As you can imagine, I’m regularly asked for beauty tips, but I have made a point of not endorsing any commercially available products. Admittedly nobody has ever asked me to, but I feel that is rather beside the point.
Still, I was going to mention Sal at this point. Again, to the best of my knowledge she isn’t sponsored by any of the major agencies, and indeed she’s far too busy for a career in that field. As it is she’s kept fully busy just doing the things that a respectable Border Collie Bitch has to do here.
Now we no longer have sheep, Sal has transferred her attentions to the maintenance of good order among the dairy herd. This looks like being a long drawn out process and it is undoubtedly going to be a cause of stress for everybody.
In simplistic terms you could regard a dairy herd as a collection of fifteen hundredweight toddlers. They have the same level of discipline, the same unthinking obedience, and the same curiosity. They also have a very similar level of bladder and bowel control. Into this world ventures Sal. With sheep she had it easy. She was their sort of size, and sheep are big on pattern recognition. As far as they’re concerned Sal is on page one of the beginner’s manual, where her silhouette is labelled, ‘Wolf, Dog, General high level threat.’
With dairy cows, even the smallest 500kg heifer looks down on the 15kg dog and says, ‘Oh how sweet.’ A cow is more likely to amble across to see what Sal is doing, rather than to move away in the direction we want them to go.
So the whole thing is a learning process. Sal is having to learn how to move cattle, and cattle are learning that they have to take notice of Sal. There are times when it is glaringly obvious that a lot of the cows have no more experience of dogs than Sal has of cows, but I’m sure with good will and a lot of imaginative swearing, we’ll all pull together in perfect harmony.
But anyway Sal wasn’t moving cows at the time. I suspect she was just generally sniffing her way around the yard checking that everything was going well. Whatever she was doing, she managed to end up in the slurry pit. I reached down and pulled her out and immediately dropped her in a tub of cold water and rinsed her off.
But next day everybody was commenting how amazingly soft and silky her hair was, and not a hair out of place.
Not only that but frankly she didn’t smell, or at least didn’t smell any worse than any other working Border Collie.
So there you have it. We’ve discovered the perfect hair care product, now all we have to do is to monetarise it. Frankly I think there’s too much packaging in the beauty industry anyway, so we really ought to go down the ‘spa route.’ So far we’re pondering the plunge bath model where the client drops into the ‘bath’ of slurry, and then when they’ve climbed out the client then stands in a cold shower and just rinses their hair clean. Obviously no cleaning products will be used as they obviously hinder the natural finish.
In case you want to get to know Sal better
As a reviewer commented, “I always enjoy Jim’s farming stories, as he has a way of telling a tale that is entertaining but informative at the same time. I’ve learned a lot about sheep while reading this book, and always wondered how on earth a sheepdog learns to do what it does – but I know now that a new dog will learn from an old one. There were a few chuckles too, particularly at how Jim dealt with unwanted salespeople. There were a couple of shocks regarding how the price of cattle has decreased over the years, and also sadly how the number of UK dairy farms has dropped from 196,000 in 1950 to about 10,000 now.
Jim has spent his whole life farming and has acquired a wealth of knowledge, some of which he shares in this delightful book.”