By Kim Lemmon
When I was a kid, my parents handled all the negotiations and logistics of making sure we had hay, grain and sawdust for our two horses. As an adult living far from where I grew up, I have often found it challenging to secure these necessities for my horses.
Through the years, I have developed a good relationship with my hay supplier, and he is always happy to supply me with straw but straw is expensive and in my opinion, really messy. Recently, my only option has been to bed both the horse and goat stalls with straw.
When Mark and I operated a riding lesson business, we kept the horses turned out on pasture most of the time and purchased bagged shavings in bulk. It wasn’t ideal but it was a business expense so we felt we could afford the luxury at the time.
Now my horses are not a business expense; they are just a hobby. I can no longer afford the luxury of bagged shavings, and I have had a difficult time securing a bulk delivery of sawdust.
In July, craigslist came to the rescue again. Although I wasn’t sure where the sawdust supplier was located I contact him anyway through his craigslist ad and as it turned out, he did make deliveries as far as my house but that was his limit.
The one kicker to this option was that I didn’t think I had room for a full load of sawdust in my barn but a half load cost almost as much as a full load. Of course, I decided on the full load.
The delivery arrived on the Friday when the temperatures were in the mid-90s. The truck driver was very patient as we worked out a plan for dumping two-thirds of the load in the barn and the remainder in the yard. He did seem concerned about my lack of horses for the amount of sawdust I was hoarding.
“Do you just have the one horse,” he said.
I assured him I had a few goats and a couple of mini horses as well but he still looked worried. Little did he know that I expect the delivery to last a year. I’m sure he normally drops loads at barns full of horses and revisits those places every couple of months or so.
Even though the temperatures were in the mid-90s I was lucky because we have a compact tractor. I’m not very good at using the tractor; Mark mostly does the tractor work because he likes it and I scare him but I decided I had to get started.
Things went pretty well. I actually impressed myself with my use of the bucket and careful maneuvers around the barn. I did have to do some shovel work by hand but I took several breaks in the air-conditioned house.
Mark arrived home to find an expertly stacked pile of sawdust in the barn, horse and goat stalls deeply bedded and a small pile of sawdust piled outside the barn.
I was pretty hot by the time Mark arrived so he offered to help me finish the job.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have a tractor and I can remember the family working together to load the sawdust into a wheel borrow and taking it load by load into the barn to stock pile it. I couldn’t imagine having to do that today.
I’m very thankful for compact tractors, bulk loads of sawdust and patient sawdust delivery drivers.