Silage time: food for cows, food for dogs.

October 31, 2016

Cutting for silage is like an unexpected picnic.

The boys slashed the paddocks last week, raked it into rows the next day and sucked it up that night. The Boss was pleased: the weather dried out and made it easy to get on and everything went smoothly.

He likes the whole ritual of silage time. This is where they cut the lucerne green and shred it, before piling it up and driving tractors over the mounds to compress the air out of it.

Then they cover it in plastic sheeting and weight it down with old tires - the Boss says this stops the air getting it and avoids the silage getting too hot. Then it comes out as winter feed for the cows, a little fermented I once found out, after getting into a bit. Guess you have be a cow to like it. Or a sheep - one of those ruminant animals that chews its cud - yuk!

Now, I like the ritual of silage time too and I can't wait until the tractors leave the paddock - then I slip away when the Boss isn't looking. This is because, when they chop up the lucerne, they also chop up more interesting stuff like snakes, mice and rabbits.

I need to head out there before Queenie and the Golden Leave-it-There, so I can inhale anything good before they do. I can cover three times the territory of the Leave-it-There, but he's got a pretty good nose so I watch him out of the corner of my eye.

Whenever he puts his nose up into the wind and heads off at a brisk walk, you know he's onto something. He's a sneak, you know - he'll turn around to make sure we're looking elsewhere and he won't run in case we notice him - but you can see his feathery tail wafting across the paddock like a racing boat's sail tacking into the breeze.

The Boss says I go too fast and miss things and I need to slow down, but you know how it is - a dog has to go as hard as he can. And I have to watch out for the Boss too - he doesn't like me bringing hunks of snake back to the house - doesn't want me to get a taste for live ones, he says. He's worried I'll get bitten but I'm a match for a snake, mark my words. I reckon I could subdue one before it lands a fang. We'll see.

Speaking of eating interesting things, the week had a bit more excitement too. Some little critter bit me over the eye, a whitetail spider the Boss thought; it blew up into these red welts, so the vet put me on antibiotics. A couple of days later, the Boss finds Queenie with the lid of the pill jar in her mouth and I hear him tell the missus he'll run her in to get her stomach pumped out, but the missus blames me - reckons Queenie couldn't reach the jar and, besides, which is the hound that eats anything not nailed down?  The General, she says. Why would she think that?

So the boss takes us both to the vet and, without asking me, decides I am the culprit and gets me fed the salt tablets first. It's not a nice feeling, for a tough dog, bringing up your breakfast in front of an audience and I would normally have another go at it (I might be something of a ruminant after all) but the Boss was on to me and tied me up while he found a stick and poked his way through it.

It was quite a pile and I was proud of it; what he didn't know is that, while he was running around outside looking for the pill jar,  I had cased out the garbage bin inside the house and snaffled anything that smelt half-good. So he wasn't happy to see among my impressive pile of vomit a plastic steak wrapper and a paper towell he'd used to clean oil out of the fry pan.

But no tablets. I could see he was pleased and annoyed with me, all at the same time, so I wagged my tail, as you do. Well, it's all you can do.

Anyway, I wasn't in trouble long. He headed back to the car to get Queenie so he could dose her up but she'd already thrown up breakfast, dinner and the tablets around the back of the car. Problem solved, I thought; I was in the clear - more or less - and Queenie had lost a lot  of points for that one. There wasn't much said on the way home though. Woof.

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