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…