We usually buy our hay from a neighboring farm here in town. I am not sure if it is common knowledge or not, but hay, like most any other commodity in the world, comes in a variety of qualities. There is good hay. There is bad hay. And all sorts in between. We've been lucky to get our hay from our neighbors at Twin Hill Farm as they "make" exceptionally high quality hay. Not being a hay farmer myself, I don't really know what goes into "making" good hay, but I suspect that much of it has to do with timing: when to cut, when to fluff, when to bale. Of course, the rain never helps matters.
Anyhow, we bought the last few bales from our supplier back at the end of the winter, and we've been trying hard to locate a secondary source to hold us over until the first cutting at the end of May. We tried a couple of places and ended up with "bad" hay. Yuck.
Sometimes, it takes going without to realize how lucky one is to have it in the first place. I can assure you that we will be buying more hay from our neighbors at cutting time and trying to store it up so as to avoid scratching around in the late winter of next year.
I am happy to report, though, that finally we found some decent hay. Our friends at Terrabyte Farm in neighboring Canterbury, CT put us in contact with some hay farmers a couple of towns over. They were some nice folks at that hay farm. It turns out that they bale somewhere about 12,000 bales per season on an old farm that they are allowed to use virtually free of charge. Barns and all! They worked out a deal where they pay the taxes for the elderly woman who owns the farmland, keep her cable TV piping in, and keep her warm. In exchange they have access to her 100's of acres and huge barns. What a deal! It sure is nice to see situations like this in what seems to be an increasingly complex world. Some things are still pretty darn simple.
Truckload of hay and one dancing boy!
Add one dancing girl.
End result: one itchy cat! There is something affirming about the itch on your arms after loading bales of hay on a warm Spring day.