Feb 2, 2013

Groundhog Day




February 2.  Groundhog day.  One of my favorite holidays because it doesn’t require a special dinner, partying till the sun comes up or buying a gift.  And it’s outcome doesn’t change a thing, really.  


I’m not counting the days until spring as much as I am counting the bales of hay.  If we get enough moisture this spring so our pasture grass comes in lush, we will have enough.  If the drought continues (as it seems it is), we will need more hay.  Right now it is going for around $120 – $150 per round bale.  When it’s cold, our horses seem to go through one about every week.  To say I’m nervous about it is an understatement.   




In an effort to conserve the hay and avoid waste, I bought a net*.  The horses have to work a little harder to get their hay and there is a lot less waste.   It has taken some practice getting it on right and securing it but this last time seems to have worked okay.  I did put some holes in it when I hooked it to the feeder, but just “sewed” it up with twine.  We are on day 9 of the bale today; hope to get another 2 days out of it.  (If interested, info on the haynet at the bottom of this post.)




Earlier this week, the temps dipped down to single digits with high winds resulting in wind chills at –10 to –15 degrees.   John helped me blanket the herd the other night.  Ninety-nine percent of the horses in Nebraska survive the winter without being blanketed, but it makes me feel better when they are.  It’s still hovering around freezing right now, but the sun is now out so I’ll go out and undress them this afternoon. 




Pip loves the barn cats.  Tom, who has always cuddled up to our springer, Maddie, when she was alive, has allowed the pup the same liberties.  He will roll in the barn and she will pounce at him.  It was hard to catch a picture that was not blurry; Pip does not hold still for long, but you get the idea. 




When Tom has enough, he climbs back into the hayloft.  He is such a tease!  I love being out in the barn with the horses and the other animals.  Just wish it weren’t so blasted cold right now! 




Entries for The Distance Derby 2013 are now closed.  There are 129 riders this year, including the editor and a writer for TrailBLAZER magazine.  I am thrilled that they are publishing my story of the Distance Derby 2012 in their March issue.  Last year at this time, I had already logged over 90 miles.  This year, I have barely 35 miles.  Once we get through February – our coldest month – I’ll be more motivated.  In the meantime, I am filling the calendar with riding plans.  For the record, I have filled John in, too, even though he’ll claim he knew nothing when the time comes.  I’m also working on the Platte River Riders schedule.  I’ve asked the other chapter managers to fill in their rides and I’ll publish what I have next week. 




*I bought the haynet from Gourock.com as did several others folks I know.  I ordered 15x15 and it seems to work okay for my round bales.  It was $68 + $12 shipping.  If you are interested, here is a direct link.  It is tricky to get it completely covered but with practice, it gets easier.  We netted it this last time while on the bale fork and then used different ties (bungee cords, twine) to tie it to the feeder. 




  1. they haynets such a good idea! Lets hope that it will last two more days :D

    1. It's Monday - and there is still hay... Yeah!

  2. I hope it will, too! :)

  3. We're so spoiled with our "moderate" climate here in Western, WA. It gets really wet & the wet makes it feel colder than it is, but we never drop down into those single digits! We're paying $24. a bale for Timothy now. Have a heck of a time getting hay - since Eastern, WA sells all that they grow overseas now... Long time contracts with those growers have been tossed in the dirt for the big Bucks that come from Japan etc.

    1. I wondered how it was in some of the states that didn't see the drought like we have going here. Our alfalfa is going for $10 - $12 a bale now (50 to 60 lb). So scary!

  4. love that first picture, stunning. Never thought of a hay net for a round bale. Learn something new every day.

    1. That wasn't the best shot of Fancy but I liked the "in the feeder" look. The color in the pic was with a free photo ap on the iPhone. I kind of felt like I was playing with crayons! :)

  5. Pip and the barn cats are too cute!

    1. I think Pip wants to live in the barn with those cats. She gets SOO excited! Tonight we went to Doggie Class and it was the first time she has been around a lot of other dogs. She was quite overwhelmed!

  6. Hay is the topic, to be sure...everywhere!
    Our barn owner is furious...she found "Cheat Grass"(sp?) in our 100 lb bales of Timothy orchard mix. She probably has 6 tons left for the winter/ spring till she may reorder...but now, the hay dude is acting like it is her problem! YEA, it her problem- no hay, yet you've paid for hay...and now no person of character to get hay from!

    You look as though you've got a good system there....hope you can continue to find those Rbales.That is alot of $ for them.
    Love the top shot, through the upturned frame.

    Do tell what the visit is for, to my fair city!

  7. P.S.
    Heard we are to have an early spring?? Your temps are really frigid cold there...Hang in~

  8. Omg, did you say $120 to $150 for a round bale? I'd be nervous too! I think they go for about sixty around here. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm always nervous about hay. No matter where I live, how much grass I have, how much storage space I have, hay is always a big worry. It's not like you can run down to the store and pick up some if you run out because you found yourself with "cheat grass" like your other commentor (sp?) mentioned, or mold or something.

    Congratulations on the upcoming publication of your story!


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