So.... 2020. Quite the year, huh? I'm waiting for either the asteroid to hit us or the aliens to land. It's been that strange. This particular bit of weirdness is the drought in our area. Rains have been extremely spotty and fifty miles away things look normal. Not us - we have a drought. We aren't California-dry, but we are dry enough to burn up the pastures and have to pull the sheep in four weeks earlier than usual. There is just nothing out there to eat and they are pulling grass out by the roots. We can't let them damage the pasture or next spring will be a disaster. We have enough hay for a regular winter feeding season but not an extra four weeks. We've never had to buy hay before - ever - but, well.....2020.
We are very fortunate to have been able to secure 20 giant square bales from a neighbor. The good news is that the hay is very good and the sheep accepted it right away. The awkward part is the size. We are used to feeding small square bales that weigh about 40 lbs. These weigh 700 lbs.
If they don't already know, somebody needs to tell NASA about the poly twine that binds them. We can carry the bale with the tractor by slipping the tines of the bucket under the twine and lifting. Tough stuff!
The bales come apart in tightly compressed flakes which we load on a cart and roll into the interior of the barn and then heave in the manger and pull them apart by hand. Andy's wearing a mask due to allergies, not Covid, just in case you wondered.
We've found curious things in our own hay bales over the years, usually unfortunate snakes or frogs, once an entire eight point deer antler, the occasional rock, but in today's bale we found this. Clearly it's a fragment of some tool but it's a puzzling mix of lightweight fragile wood and machined hard plastic.
The six holes go all the way through but don't show any signs of wear.
The plastic is embedded in a nicely machined wooden slat at a purposeful angle and we're guessing the plastic bit is a bumper or spacer of some kind that another moving piece slid over but we can't puzzle out what this is a part of.
.One of the more innocent mysteries that is the year 2020!