Saturday, July 16, 2011


After many weeks of preparation, we finally got our Icelandic sheep. Here Gunnar, our two-year old ram, is about to take the plunge into his new pasture...

...followed quickly by two year old Sonja, and Sigrid, this year's lamb. Although Sonja was separated from her lamb, and Sigrid was separated from her mother, don't get the impression that there was any mutual comfort here. Sonja seems to go out of her way to butt Sigrid. Other than that, the transition to their new home went smoothly.

They got right down to their business, eating grass.

Icelandic sheep are descendants of those brought over by the vikings a thousand years ago. Since that time, the importation of sheep to Iceland has been outlawed, so a remarkably pure breed has developed.

Time to lie down in green pastures, on a warm muggy evening.

Although Gunnar is actually registered under another name, we decided to give all the sheep good Norse names. I visited Iceland briefly in 1976 and have read many of the old sagas - which mostly deal with battles and land disputes. What else would you expect from Vikings?

Gunnar is actually a very friendly ram. He will approach you and sniff you. Still, I think I will watch that I don't turn my back on him, particularly during the rut.

In the future we will have plenty of long wool for spinning, etc., with a lot of natural color in it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Strawberries = Summer. Period.

The Fourth of July Picnic...

...followed by the traditional croquette match.

Horsing around in the pond.

In Finnish July is heinakuu, the hay month. This took on new meaning this year when we got 125 bales of hay for our soon-to- arrive sheep. It took me five 20 mile round trips with my truck, the last one under the threat of rain. Next year I'm getting a trailer!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fence Posts

Our sheep are scheduled to arrive in two weeks, and I want to have a permanent woven wire fence ready for them. I borrowed a post hole digger from a friend, and after laying out the fenceline started drilling holes for the posts.

The 12" auger was larger than I really needed, but it did a nice job.

Of course there were times I had to reach for the old reliable hand-operated posthole digger when I encountered a large rock or hardpan. The temperature on this day approached 90 and the humidity was very high. I put in a long day, but during the afternoon I took a few breaks to jump in the pond to cool off.

When you have to dig holes for almost 40 posts, you appreciate a digger powered by a power takeoff, not your arms and shoulders. There was plenty of that even with the digger. The sand had to be pushed back into the holes around the posts and tamped down with 2x2.

All that remains is to install diagonal braces against the corner posts, and then unroll, stretch and attach the wire fencing.