course, when we got the trailer situated and began to "dump" the round bale itself, I was concerned that it might bounce up on edge and roll down the hill as well.  I told Mike I didn't think I could stop an 800 plus pound round bale.  He said, "If it starts rolling, just get out of the way."  Fortunately, the round bale slid right off on the flat side as we had planned.  We then placed the feeder around it and turned out the horses.  All in a day's work.

Mike, who had seen the whole run away feeder escapade but was powerless to help, said I had saved the day and took me out to eat for my reward.  Who says farm life is dull?