Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The drought, The hay, The Rooney 2.0

In the midst of this historic drought we were lucky to come across some awfully nice hay last week. .......

I'm sorry, I needed a moment to re-read that last sentence and ponder the fact that my life now is all tied up in hay quality and the weather. This time last year, there was no land. There was no hay. There was definitely no Rooney 2.0.

That's all changed now. We leave for a short vacation tomorrow and, in addition to making sure someone can come by to water the garden, feed the cat, check on the chickens and care for the dogs, we now have the land and the livestock to consider. Sheesh.

In preparation for our trip, we evaluated the hay status (pathetic) and geared up for an evening of hay collection (miserable). Our hay connection, Larry, has been busy trucking in round bales from across the state, and we luckily snagged the last three bales left from his recent pick-up. But this was no ordinary cow hay. This was the lobster of hay, the, well, the cream of the crop. And as we drove past the animals with the sweet smelling bales, their little eyes opened wide and all five trotted alongside the trailer, grabbing mouthfuls along the way.

As usual, our smallest cow has now devoted himself completely to eating more than the others. This is also how he treated the new grass growth this spring; running from clump to clump and eating more than his share, blades of grass falling from his overstuffed mouth. The result of this recent gluttony is evident in the increasingly lopsided size and shape of Rooney 2.0's belly. After four days on the land, the hay bale has a Rooney sized hole straight through the middle and the little cow looks miserably heavy and full (with an ever-present bundle of hay being chewed).

He looks ridiculous; lopsided, round, but still nimble on his four stick legs.

Can you tell a cow that enough is enough? Can you explain that the drought has caused hay prices to sky-rocket and negotiate a meal plan in which only a certain amount of the stuff is eaten daily? Probably....no. Instead, we just have to find the humor in Rooney's gigantic stomach and ask Larry for less appetizing hay in the future.

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