Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spring Chores

Lolly getting her spring haircut.  She came in looking like a fuzzball and left looking like a cow.  If any hairdressers would like to use that as a slogan you're welcome to it.

Sonja getting fleeced.  You really appreciate that expression when you watch a skilled shearer at work.

This is why I could never be a shearer.  You have to be able to  touch your toes easily and work in that position.

Our shearer Paul Hornung is amazing.  He is gentle and firm with the sheep so that they struggle very little, and he makes the whole job look as easy as peeling a bananan - except that the fleece comes off in one piece.

You're not my momma!  Unfortunately Vappu did not recognize her own mother.  Sonja pursued her for the rest of the afternoon.  Vappu cried off and on for about 4 hours until she finally figured it out and began to nurse.  By then Sonja's udder was very full.

Jonathan digging a furrow for the potatoes.

Four fifty foot rows.

Grandpa splitting wood.  Going on 92 and still going strong.

He and Jonathan have already got over half of the 11 full cords of firewood split and piled.

Dandelions, the bane of all those shriveled souls who can no longer take a child's delight in their beauty.

Monarch in the lilacs

Tiger swallowtail.  Trust me, you need to take a lot of pictures of these critters before you get a good one.  They flit about from flower to flower so quickly.

Planting the other garden.  I've got to start giving them names because we have four of them now.  In the foreground the densepack strawberry patch that produced 70 quarts last summer. 

Approaching thunderstorm.  It rained all afternoon and intermittently hailed.  Got  an inch and a half of rain and the temp fell to 50  (It was 90 the day before).

The sheep appreciated a break from the flies, which had been pestering them in  during the hot weather.  Without their long wool they were particularly susceptible.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Green Grass of May

Vappu has been home at mealtimes.  She weighed 8# when she was born, and here 16# two weeks later.

Now that we have the electric netting up, the sheep have plenty of new grass to  graze.  They've also been  scratching their heads on the lower branches of spruce trees so that a lot of dry twigs get broken off and tangled in their wool.

Chow time!

I wanted to get a closeup picture of the lush grass so I held the camera right up to the electric netting.  Right after this picture was taken the breeze moved the netting so that it touched one finger.  My whole arm automatically jumped back.  An 8000 volt pulse gives you quite a jolt.

Vappu is learning to graze.  It takes several weeks before a lamb's digestive system develops the  bacteria needed to digest grass, so momma's rich milk is still her mainstay.  Sonja has to eat for two.

Grazing is just a hobby for lamb, but it's serious business for a sheep.  They have to fill that big rumen to keep the fermentation going.

Vappu is easily the fastest runner of the flock now, but of course she will slow down once she develops that big "hay gut".