Monday, December 14, 2015

The things we do for our horses...

There are three feed/farm supply stores that I tend to frequent, each for something different because God-forbid that one store carry everything I need.  The one that is closest to my house is the only one that carries the Standlee compressed hay that I like to get for Nimo, and I typically end up going there every 3-4 weeks.

One thing that I find colossally aggravating interesting about this particular store is that unlike every single other feed store I've been to in the area, it stocks all of the hay and feed in the store.  So, if you want to buy a bale of hay (or a bag of feed), you go into the store, get a shopping cart just like the one you would find at a grocery store or Target, push the cart to the hay section, load the bale into your cart, push the cart to the check-out lane, wait in line, pay for the hay, push the cart out to the parking lot, load the bale, and then push the cart back to the store because there are no cart returns in the parking lot.  Typically, I would just walk into the store, go to a cashier, tell him/her what I want, pay for the order, and then give a ticket to someone at a loading dock.  That someone would load my hay/feed/bedding into my vehicle and thus make me feel less like I was robbed because I'm paying obscene prices for hay.

The latter model makes a lot more sense because hay and bedding and feed take up a lot of interior space in a store and most people want to buy more than one bale or bag and don't necessarily enjoy loading it themselves.  But maybe this store is trying something new on purpose...I mean, what do I know?  I'm just the customer...It is true that theoretically, I could find a helpful store clerk to assist me with loading my bales, but I have yet to find such a person at this particular store.  So, I mostly buy 2 bales when I go, because that is how many I can squeeze into the shopping cart.  I could probably make multiple trips, but after I've wrestled two 50 lb. bales into a cart that keeps sliding away from me, struggle to push the heavy and now unwieldy cart (because it probably was designed to put groceries in, not hay bales) to the check-out lane, wait in line because there is somehow only ever one cashier no matter how many shoppers there are, go through the painful process of checking out (there is often a malfunctioning barcode reader or a price issue), explain to the surprised clerk (who is surprised because she can't believe I found someone to load the hay for me) that I really did load it myself, push the cart out to the parking lot where I again wrestle with the bales while the cart wanders aimlessly around, and wheel the cart back to the store, I've kind of had it with said store and said process and I just want to go home.

Today, however, I was lucky enough to come across what I suspect to be the only cart in the store that is designed more like a cart you'd find at a garden center.  It is sturdier and has a large platform on the bottom with just a small bin on top near the handle which conveniently carries my purse.  I can fit THREE WHOLE BALES in this cart, so I took advantage of the opportunity.  The cart was regrettably too big to turn or navigate easily, but I still managed to get three bales, which extends the time between this visit and the next.

The extra fun part was that it started raining shortly before I got to the store (I probably would have gotten there before the rain started, but I stupidly took the route that apparently all other people in the world also decided to take, thus causing the speed of my vehicle to slow to that of an arthritic amoeba).  So I loaded the hay into my husband's tiny car in the rain, and I thoughtfully put my keys in the exact spot upon which I would need to load the hay.  I unfortunately did not realize this particularly brilliant maneuver until after I loaded all the bales and spent 5 minutes trying to find the keys and wondering how a person could possible misplace keys in such a limited amount of time and space (I misplace keys quite frequently, much to my dismay, and I have apparently permanently lost the other set to my husband's car, so I am on probation when it comes to possession of keys).  Eventually it occurred to me to unload the bales, whereupon I uncovered my missing keys. 

By then, I was soaked and irritated and still had 2 errands to run (one of which was going out to the barn to unload the hay).  Luckily it was still 70 degrees outside, so I wasn't cold.  I was, however, thinking longingly about the dry ground that was starting to emerge in a few places in Nimo's paddock and how the rain was really going to snuff out all that dryness.

To add to the fun, the time was now fully into the "rush hour" (which basically means any time between 2 and 7 these days), so I could expect lots of exciting times waiting at stop lights and creeping along the well-traveled roads out to the barn.

I did manage to find a couple of radio stations not playing Christmas music and I alternated between happily singing along to good music and drifting off into the semi-coma state that commuters get when stuck in traffic so that they don't go insane and just start running people off the road in a haze of anger because it shouldn't take 10 minutes to go half a mile. 

It had blessedly stopped raining by the time I got to the barn, so I was able to get the bales into a wheelbarrow and set up in front of Nimo's stall with a minimum of effort.  And then I gave Nimo his one flake of hay, petted him for a minute, cried about how muddy he was, and headed off to my next errand.



  1. I'm still stuck on the concept of putting your hay bale into a cart! Now that I see your photo of the bales, it's a little more clear, as they are wrapped and small. Our smallest bales are about 90 pounds, my last bale of alfalfa was 105, I'm not lifting that into my cart!

    1. Yeah, they are a little easier to manage than regular bales. They weigh about 50 pounds and because they are compressed, they take up less space, but putting one in a cart does seem ridiculous...:)

  2. Those are the cutest little compressed bales! :) (Had to drag a 120-pound monster bale of bermuda grass the other day...I think I like this option better!)

  3. Sometimes just getting something on the To Do list "done" is a massive achievement! :)

    That is the weirdest feed store ever! My local feed store is set-up to drive through, so (after paying in the office) you drive down the aisle to where your feed is and they load it right there, under cover inside the shed. Or you can have your feed/hay delivered, which can be handy. Unfortunately (like the unhelpful feed stores in your story) they have stopped stocking the brand of feed I buy!

    Usually when I buy hay, I have it delivered (I often buy from the grower) and try to get 100-200 bales at a time (I'm lucky to have shed space). It costs a little more for delivery, but it is so easy! Seeing a big stack of lovely hay in the shed makes me smile! :D Hearing everything involved for you to get your 3 bales, I imagine you felt the same way! :)

    1. Your feed store sounds awesome! I love the idea of driving to the aisle to pick up your order! And yes, seeing lots of hay stacked is a lovely sight:)