July 2, 2010

Loading Up the Barn

We have a great way for getting the loose hay into the loft which allows us to move a substantial amount of hay from field to barn each day with only one wagon and a team. The system uses a set of hay harpoons which are attached to a pulley and ropes (above).  The harpoons are driven into the haystack atop the wagon, and the resulting load is slowly raised upwards to a trolley and track which runs the length of the loft.  
When everything is set, a team of fjords on the opposite side of the barn begin to pull the load off the wagon and up to the trolley.
As the load goes up, one person keeps a hand on the trip-line that releases the hay from the harpoons and makes sure that the ropes lifting the load and the trip-line don't get tangled together.
If the wagon was stacked correctly as it was being loaded out in the field, very little hay drops off on the way up, and most of what does falls right back on the wagon.
As soon as the harpoons latch on to the trolley, the load is quickly pulled inside and along the rail.
As the trolley zips along the rail, a person stationed inside the loft waits to give the signal to pull the trip-rope.
A big advantage to this system is that the hay can be dropped in different spots in the loft, and minimal spreading is needed.
It takes five or six loads to move all the hay from a fully stacked wagon into the barn...or about thirty minutes...which sure beats hauling bales.
When the load has reached the right spot, the person stationed in the barn shouts out the signal, and the trip-rope is pulled releasing the hay from the harpoons.  The trolley is then pulled back into position for another load...and another...and another.  
Thanks to Ed for the photos.

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