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Everyday Operations - Blog Seven

Everyday Operations - Blog Seven
August 12, 2022

Hay in a drought. As mentioned before Winter and Ivy owned a ranch where Winter trained horses and riders before they joined Broken Heart Ranch before it became Wild Heart Ranch. They are now as much advisors to us and developing friends more than workers.

Texas went through a bad drought about 11-12 years ago. Hay price skyrocketed, cattle ranchers went under and horse owners suffered. It was explained to me by Ivy that cattle aren’t kept as pets and the relations between cattle and owners are generally temporary but horses are pets and relations are strong. So horse owners make sure they have hay. Period.

Fortunately the sellers introduced Winter to their hay supplier before they left. Then Winter introduced me to Sheb and Dale. Another time I’ll use names to highlight good people. Thinking back 6 weeks ago. Beth and I were given instructions to find Sheb to get some hay.

If you know east Texas you know instructions to find a place can be vague. Finding a field of hay in the middle of nowhere can be developed by finding road signs but, are normally more precise by going 1.2 miles past the yellow house and then turn tight on the dirt road and go in the big red pipe fence.

We finally found Sheb. Sheb introduced us to his dad Dale. Dale explained they grew sweet potatoes for years then transitioned to growing hay. They must be good farmers, they sure have some nice equipment and barns. I had been advised to get a flatbed truck or trailer for the farm. One reason was to get hay. With only my long bed pickup available Sheb and a helper loaded 32 two string bales on my truck and explained to me the best way to tie it down.

I got to talking with Dale as Sheb did the work. We had a common knowledge of Flathead fords and a shared liking of mechanical equipment, Specially hot rod fords. That formed an initial bond. Sheb and I shared some stories.

Dale and Sheb stood together and told me for the most part hay is hay but you must treat your customers right. They treat their customers right, I’ll evidence that!

Knowing I was a newbie they could have pointed to a pile of bales and told me to load. Or, they could have neglected to help me tie the load properly. They loaded and taught me how to bind the load. Sheb’s wife Linda brought out the receipt book and we returned to the ranch.

Sheb had this real cool attachment in a forklift that allows him to move up to ten bales at a time, he can also arrange the bales on the barn floor and move that arrangement onto your vehicle. Net, net they loaded my pickup bed in no time.

We returned to the ranch to get our first experience unloading and stacking. Remember it is record heat in Texas during these days, I was 15 weeks past major rotator cuff surgery and was told not to lift heavy objects plus Winter is a female. Stop STOP, I am not a chauvinist pig. I just don’t expect that routinely a female should be expected to work as hard as I’ve seen Winter work. More so Winter has two females as helpers. We all unloaded they hay and stacked it.

Learnings from this trip.

  1. Clean the floor before unloading and you can save much of the hay that falls out of the bales.
  2. If you baby the bales you’ll never get them unloaded or stacked
  3. Winter and her team are workers.
  4. Don’t drive 50 miles round trip for 32 bales.

I've stayed here several times. Easy, quick access from I-20. Nice place.

Rodney N.