Ben: Mushroom Food

Ready to go, Ben?

That’s a yes, then.

“We’re having fun, aren’t we, mum?”

“Mmmm… water…”

“Stick! Throw it! Throw it!”

“I didn’t agree to this.”

Ben! You look sweet! Look at you in your little mushroom!

“It’s embarrassing and sick. On so many levels.”

“I don’t like mushrooms any more.”

Sheila doesn’t do mushrooms. She does relaxing on mum’s tummy in the evenings.

Sheila does, however, love round bales. She can eat them for hours.

“Heave! Die!”

She likes to scare them all, pulling on the ‘tails’ or loose ends.

“Die! Die!”

“Ha ha! Pinned you! Die, darn it!”

Sheila doesn’t really eat the plastic. She just pulls it and spits out when it stops moving (or ‘dies’).

“DIE!!! Must kill bale!”

“Wow. I thought I had it tough. Those poor bales.”

Ben’s wet walk in the fields really brightened up his day. He was stuck inside because of the bad weather, but in the evening the weather cleared up and Ben was able to go out and have a walk. The fields were still wet (especially in the long grass) and he got soaked. He didn’t mind - he is a Sprollie after all. Then he didn’t want to go in and I had to lift him.

Oh - and did I mention… I’M FREE! SUMMER HOLIDAYS! WOOP WOOP!

Fox Alert!
As I wrote this post, a large fox like this one came to the window and looked in at me, my Dad and my Granny.

Two Dogs on the Brink of World War III

On Thursday, Sheila and Fly were helping us to mark and electronically tag the 29 lambs ready for market.

Fly isn’t afraid to get stuck in.

Among them were some lambs with top-knots…

And some lambs that looked slightly evil…

But there was one familiar face…

This lamb belongs to our Tilly, the oldest pet sheep we have. This is Tilly:

Her lamb looks nothing like her.

I never even gave this lamb a name (I ran out of ideas).

That job made Sheila hot and tired, so she had a break in the link box.

Ben, on the other paw, did absolutely nothing with the sheep. He simply doesn’t care.

“Hey! I like football. Maybe I could play in the World Pup?”

That evening, I took Sheila, Kim and Ben out for a run in the field. Sheila was being mean miss bitey face, started a fight with Kim and so had to be tied to the gate.

Kim and Ben get on really well.

See? House. On. Fire.

On Friday, I took all three out again, this time to check the sheep. Sheila and Kim seem to have settled their differences.

“I hate you.”

Then I saw them looking at some poor, poor creature that they could both pick on.

“La, la, la, la…”

Oh dear.

Tractor Dogs Also Like Pie

On Saturday, all plans for the day were chucked out of the window, because a dry Summer day means only one thing: silage. Silage is the staple diet of pregnant ewes over the Winter, so it is essential to make as much of it as possible to keep them going over those long months. In fact, silage and haylage are just as important as the sheep themselves. They provide an income when the sheep don’t, and the roles are reversed in the Summer.

Mowing with a tractor is a skilled job and one that I’ve never tried. That’s my Dad’s job.

Like most farmers, my Dad loves tractors and can spend all day talking to his friends about them.

Ben and Sheila watched the proceedings from the safety of the quad.

Once the mowing is complete, my Dad gets baling…

…And I have the important job of gathering the bales as they come out of the baler and laying them in rows ready to be wrapped.

For me, just driving a tractor all day long is very boring, so I like to add a dog into the mix. My usual choice for this is Sheila, but she doesn’t really like being in the tractor as she gets bored and fed up.

It’s understandable, really. For a Border Collie, especially a working one, sitting around and doing nothing is very difficult. So last year, as an experiment, I tried bringing Kim with me instead. She loved the tractor, just as much as Fly does. She doesn’t stop looking around at everything that moves.

Ben is the bit in between, because he can be scared sometimes, but most of the time, his head’s on my arm (which makes steering difficult!).

“Can we go now?”

We made lots of bales that day, and I was very tired afterwards.

Sunday is the day of rest, but my Dad and I had a few jobs to do. Sheila, Ben and Fly all moved a flock of sheep from one field into another. Although Ben was chasing Sheila more than the sheep themselves, he did chase a ewe, and then a lamb - but not for long. There’s hope.

Then there was Kim. We put the sheep into the Shepherd’s Pie and let Kim have a go at them. Her natural talent came out, and she proved to us that she can be a sheepdog after all. She didn’t bite them and went round in a nice circle on most occasions. She surprisingly likes to hold the sheep rather than keep them moving.

Wow. She’s not killing them!

We were so pleased, that we came out for a second lesson in the afternoon.

She was, once again, brilliant. My Dad even said she was the best dog we had.

We were so pleased. We’ve been holding off taking Kim to the sheep because of her long history of causing serious injury to them.

But not that day. That was Kim’s time to shine.

Kim’s herding video:

I suppose that was my Dad’s present for Father’s Day…

Five Days for Dogs: The Challenge

Five Days for Dogs is a personal challenge that I made up for myself and carried out last week. With having so many dogs, is that you don’t spend so much ‘alone time’ with each dog. With this challenge, I had to spend some time with each dog on their own. I did this in order of age, so Fly was first.

Day One: Monday

Fly had a lot of fun - and we both had a lie-down in the garden! But first of all, I groomed Fly - something which she really enjoys.

We then went to the garden.

This is my favourite picture of the week.

Day Two: Tuesday
Jack was the most difficult dog of the week - simply because he didn’t want to spend time with me. Once again, we were in the garden, and he was spoilt for choice between his two toys.

Day Three: Wednesday

Kim was very well behaved on Wednesday, even though she pulled towards the sheep a lot! We were in the Potato Field, a field that we used to grow, well, potatoes in.

“I want to chase them so bad!”

“I better get a treat for this…”

Day Four: Thursday

Sheila’s alone time was the most exhausting, as we walked to the far-end of the farm and back - there was long grass, steep hills, and a lovely view of the Mourne Mountains.

The town of Newcastle and its harbour can be seen from up here.

It was very warm, so Sheila and myself had to stop at various points along the way.

It isn’t a bad place to stop for a rest, though.

Al the farthest end of the farm, is a field full of cows. These girls all live next door.

My favourite is this one.

She’s pretty.
Day Five: Friday

Friday was Ben’s day. I had planned to take him on a long walk, too, but because of the good weather, Dad was already making silage. Instead, Ben had his first ride in the tractor.

“Let’s go!!”

He wasn’t scared. Not really, anyway.

“I just didn’t like the radio.”

How very Sprollie!

To see all of the photos I took during the Challenge, visit the Challenge set on Flickr.