Hay Storage

Since I have 150 bales of second cut hay being delivered next week I had to do something with the crappy bedding hay hogging up valuable space in my barn. But where to put it?? that was the big question. Our little homestead is just that – little. Space is limited in many ways which means we have to utilize what we have and be creative. Then mom reminded me that she had read instructions on the web for building a hay storage area out of cattle panels, T-posts, and heavy duty tarp. A simple, easy, relatively inexpensive idea. So I recruited some help and we set to work building our own.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was! The T-posts are pounded in 6′ apart, and spaced out 2′ from each other, and the pressure of the panels pressing against the T-posts is what keeps the hoop in place. Once we had all three panels up we then carried a 5’x10′ deck and slid it inside our hoop, that way the hay is off the ground and there’s less chance of it molding.

Here we are tying the panel seams together with twine:

P1040395All of us were busy helping…all of us except my little sister. There really was nothing she COULD help with since bending panels, pounding posts and carrying the deck was all tough, heavy work. But she found another way to help out:

P1040399Our little Water-Maid 🙂 And ’twas all her own idea.

P1040398And boy did that water taste good! There’s nothing like a cup of cold well-water when you’re hot and thirsty and have been working up a sweat.

Dad got some old rubber hose and cut lengths of it to go around the open ends of the hoop. He split it down the center and slipped it over the sharp metal shards so that no one would get hurt but also so the tarp wouldn’t get torn when we put it on. Ideally a 16’x16′ tarp would’ve been best but Lowes only had a 12’x16′ Heavy Duty one so we had to go with what they had. Here it is all done. Measurements = 12’x6’x6′

P1040404P1040403We folded the ends of the tarp inside and tied them to the cattle panels with more twine. Twine actually comes in pretty handy. It’s easy to tie, tough, I always have tons of it lying around from open/used hay bales, and it doesn’t snap during cold like plastic zip-ties or metal wire.

I think we fit 50 bales in there, but after five or so trips back and forth I lost track of my count. 🙂

P1040405Fancy hung around and watched us all morning while we finished stacking the hay. She’s lonesome. And I feel sorta bad for her. After all she was with a fairly large herd for all her 2 years and then I come along and take her away to be a one-family-cow. Once she has her calf she won’t be so lonely but until then she either has to stick it out or we have to buy a companion animal for her… which means a goat… and I’m not crazy about goats. But we’ll see. If it means she won’t be lonely/depressed anymore so be it. I can live with it. Better that than a sick cow. So after we stacked hay and had a lunch-break I went out and spent some time with my little Fancy. She LOVES to be brushed!


Scratch the poll…


A stiff-bristled brush obviously feels so good!


She’s a good little cow. But part of me still wishes my Jersey was still here. Working with her was an amazing adventure and I don’t regret any of it –  including the tough, painful decisions that had to be made. I think it’s safe to say that Daisy transformed my life. Things didn’t end the way I had hoped but we both did our best. And through it all she showed me what it means to be human. Now I have a new cow – a new project – and all this work I’m doing is for her – because I want to. This is the kind of lifestyle I enjoy, and this is the kind of lifestyle I want to continue to have and hope to have in the future. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.



One thought on “Hay Storage

  1. I can relate to you knowing Fancy is lonely. Cora has been quite lonely since she came here. The goats at first were good companions to her and now she doesn’t like them either. She mostly just likes me but alas, my little girls in the house like me also so I must spend most of my hours with them. I am interested to see how the new calf changes her depression level (can I call it that?).

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