Sunday, May 9

Hay storage

I counted wrong, and will have to make another trip to the big box hardware store for more 1x4s to complete the project pictured.  Having goats and only 10 acres means handling hay, and since we don't own a tractor to move round bales easily (we do own a bale spike trailer, more on that in another blog post), we rely on "square" bales.  

The bales aren't really square, technically, I guess they're a rectangular prism if I remember my elementary school geometry lesson.  If done right they're about 1 1/2' by 1 1/2' by 3' in length.  I say "right" because the length can vary based on the settings of the baler used.  With the dimensions I mentioned as "right" they'll stack nicely in layers running 90 degrees to the layer below it and squarely fit on top of each other.  

In any case, having square bales means a proper place to store them.  What that has meant up until now is any dry location we could find (the old barn and the shop building) was game for storing hay.  We would throw pallets down and devise a way to keep the animals out and use that for hay storage.  The pallets served to keep the hay off the ground and allow some airflow under them.  Unfortunately it made for inefficient stacking as the ground we placed the pallets on was never level and no matter how hard we tried to stack them it was always a little haphazard especially after you started pulling some off the stack.

That's where the project in the photo above comes in.  I've constructed this in the south west corner of our new barn, I'm calling it the hay deck.  It's positioned right next to the 10' wide door which should allow us to back the flat bed right in next to the hay deck for unloading and stacking.  If you've ever hauled hay you know that it's a dirty dusty business that no one enjoys.  In the past it would involve us throwing the bales off the trailer on the ground then picking them up and moving them to the stack.  With this set up it should make it less of a chore.  With a nice level surface we should be able to tightly stack 150 bales in this space.

I think the hay deck will work pretty well and as an added benefit I finally get the entire shop as actual workshop space when the hay has it's final home.  I'm looking forward to that, as I've collected quite a set of tools (and the skills to use them) over the years.  I remember 9 or 10 years ago buying my first cordless drill (when I bought my first home).  I had no idea back then the path I would be on now. In today's project I made use of several of these tools including:

  • tool belt - I use this on every project, I just load it up with the hand tools I'll be using on the project and it's always right with me.  I've blogged about my tool belt before.
  • hammer
  • 3' level
  • line level
  • chalk line
  • cordless drill
  • air compressor - now that there is power in all the outbuildings, this is coming in real handy for:
    • air nailer - it makes quick work of fastening things together
    • impact driver - I used it to drive 1/2" by 6" long lag bolts through the ledger board into the 6x6 posts of the barn
  • tri-vise lumber lok - I got this today and thought I would try it out, it indeed made on person board cutting much safer and effective.

So far in the barn I've also wired up exterior lights but it still needs stalls, interior overhead lights, stall lights, and ultimately a concrete pad under a new feed room.  There's always plenty to do on the weekends, and plenty of ways to use my toys, er, tools...


Teresa said...

It's looking good. I know hay can be one of the biggest issues on a small farm. I'm hoping that will no longer be a worry as I have seeded hay fields this year. I can definitely relate to the wondering how I meandered into being a goat herder.

berryvine said...

Looking good! We handle alot of hay every year. I prefer the "rectangular" bales. The large round ones (even with the toys to handle them) make quite a mess and waste alot. We are about to start cutting our hay.

polly's path said...

looks great.
Again you make me question if you and my hubby are related. You and your toolbelt sound just like him.

Doris said...

Chickens can be a wonderful addition to any small farm or rural homestead.