A bit further on we stopped at the Big Hole National Battlefield one of the last battles of the Nez Perce first nations with US Troops. For a while they were winning but in the end the members of the tribe who did not make it to Canada were taken to Oklahoma and placed on a reservation. A place of atrocities, a time to regret. I did not go down on the actual battlefield, after my experience at the Battle of Little Bighorn-eerie hair standing on end, unable to breathe- I am leery of visiting such sites and this one could be seen from afar. So Photos
Leaving the battlefield we drove into the Big Hole valley, which is just as it sounds a big bowl shaped basin of ranches. Everywhere in Montana (well through out the west really) ranchers are making hay. Usually the big round bales that weight 1000lbs+ /-, sometimes the big rectangular bales, sometimes the little bales you can buy at the Nursery and in some very few places they use beaver slides to make truly LARGE piles!
|These piles were made with a beaver slide the cow gives you some perspective on their size|
|The beaver slides here seem to be made of metal and there are many. Mostly around the tiny town of Jackson, MT. (Blink and you've missed it!)|
Back to hay, I started thinking about WHY they made so much hay, did they need it, did they sell it, what. So Google to the rescue-each cow eats about 24lbs of hay a day, they might need to feed 200 days each year so for every cow that's 480lbs some of these ranches have hundreds (Or maybe 1000's) of cows so for a hundred cows they need about 5000lbs per winter or maybe more if it's really cold. They probably sell some as well but mostly it's stacked up in great piles of round bales like this
I don't think I saw any of these piles of last years hay, like you do at home, so they must use it. Still it's a LOT of hay!
Still musing on the amount of hay out here were clear the last little pass and are into the beaver head valley and Dillon, MT. Our home for the next 6 days.