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stacking hay by hand  RSS feed

 
steward
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It seems that recently there have been two or three mags with articles about stacking hay by hand.

These pictures seem to be the same ones:  http://www.hayinart.com/003028.html

Anybody ever stacked hay by hand?

That would be a workshop I would like to attend. 

I wonder if there are youtube videos.


 
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wow! that has to take some real skill. truly an art in both the skill and aesthetics.
 
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I saw a bit of video of Sepp holster piling up hay unless i imagined it. agri rose macaksie.
 
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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a few issues back Mary Janes Farm Magazine had a beautiful article with wonderful pictures of how they stack hay in the old country in free stacks around a tall pole..how the woman stands up and holds onto the pole and the men fork up the hay to her, and then when it is huge, the woman slides down the stack into her man's arms..very romantic..tee hee..and beauiful article.
 
rose macaskie
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  Paul wheaton  I have found the video that ends with sepp tying up btis of hay and standing them up agianst each other. It is at the end of the video that you find  among sepps other you tube videos, called "work in Ecuador against natural disasters". It comes at the very end of this video. agri rose macaskie.
 
paul wheaton
steward
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I have seen him stacking straw with grain on it - but not hay.

In fact, he told me that he gets his hay from a neighbor.

 
                          
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Location: Marble City OK
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Gosh it is easy to stack hay that way ,mainly they do it when they run out of room in the barn ,i used to help my aunts and neigbohrs back in South Tirol , (a few miles from Sepp. And yes i understand when he talks his type of german).
It looks fancy but all we did just stack it and press it down ,and as it reaches a certain height it gets combed to shape. Believe me it is work LOL especially the last few feet .
 
                        
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Location: South Central Idaho
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You guys crack me completely up. To break a horse .. go mess with a horse and he will teach you some bed side manners pretty quick .. so will a few thousand bales of hay over several years. Let life talk to you .. and don't try to walk through any closed doors .. future wise. If you try something and it doesn't come easy .. let it rest a while and try it again. There are open doors and closed doors.

Stack the bottom row on edge .. it is best to put plastic down .. edgewise, they absorb less moisture from the ground .. a gravel hay bed of appropriate width and length, close to the pens and the end of the stack facing into the weather is best. Always cover your hay with a tarp and take off several weeks worth of hay at a time and put it in a shed if you can build one. If no tarp .. cover with two layers of straw .. tight.

When you buy hay make sure it was baled right .. all bales are the same length. A wore out baler will throw banana bales .. long and short. It will be impossible to stack it correctly. Don't buy hay that is too heavy to lift. Farmers like to throw heavy bales and save twine .. teach them by walking away. They may bale lighter ones next time.

Mold in hay is an immune suppressor. Don't buy hay without smelling it. Run your hand over it and it turns your hand black is moldy hay. Moldy hay has a smell .. musty .. it kills animals.
 
rose macaskie
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Dusty Trails, you can learn from a horse but it is quicker to learn from a person who knows a lot about horses. MY grandmother taught me and she spent her whole life with horses not that i am a great expert i only spent part of th eholidays with her, The people who have insisted i learnt from the horse figuratively  speaking have left me to do some slow and lonely learning and sometimes the idea has condemned me to failure, i curse them internaly as i remember such learning. Learn it yourself has been an excuse for not bothering with me and for maintaining their superiority, mobody could accuse them of haivng helped me up at all.
    Teaching is one of the parts of the human social experience often a part reserved for women, though people like jesus and buddha are teachers, and is one of the abilities that make people a whole person, a complete person will knows how to teach and how to do and how to lead will be good at it all. You do teach though you pretend not to approve of it you have told us about hay. agri rose macaskie.
 
Mother Tree
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"When you buy hay make sure it was baled right"

Dusty Trails - you really crack me up! Stacking it when it's in bales isn't exactly difficult, it's loose hay that needs a bit of skill, and I think we're talking about actually making hay not just buying it in!  

We make loose hay for the donkey and just heap it on the ground over the summer, with a waterproof sheet thrown on top if it looks like it might rain.  Anything she hasn't eaten by the first 'proper' rains get used as mulch (we need mulch!!!) and we buy baled hay in for her over the winter.  We lay poles or somesuch on the ground so that the bottom bales aren't in direct contact with wet ground and just pile them up and tie a sheet round them to keep the rain off.  I've never built a 'proper' hay-stack with loose hay, but when we were in Wales we did occasionally build 'stooks', which are small, tall heaps with the tops combed to deflect rain.  If we were half-way through haymaking and the weather changed before the hay was dry enough to get in, stooks would help to preserve the hay for a few days until the weather dried up again, then we'd have to break the stooks open and spread the hay out again. 

Haymaking in Portugal is different.  Just cut some.  Wait till you have time, and then fetch it in.  If it rains, just shrug - it will soon dry out again.  The first time we made hay here all the locals trooped out to help us fetch in when they thought it was ready.  They were used to working with no tractors or carts so they showed us how to cut string the correct length, tie one end into a loop and use it to bundle just the right amount of hay to carry on your head to an empty shed that they also commandeered for our use.  It was a brilliant experience, but it's a heck of a lot easier just forking it loose onto a trailer, piling it loose and throwing a tarp over it.   
 
                        
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Rose I grew up on a ranch by my self with a Mom and Dad that had no experience to speak of with horses. If I can learn in this climate at age 14 and enjoy it .. I will never knock it and will always recommend it.

I have been bitten and kicked and gone upside down and hung in space with a Mexican Saddle horn over my heart .. hung in barbed war a few times .. kicked by a stud and my Dad told me I was faking it. I took off my boot and poured a pint of blood out and he got sick.

Once I had the experience .. another matter. My grand daughter in June of this year was making 3K a month training cutting horses after work and putting them on cows on the third ride .. because she had been taught blood lines over seven years of training by me .. she took bloodlines she had ridden previously and had them dropping down, squealing and pinning their ears .. having a ball.

She took Grand Champion Showmanship at halter against all age groups at twelve and her 4-H horse was a three year old that she selected and she broke.

I put my stud colts on zero tolerance for biting and kicking and my grand daughter on a deal where I would show her the way to do something .. explain the dangers and how to handle them and she was breeding mares with our studs at twelve. Riding them at Stud Shows where all the adults were leading them and scared silly. The cowboy crowd saw her talent and gave her the opportunity to learn even more with their help.

I've seen both sides of the coin. There is life after DVD's and Horse Whisperers. I just don't use them my self.
 
steward
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it's encouraging to see the scythe gaining popularity again in the United States.  I hope that the technique of stacking hay has a similar revival.  I would sure like to learn how to do it.  having spent a fair amount of time bucking bales, I would be happy to find an alternative.

this looks simple enough, so I may just give it a try without a teacher.  I would probably cover the stacks with a tarp rather than rely on my luck or cleverness to get the top arranged correctly.  past that time this year, though...

and DustyTrails: your advice regarding stacking baled hay sounds fine, but do have a look at the pictures linked to in the original post.  this is a whole other ballgame.
 
                        
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Went there .. I see what you are talking about now. Sorry.

When we first came to Idaho we didn't have any equipment and borrowed a long trailer and stacked the edges loose. When they were up three feet we filled in the center but not higher than the edge .. below it. We could drive five miles home and stack it in a heap after that.

Our grass hay with a ton of hard rain and snow would not mold. We forked it off all winter and it smelled good and the horses ate it like mad. We did have a sloped top and that must have turned a lot of moisture.

Aren't you going Mennonite? They taught me to throw the T.V. out .. not to use C.B.'s. Keep the water on when the crop is in the head. Now, if I could only teach them not to marry their third cousins.
 
                    
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have to agree with Hans.  And notice, it is a woman who is standing on top and a guy forking it up. I did get to stack it on the wagon, same principle though. 
 
                        
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Stacking loose hay is a lot of hard work. Piling the hay on the wagon was fun if you were young and on top placing the hay but not so much if you were on the ground forking it up, esp once the load was half full or better.
We used to store loose hay in the barn..we had what they called a hay fork which would run out on a track until it was over the wagon and then drop down and bite into the hay. It saved an immense amount of work. Ours was a little different than this one http://www.redpowermagazine.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60423 but the principle was the same..we used a tractor but it apparently can also work with a horse or mule.

If being stored outside I would strongly suggest piling hay on pallets to keep it off the ground and use the tarps to cover them with.. I have found that with the big round bales ground moisture causes as much  hay loss in uncovered bales than the usual rain, and more than in covered bales. With small bales or loose hay,  though, you need both - rain will wreck your uncovered hay in a hurry. I have stooked lots of small bales and don't see the point, a good rain will soak into them and spoil them almost as fast as if they are loose hay..better to use the time to put them under shelter instead, imo.  It's so sad to see lovely hay all carefully stooked in a field slowly turning black, such a waste of time and effort (and money!)Unless of course the idea was to make compost or mulch!

If loose hay isn't covered then the top has to be pretty carefully shaped so as to shed as much rain as possible before it simply sinks in. After going to the trouble of making good hay I wouldn't take the chance, personally, of leaving it uncovered. Years ago  people didnt have other options.

 
                    
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that is why the piles were so carefully stacked and raked into a  skep shape.  It works on the same principle as a straw/reed roof and if done right sheds water pretty well.  I saw one once with an open umbrella on the very top.  funny, but it stayed all winter. 
Nobody with a hay barn would keep hay out in the open. 
 
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I've done it once.  Loading it all onto a wagon, then building the haystacks took 3 men most of a full day to do 1 acre.  I found the work very pleasant.  It felt very easy until about 6 hours into it my shoulders and back started to protest loudly.  My pitchfork technique must not have been perfect.  Handling the hay twice takes a long time, if you were building the stack on the same acre where you cut it, then you might only have to handle it once.

We stacked outdoors on top of four pallets 10'x10' at the base and close to 20' tall.  The main thing is to walk on top the haystack while building it to make sure there are no cavities.  The hay can lay any direction so long as it's flat.  Pam knows what she is talking about.
 
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I like it a lot, but I'm worried about the labor and the risk, it would be very easy to fall.
 
                    
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Wow, that's really amazing.  Bookmarked those pictures.  That's a workshop we would LOVE to attend. 

This summer we made a bit of hay from the forage growing in a part of the field we couldn't get the cow to graze on.  Scythed it into windrows - a practiced arm can cut the forage and form the windrow in one motion.  The stuff was was so weedy we ended up using it as mulch for the garden, but it was still cool to practice even that part of the process. 

We talked about our ignorance of making proper hay stacks.  Glad to know that it's still being practiced in at least some part of the world.  Thank heavens their grand-kids are helping!  They are learning an invaluable skill and they don't even know it. 

That grandma in the pictures apparently isn't worried about falling off the stack.  Skill and practice lessens risk. 
 
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