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That time I got busted buying hay for strays

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a soft touch for animals – yep, even the scarier ones like spiders, snakes and geese (a story for another day).

When I lived in Sydney, I was the crazy lady stopping at the side of the road to rescue lost dogs. In the country, this has translated into activities including trying to find owners for stray goats and saving slow turtles crossing the roads after rain.

So it should come as no surprise that I found myself at the local rural supplies store buying hay for a herd of stray cows.

In my defence, it was in the middle of our recent drought. And my lovely, animal-loving neighbour Silvana started it!

A herd of young black and white-faced cows (technical breed name right there) had escaped the 2,000-acre farm behind Silvana’s place in search of food. While we tried to locate the owner (who didn’t live on the property) Silvana took pity on the hungry tribe and started putting hay out for our new mates Larry, Curly, Moe and Jo.

When Silvana and her husband took off on a caravanning adventure, the primary feeding duties fell to the other soft touch in our little community – me!

Which is how I found myself at the rural supply store, ready to spend $60 on hay for another farmer’s cows.

My expedition started well. I strode in confidently, with instructions from Google on what I should be buying.

I had even practised saying the name of the hay I was to buy – lucerne – after I’d been mocked for pronouncing it like I was announcing the Swiss city.

And then it all went to crap. The store was out of lucerne.

The bloke behind the counter asked what kind of hay I wanted instead, reeling off a list of alternatives.

But the game was up, and I had to sheepishly ask him what other types of hay cows ate, explaining I had no clue as I was feeding the strays.

I now know what it feels like to be looked at like someone who has really lost the plot.

And to be fair, I probably had!

With a bemused and slightly confused look on his face, he asked a team member to grab my bales and rang up my order.

I then came close to setting a new speed record as I quickly made my payment and loaded my stray’s hay into the truck.

As I started my final drive of shame out of the supply yard, a team member who had been watching the goings-on motioned for me to stop.  My mood was restored when he gave me a thumbs up and said ‘I think you’re doing a nice thing, luv!’

As the photos below show, Larry, Curly, Moe and Jo agreed.

Tree changer lessons learned?           

  • There are more types of hay than you’d think.
  • Google can’t be trusted to know everything.
  • When you move to the country, don’t assume you’ll be the only soft touch when it comes to animals around!



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