Friday, October 3, 2008


Unicorn is magnificent-even as he is waiting for me to bring him his morning hay.

Autumn is late this year. For years, by this time, all the leaves would be gone except for the brilliant gold of the aspens set against the grey wood of the bare forest. This year the basswoods are still greenish gold. The maples are in full red spectrum glory. The oaks are beginning to russet.

Our first frost visited last night, and it was unexpectedly hard. I will have a lot of peppers to gather this afternoon for drying. I think the plants mostly protected the fruit. My potted herbs got nipped pretty badly, but if I clip them short they should regrow indoors just fine. I just don't know where I'm going to put them yet. They will probably end up in the sunny kitchen. In the dark of winter, I love sitting by a sunny window and stroking the lavender or the Thai basil to release a burst of scent. It uplifts my soul to smell something so fresh in the middle of February.

This photo shows a line down the middle with fresh pasture (and sheep) on the left, and used pasture on the right. I am still rotating sheep through fresh pasture. However, while the grass grows slowly, I move them slowly. The sheep get one fresh grass day, then a bit of hay while they nibble the last of the good grass. Then more hay on the days when they pick at the less palatable plants. After most of the green is gone or flattened, they will be moved again. The pastures should be finished by mid November. Then I will move everyone to their winter or breeding pens for the first month of winter.

The sheep are getting restless. The baby rams are starting to push each other around. Unicorn will occasionally butt a tree trunk. Usually on the same day one of the ewes is acting overly silly, which means she is cycling and he can smell her clear across the farm. Bombarde, being the less dominant ram to Unicorn, has to keep a tight reign on his instincts and urges. He doesn't dare express himself too vividly until the Big Guy's presence is removed.

Little White Pine Silverthorne was put into the ewe pen this past week. The first hour was hard for her but then I did a little "round penning" with the ewes and they decided it was less work to leave her alone than suffer the shepherd's continuous direction. (I have found I can work sheep very similar to horses.) Now they flatten their ears if she gets too close. But she is fast becoming part of the flock. After she's been to ewe lamb boot camp with the other babies during breeding season, her place in the flock should be secure. She is such a cute little bug.


Kara said...

I loved your beautiful photos. I rotate my pastures in a similar way and it has worked great this year. I have lots of green grass and well conditioned animals. I move it gradually too so it is easier on them and prevent a feast/famine scenario. Your ram is handsome!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Funny you should mention "working" your sheep. Made me realize that's what I've done when a new introduction was getting "wupped on" and I was fed up with it. Sheep can definitely be trained!