I personally don't have any reason to buck bales anymore and haven't done it for a couple years since no one in the family has horses any more, but my friend Meredith has 3 horses who need food for the winter. So Mace and I volunteered our services for Meredith and her husband Bruce to help them get 6 tons of hay in their barn a couple days ago.
Now for any of you who don't know what bucking bales consists of, well consider yourself lucky. First you find someone willing to sell you hay and find out when its going to be cut, dried, and baled. That's the easiest part. Usually folks dry and bale on the hottest days of the summer so the hay wont mold over the winter and the bales are good for storage in a barn. But this also means that you need to buck bales on the hottest days of the year as well. Now on average a small bale weighs 50 lbs so to load a single ton you need to pick up 40 bales from the field in 100+ degree heat.
This is no small feat especially for only two people. Bruce and Meredith had spent the previous couple evenings after he'd gotten home from work doing it themselves and had gotten 2 1/2 ton into the barn already but I know it was taking a toll on them both. Ideally you have 4 people working together to buck bales: one to drive the pickup/trailer, one to stack, and two to pick up bales and load them on the trailer as you move along. With 3 1/2 ton (120 bales) left to pick up and the weather forecasts spelling out rain (something that will ruin good bales in a heart beat) Mace and I were more than willing to go out to their place and give them a hand. We were able to get both our trailer and Meredith's trailer loaded in no time (well relatively speaking) and were able to get all of it in the barn before the thunder clouds started rolling in that evening. Of course we were all a bunch of sweaty messes after everything was said and done, and Mace's allergies were going bonkers but we were glad to be able to help them out since they are such wonderful people.