The Silage Day Dog Relay

If there's a day that is at all dry, you can be sure Dad is out cutting some grass. Depending on how long the dry spell is set to last, this grass can become silage or haylage. On this day it was silage, and since it was a field at home, I was able to have all the dogs help me, rather than just one or two.

It may sound silly but I sometimes forget just how tall trees can be, and then I see them in comparison to a tractor...

As Dad drove around and around the field with his baler, I used the other tractor to collect the bales together.

Teddy was my first helper.

I gave him the first shift because it was the morning, and therefore the day was not yet at its hottest so Teddy wouldn't suffer with that thick, black coat of his.

We put the bales into rows.

After lunch it was Jess's turn. She is the only dog who is afraid of the banging noise the lifter makes when I'm tipping bales, so she can't help with that. She helped me to continue gathering bales into rows, and her short coat meant that she was reasonably comfortable in the warm tractor cab.

The baling finished and the bales in as neat a row as I could manage, Jess did some posing.

Dad fetched the wrapping tractor and set to work.

My helper for the final task of tipping the bales was Pip. Her coat is longer than Jess's and shorter than Teddy's, so this afternoon heat wasn't too much for her. As an added bonus, for the tipping I have the back window open which lets even more cool air in.

I try to accommodate all of my canine helpers and keep them happy and comfortable. If the weather is unbearably hot they don't come along at all.

I have the back window open for tipping bales for two reasons: one, I need to see where I'm going and that window gets very dusty, and two, there is a string I have to reach back to and pull once I've got the bale into position.

And once again I try to be neat!

A job well done leads to a happy farmer and happy dogs!

Fly Avoidance Tactics

It was a warm Sunday afternoon so I went outside to sit with my flock. Rosie, ever the sweetie, ran over to see me.

Just look at that profile!

As they grazed the pet lambs got closer and closer.

Audrey trotted over to see me.

Maggie and Penny too.

Flies were everywhere, and poor Bob seemed to be attracting most of them. So he just lay down.

Margo, meanwhile, had taken to hiding under the bushes.

Her hiding place had snacks.

Penny was only here because she followed me.

Honey had one-upped Margo, and was actually hiding in the bush.

I checked in on Bob. He was still lying where I'd left him.

Rosie was enjoying the grass.

Audrey was a darling and came to lie down beside me and chew her cud.

Some time later, once Audrey had finished chewing her cud, I checked on Bob again. He was still lying there.

(He's even in the background of this photo of Margo I took while I was leaving, still lying down - can you spot him?)

Sandy, Diego and the Thoroughbred Colt

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Yesterday Dad and I were delivering and wrapping bales of haylage for some customers and I could not resist photographing some of their gorgeous animals. This is Sandy the Golden Retriever.

He liked back scratches.

Then there's Diego the little terrier.

Can someone give him a tummy rub, please?

And out in the field with his mother was this amazing Thoroughbred colt.

At three months old he's already a professional poser.

He's also got some of the best ear fluff I have ever seen.

Thank you to Hugh and Ciaran for letting me photograph their animals.

The Stables

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I visited Fergal's stables on Saturday afternoon. At home it was dry, but by the time I arrived the heavens had opened, so I decided to photograph the horses and ponies in the stables while I waited for the rain to stop. Bow, who I met last time, was finishing box rest.

Khyser had a helpful nameplate on his stable door.

This one was enjoying lunch.

Honey was having a walk in the rain.

I met an adorable little pony called Banjo.

Red was very relaxed.

Red's next door neighbours (no pun intended).

Joe was about to be tacked up.

The yard cats made an appearance.

Finally the rain seemed to have eased off and so I made for the fields. On the way I took this picture of Max and his proud owner.

This horse was grazing next to the lane.

I walked across a field and met some horses on the other side of the fence.

These two seemed to be the best of friends and were very sweet.

At last I was at Fergal's field. Conker was waiting at the gate.

This horse was munching happily.

Fergal was handsome as usual.

While I was photographing Fergal, the other horses in the herd demanded attention.

I had a very enjoyable visit, even with the rain. A huge thank you to the horses and ponies for being such good sports.