Making Hay

I’ve been here on the farm for thirteen summers. And almost all of those thirteen summers, Teresa & Nollind have been making hay. It started with a couple of acres and some old equipment, and has expanded into over half of our land, two other properties, and newer, flashier equipment.

What hasn’t changed is my supervision of the process. As a fellow four-legged, albeit a carnivore, the horses rely on me to oversee the production of their winter food. I let the humans do the heavy lifting, literally, but I am the brains behind the operation.

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Supervising the first load. They were a good crew so I didn’t have to watch them all evening, but I did wander over to check their work while they were having post-stacking drinks.

 

Teresa has her microwave testing process set up in the garage and she checks the moisture levels before they bale. They could just ask me. I’d give them a moisture reading with one sniff. But I hear it’s good to make your people feel empowered.

 

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Checking hay moisture. I’d say … 16%.

 

This week the sun is shining and a breeze is blowing across the prairie which makes for perfect hay drying conditions. There’s also an excessive heat warning for our area, which makes for not-so-perfect hay stacking conditions. Luckily, I have paws rather than hands, so am not well designed for picking up or stacking fifty-pound bales.

I was out checking the moisture on the second field this morning. Now that Teresa has confirmed the results of my nose test, Nollind is over there raking and they’ll be baling this afternoon.

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Canine approved – ready to rake and bale.

 

Me? I’ll wait here in the cool until my services are required again.

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My favourite place when it’s 30+ degrees outside.

 

Just Us Guys

Teresa’s been away for just over a week now and we three guys have got on just fine. We miss her, of course, but there’s something about guy time, something … primal maybe.

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She’s kind of like a mother, you know, caring for us, worrying about us—especially me in my senior years with my various health issues and anxieties. I appreciate it, of course I do, and I’m probably still running around because of it, but sometimes it’s nice to just chill.

For example, Teresa will buy an assortment of canned foods to add to my morning kibble to make it more palatable. Tasty, very nice, yes, but Nollind’s system of tossing in a glob of bacon fat works well too. I clean the bowl every day.

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Teresa is inclined to keep me on a leash during walks to keep me from overdoing it, even though I’m not inclined to run after coyotes much anymore. With Nollind, if I’m sore at the end of the day, he tosses me a bit of medication.

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Nollind goes to town more often than Teresa so trips to the dog park are more frequent, even though all that roughhousing can be a bit taxing on my old body.

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And then there’s that bacon fat on my breakfast.

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The biggest concern when Teresa’s away is … well … Nollind. A few years back when she was up visiting her mom in the fall, he jumped off a boat and badly sprained his ankle, bad enough for an ambulance ride and a cast. Last year, when Teresa was up north visiting her mom in October, he fell off a ladder and broke his arm, badly enough to require a plate and screws and months of rehab.

So, since she’s up visiting her mom again, she asked us to keep an eye on him while she’s away, keep him safe. It’s exhausting.

So far, so good, though, and I saw on his calendar that she’s coming home on Monday. If we can just keep him away from ladders and other dangerous places until then. He was sailing on Wednesday and that went okay. Thank God for light winds!

Well, gotta go. Nollind’s headed outside on a mission of some sort. I’m back on duty.

Was It something I Said?

Was it something I said? Or, more likely, did?

T has gone away again. She packed a suitcase on Tuesday night and left on Wednesday with her sister­. I wouldn’t normally think it was my doing but I’ve been a little distracted lately, by the gophers that seem to everywhere around the farm, and the coyotes that have been coming close. And, when I’m distracted, I don’t always listen very well. Okay. When I’m distracted, I don’t listen at all. It’s like my ears just stop working.06-Chico-Sa-us-1One day recently, during a walk in the hay field, I ran off after a coyote. Apparently, T heard sounds that she thought were me calling for help and she came running. By the time I found my way back to her she dropped to the ground and burst into tears. I’m not sure if she was happy or sad or just out of breath but I sure got a big hug.

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My ears work much better in a dog park.

So anyway, she left on Wednesday and then yesterday was her birthday, and I didn’t even get to tell her Happy Birthday. I hope she knew I was thinking about her … and missing her. And, because I was missing her, I got looking through some photos. So this Foto Fur-iday, the theme is “Me and T”.

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She loves to do selfies with me.

 

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After a bath, she gives me extra towelling because she knows how much I like it.

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She’s always there with a hug, even when we’re not posing for a photo.

 

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And sometimes we just hang out in the same space.

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She takes me places, like to the Strathmore UFA in this picture…

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And horseback riding in this one.

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Even though I know I’m too big, she lets me sit on her lap…

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No matter the weather.

 

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And even at times when she prefers her solitude, she still lets me be close.

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I hope she comes home soon. I promise to be good. Well … as good as I can with these faulty ears.