Make Hay while the Sun Shines

Hay fields grew thick and quietly over the Shenandoah Valley in my youth. Tractors and hay making equipment were busy working the fields, dropping hundreds of fresh-baled hay onto the ground and hauled to barns for the coming winter.

Fields full of tractors, wagons, balers, and the best part, young, tanned farm boys, were busy ‘making hay while the sun shined.” It was exciting watching those strong young men toss those heavy bales onto the wagons as if they were handling only a feather!

Baling hay is hot, hard, scratchy work. We baled it on the 1,300 acre farm we called home for many years. At that time most everyone grew their own supply.

But at they say, times have changed. At first it was the equipment that changed. I recall how ‘odd’ the big round balers looked when first they appeared. Boys were not so willing to work in the hay fields anymore, the big round bales covered that lack of manpower.

Slowly big farms got smaller and smaller, then sold. Thus was the fate of ours. The few big farms that remained supplied the need for hay.

I have purchased hay my entire adult life. So when my twinster and brother-in-law, Chipley and Kent Gordon, starting selling hay to supply local needs I understood that. What I did not understand is that they are called ‘hay brokers.’

What started out in 2015 as a small, honor-system, pick-it-up-yourself hay from their small barn has evolved into a busy, local hay supply business. A thriving family-owned and operated business.

Tractor trailer loads of hay are delivered to their new, big hay barn. Built in the Spring of 2019, this large barn holds up to seven semi-truck loads of hay, according to Chad Young, Hay Manager for Colorado Horse Hay, and also the owners son-in-law. Large orders are delivered by a compete staff of men driving their own trucks and trailers. Small orders are available for pick-up yourself.

Hay is kept orderly according to size and type. Chad knows his hay and his way around those huge stacks. Bales are much larger than ones I purchase here in the East. Bundles of Timothy is the most popular. Chad said in the summer they can go through four semi-loads a day!

Their hay is supplied as far away as Wyoming, and surrounding areas as well. He said they serve customers as far away as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and even Florida! Check out their website:

Thank you for the tour Colorado Horse Hay folks. Keep up the good work!

A barn full of hay and trailers ready for delivery.
Chad Young—Hay Barn Manager
Chipley and Chad
Chad can get seven semi-loads of hay in the barn!
These are big bales of hay!
The hay is beautiful.
Loading up a customer order.
Good hay for hungry horses.
This little skiff of snow does not hurt the hay.

All in a Days’ Work

I grew up working in the hay fields at home on our 1,300 acre farm at Endless Caverns in New Market, Va. I always loved being out in the hay fields. The fresh cut hay always smelled so good, the rhythmic sound of the machines, and of course, hay can only be made ‘when the sun shines!’

That farm was sold many years ago. Though memories still linger, most especially in springtime here in the valley when hay making is in full swing. In this time of year barns are full of the fresh hay of this past season. A barn full of new hay is a sweet smell indeed. Folks have come into our little barn and remarked about how good it smells! We do not have enough land to make our own. It must be purchased.

Our barn is small, so we have to go often to restock our supply from our man in West Virginia. He has beautiful hay, and has been our supplier for many years. Our horses are in good care with the quality of his hay. I am a hay hog, or so I have been told. I do not feed our big horses grain, but I do feed them lots of good hay. On cold, blustery nights and days, hay is a far better feed for the horses. It keeps them warmer longer than grain. On bitter winter days, I have ‘hayed’ them three times during the day. There is such a thing as horses getting what we call a ‘hay belly’, but I have found that is mostly because of poor quality over quantity.

Most hay is now baled in big rounds. Ours come in square bales. We prefer it that way. It is more work on our part as we must tend to the animals morning and evening. However, there is not as much waste. Horses are picky eaters. Ours lick up their daily supply! I also like to shake it out on the ground for them to check for weeds, and, believe it or not, I have actually found a baled, dead field mouse in one bale. Yikes! It happens occasionally.

Time is nearing for another hay run!

HoneyPie eating sunflower seeds chickens left behind!
Eating time!
Time for a drink.