Since our little “farm” only consists of a few acres, we have to get all of the hay for our animals from somewhere else. Luckily, Mark has a cousin who farms a lot of acres of alfalfa and we have been able to purchase it from him. It didn’t take long for us to realize for small hobby farmers like us, square bales are much more practical than the big round bales, but finding square bales is not an easy task these days. Mark found a good deal on a square baler, bought it and fixed it up so now we are able to square bale what we need. But then, of course, those bales have to be hauled off the field, not an easy task at 75 pounds each. We used a truck the first several years, depending on the muscles of assorted sons, son-in-laws and grandsons. Then Mark found another bargain on a bale-wagon and we were all set to be square-bale baling and hauling machines!
Last summer, on the first cutting of alfalfa, our son-in-law Shane, son Kyle and a couple of our grandsons were helping us haul the bales on the back of our “new” buggy when Shane told Mark that in the field across the road amongst a bunch of weeds was an old hay-buggy. Mark had never noticed it and wasn’t really all that interested because he’d already found one and sure didn’t need another one. Several months passed, fall came and went and we were going to a pasture close to the same alfalfa field to cut firewood. Mark headed there first to start cutting and I was soon going to follow to help him load it. Not long after he’d left, I received a phone call from an absolutely incredulous Mark on the other end. He asked me if I remembered Shane saying there was an old hay buggy along the road in the middle of high weeds last summer. I said, Yeah, I remembered. You are never going to believe this he said, but with all the weeds dead and gone, he could see it and it looked very familiar so he stopped and looked it over and he excitedly explained “This hay-buggy is the one my Dad built from scratch when I was a kid! I always wondered what happened to it!” As a young teenager, Mark had hauled many bales on it, but most importantly, Mark’s Dad had been diagnosed with cancer when Mark was only 13 or so and he died when he was 17. So finding this hay wagon and being able to see how industrious his Dad was building something like this from virtually nothing but scraps was amazing and very sentimental for Mark. He said he sure wished his late, older brother Walt was still here because he would have loved seeing it. In fact, he said, Walt would have been the only other person on earth who would really have understood and been as excited as him about finding it.
The farmer who’s yard the buggy was in, decided to clean up all the old equipment he had lying around. Mark just happened to see the buggy loaded on the guy’s truck a couple weeks ago. He asked him what he would take for it. The price seemed a little high for what it was, but how do you put a price on such a sentimental thing? We decided it would make a perfect “playground” for baby goats, so we set it under a Mulberry tree and fed the Momma goats close to it. It wasn’t long before one by one they tried walking up the spout and before long a few were exploring the floor of it. Now what could be better than adorable baby goats playing on a hay-buggy built by your Dad fifty years earlier? I have to admit, I wondered to myself what Mark’s Dad would have thought if someone would have told him that fifty years from now, your son and daughter-in-law are going to find this, haul it to their place and turn it into a baby goat playground! I don’t know if he would have smiled or shook his head and wondered what on earth the world is going to turn into! This spring, I have another plan for it. I’m going to raise the spout to keep the baby goats off and try my hand at straw-bale gardening on top of it. But for now, here is pictures of when Mark first spotted it and of the baby goats enjoying it today.