Even though it seems like summer is just winding down, the slight chill overnight serves as a good reminder that winter is coming.
As the pastures are usually covered in snow for months at a time (last year, there was still snow on the ground until at least late April), we need to have enough hay on hand to feed the goats throughout the whole winter.
And where do you store all the hay? in the hayloft, of course!
The local farmer who owns the cows that were on our pastures helped us to order the hay and he delivered it and helped us unload it as well.
Normally, you want the hay wagon to fit into the barn just below the hayloft access to reduce the distance you need to move the hay to load it into the loft. Unfortunately, in our case, the door opening is about 6 inches too short to permit the wagon to fit into the barn.
Instead, we had to carry it off the wagon and then load it onto the hay elevator to get it into the loft. Once in the loft, we stacked the hay for safe keeping until we need it in the winter. The hay elevator has an electric motor that drives a chain with teeth on it to move the bales from the ground level up to the hayloft. The hay elevator had not been used in over a year, but luckily it started right up once we got it into position.
We unloaded around 70 bales of hay. It took about 45 minutes with 3 people. 1 person to take the hay off the wagon, 1 person to carry it from near the wagon and put it on the elevator and 1 person in the hayloft to stack it.
Now our hay loft has over 90 bales of hay, which should see us through the whole winter.