New Mexico has experienced a drought for two years. This year the rainfall was below average in spite of the fact that the weatherman had forecast a good monsoon season. The farmers that grew hay locally saw their hay crop diminish. Those that had irrigation over in the upper Rio Grande river region grew hay, but unfortunately heavy rainfall just as they were harvesting that hay ruined several cuttings. Over Texas way, things were even worse, and those ranchers came to New Mexico to buy hay for their stock.
The upshot of all this was a skyrocketing price for hay and the real threat that even high priced hay would disappear. Small bales that cost $8 a bale in 2010 were now selling for $15 a bale at the feed dealers. Large 3 string bales of alfalfa were selling at $24.50 a bale. Coastal Bermuda grass hay was being shipped in from Arizona and California and the three string bales were selling at $22.50 a bale. Those of us with horses were facing a grim winter.
In spite of the forecast of an “easy” winter with little precipitation, winter came early. The first snowfall was on October 27 and that meant that the grazing for the horses on the mesa was over. Janie felt panic thinking about the long winter ahead. Fortunately the farm where she purchased alfalfa hay was not selling hay to anyone but established customers of which she was one. At least she would be able to buy hay; the problem was how to afford it. Meanwhile, Angel had not a care in the world, trusting that hay would appear as it always had. Since Janie believed in miracles, she hoped this would come to pass.
Hauling hay in gale force winds.