Since summer began, we here in Oklahoma have had thirty-five days of searing temperatures over 100 degrees. Our pasture grass first thinned, then browned, and is now crunchy and scorched. Without green pasture, the horses have been eating hay since early June.
But hay is hard to come by in these here parts. Farmers say their hay fields yielded only a third of what they cut last year. Demand is high and prices have soared. The farmers we bought from last year were sold out by the time we called in our order.
Fortunately, earlier this year our son-in-law had purchased property in Stilwell that included a hay meadow. When we learned he was baling his hay, we asked to buy 12 bales.
I think since we let him marry our daughter, he felt obligated to sell to us without inflating the price.
On Saturday, we left before dawn for the 80-mile drive to Stilwell in order to meet Tom and his eldest, Wil, at the farm to haul some bales home.
Tom and Wil attach the hayfork to the tractor.
Tom loads a round bale onto the tractor.
Are you thinking, “There’s no way that big round bale will fit into that horse trailer”?
Well, think again. Not only one, but two bales fit.
Are you thinking, “There’s no way that big round bale will fit into the bed of that pick-up”?
Two more bales load onto Tom’s utility trailer.
The tractor gets put back to bed.
Pancho, Tom, and Wil secure tarps over the hay for the long drive home.
Tarnation. The spare was flat, too. It turns out the stem was brittle and had popped off. Tom drove into the next town to get it fixed. This good-looking cowboy relaxes until his dad returns.
In no time at all, the tire was replaced.
Pancho and I drove to town to fix the stems of the remaining tires, which were all brittle and about to come off, so said the repairman. While there, a man approached us and asked where we bought our hay, calling it "a prize." Another man patted the bale respectfully as he walked by the trailer. I felt like we'd won the lottery.
Once home, the horses helped themselves before we even turned off the truck. They are happy now.
Thank you, Daughter Karen, for marrying a man who has a hay meadow. Thank you, Tom, for selling to us cheap. And though we are very grateful, may we take this opportunity to remind you that because she is so incredible and wonderful, um, you probably still owe us.