Okay, so on Friday in addition to going down to Ten Mile Farm on Friday to return Champ and meet Mr. Beau Jangles Blue, we also managed to hook up with the seller of this used horse trailer and make our final payment. We had looked at the trailer a couple weeks ago and mailed our initial payment shortly afterwards. Now the trailer is here at Dancing Moon Farmstead and I’m working on teaching Dancer how to load. Millie is a dream to load and so I’m hoping she’ll show Dancer that it’s nothing to be scared of!
Saturday was spent “at home” in that we didn’t leave Eastland County, at least! One of the local civic groups we belong to was having an Open House and Rummage Sale so we went down there early to do some volunteer work. Well of course I did a BIT of shopping, too! I’m a bona fide Dumpster Diving Diva, after all… Around lunch time we raced down to my parents’ house to water their gardens as they were out of town for the week. Afterwards I dropped hubby back off at the rummage sale while I went home to start cooking a roast and packing our bags for another road trip!!!
Sunday morning we got up and hit the road fairly early as we had a four hour drive ahead of us as we headed down to Madisonville to pick up a load of hay. Last July we hauled 100 square bales directly from the field for $7 each. Those 100 bales were meant to last us until this year’s cutting, but we ran short. My local hay guy flat told me at the beginning of June that he probably won’t have ANY hay at all this year. A friend sold us 10 square bales from what she had stored for her cows and the last four square bales we bought at the feed store cost us $10 each! We were down to our last TWO bales of hay when a good friend said that he’d sell us some of his hay from last year at $5 a bale because he needed to clean out his barn before starting to cut hay this year! Even with gas money for the 8-hour round trip drive, that is quite a worthy savings for us…
We had to borrow a trailer from some friends, the same trailer we use for our Sit ‘n’ Stitch Gang floats, as a matter of fact. It’s a 16′ flat bed and with what we could load onto the truck we hoped to get about 100 bales. Turns out hubby stacked it so well we got 104. We had planned to visit the newly opened Tractor Supply Store there in Madisonville to purchase additional tarps and straps to cover the hay. The one we had wouldn’t even cover what was on the truck! However, luck was on our side as our friends had an old cast-aside pool cover that they never used which perfectly fit the bales loaded on the trailer! All we had to buy were a few more straps. The drive home on Monday was where the REAL adventure started, though.
We had barely pulled out onto the Interstate when we could feel something wasn’t “quite right” the gas tank was on EMPTY, so we knew we needed to pull into the very first station we found. Turns out, several of the trailer’s tires were low – a fact we didn’t notice when it was empty! We tested and filled all the trailer tires and the trucks tires, too. One of the tires was so low that we suspected it had a slow leak. By lunch time we were proven right, but I don’t want to jump ahead! Even with the tires properly inflated the trailer would start to fishtail if hubby tried to push our speed to over 50 MPH. We weren’t in a particular hurry, but under the circumstances decided perhaps it would be best to take “the back roads” home instead of the Interstate. Well this proved to be a good decision for several reasons! We puttered along steadily and made frequent stops to check the air in the tires. Each time hubby would check the tarps and tighten the straps a bit too. The load was riding really well.
For lunch we stopped at Sulaks Czeck Bakery in Clifton, Texas! We’d never been there before and saw a billboard for them as we pulled into town. Troy had a wonderful sandwich and I had a wrap. While looking around to see all the delightful goodies they had to offer I noticed a basket FULL of summer veggies sitting in front of one of their meat cases. Upon inquiring how much the veggies were, I was told they were FREE for the taking as they were, “just extras from the garden”! Well naturally I jumped at that deal… picked up some beautiful Patty Pan Squash, some Ichiban Eggplant and a zucchini, too. I knew I had one zucchini in the fridge at home as I had just picked it from my parent’s garden while watering for them on Saturday. Giving away FREE veggies was a brilliant strategy as I now had to BUY a pack of their wonderful looking sausage to go with it. In my next blog post I’ll show y’all just what I made with this bountiful windfall! One stop we did NOT make in Clifton was to Quilting Cousins Quilt Shop. We drove right by this adorable little shop, but with hauling the trailer and hubby getting hungry I simple made note of its location and plan to stop in next time… or even make a special trip back down just to go there and to the Sulaks again, too!
Shortly after lunch we had a blowout on one of the trailer tires! Surprisingly is wasn’t the tire with the slow leak, but the one adjacent to it! We were quite fortunate that the blowout wasn’t more eventful as some of them can be quite dangerous and even deadly. This one was a very distinct POP! And we both knew exactly what had happened. Luckily we were going slow and there was no traffic on the back road so hubby was able to just ease us over to the shoulder. He got out and carefully walked back to retrieve the shredded bits of tire that we UN-affectionately call “road alligators”. As he was doing so I had time to reflect on our situation: we had a good spare for the trailer and hubby had made sure it was properly aired, too. However, we didn’t have a jack that could lift a fully loaded trailer and all our tools were in the tool box on the back of the truck buried under several layers of hay bales. Before he could even return to the truck I was already calling AAA! Turns out it was a busy day on the roads and the “nearest help” would be driving in from Weatherford, which was a good hour and a half away. Nothing to do but sit back and try to relax while we waited for them to arrive.
Poor Walter, the gang at Ace sent him out ALONE on his first run without even really telling him what the job was or where he was going! Luckily he stopped for directions and the sweet lady called us and he arrived at our location just a few minutes later. Walter is from Guatemala, so he was worried about his accent a bit, but his English was really good! He had a few false starts with getting his jacks to cooperate, but in no time flat (pun intended!) we were ready to get back on the road! For future reference, several trailer-toting friends have suggested we purchase a Trailer Aid Tandem Tire Changing Ramp. We plan on doing just that and storing it in the tack room of the mules’ trailer! I cannot imagine waiting two hours for AAA to arrive in 112 degree heat with equines cooking in their trailer. Luckily there was a nice breeze and the hay was from last year so not likely to spontaneously combust!
So in the end what should have been a 4-5 hour drive home lasted from 9 am to almost 8 pm. We were tired, but no worse for ware under the circumstances! Hubby unloaded the cooler and our personal items from the truck while I fed the STARVING animals. They always think they are starving, by the way, but for the record our good friends and farm-sitters, Jeff and Robin Angus, fed everyone Sunday night and Monday morning for us!!! I made sure I called Robin right after Walter changed our tire and let her know that although we’d be later than expected that we would be home in time for the evening feeding so she wouldn’t worry. Actually, I think the mules and goats might prefer Jeff and Robin to me because those two always bring EXTRA TREATS with them like apples and carrots! If the animals ARE disappointed in seeing me upon my return, they are at least courteous enough not to show it.