I don't know what it's like where you here but here, we're in a straw/hay crisis. Fortunately, I have enough hay to get me through the year and likely well into next year as well.
Straw, not so much.
Usually I pay $3 per bale for straw. This year I paid $8. Per bale. Per light, not quite the usual bale bale. Ouch. So I bought four instead of 24 like I usually would. And then I went back and bought more. I think I'm up to something like 12.
I know that people are thinking this dry, dry, dry weather is an anomaly but I can't help but be worried. I was out digging bulbs today and I could not believe how dry it was. So while it's beautiful and we've never had more stunning autumn colours:
It's still bloody spooky. So, to be prepared, I'm going to be spending some time this winter researching alternatives to straw as bedding. I hope this weather is a fluke but as we've still seen next to know rain it's bone dry about foot deep, it's hard to imagine what next year could be like. Especially if we don't get the snowpack we need.
So far I've only branched out into trying pine chips but an $11 bale didn't go nearly as far as the straw. I'd say about half as far which is why I went and bought a bunch more straw.