Living on a gravel road in a rural Arkansas county with more cows than people, I have much to be thankful for on my favorite American holiday. Hence a Thanksgiving lesson in boondocks economics: Last week, I paid my hay man $2,200 for 55 round bales to see my cows and horses through the winter. That’s $40 apiece, a more than fair price.
Weighing 1,200 pounds, a single bale feeds half a dozen cows for roughly a week, depending on the weather. The colder it gets, the more they eat. There’s always a celebration among the big girls whenever I bring them a new one. Spontaneous head-butting matches, that kind of thing. The horses, too, start running and bucking when they hear my neighbor’s tractor coming to lift a new bale out of the barn and over the fence.