January thaw

We had an amazingly cold start to January, but things are settling down a bit now and are actually quite unseasonably warm — the big snowstorm is melting away slowly, day by day.  But before it melted, eldest daughter, who got a new camera for Christmas, snapped some photos, trying to capture a cover photo for the Winter newsletter for the Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America.  If she wins with her photo, it will be her first international magazine cover shot!

 

Icelandics are made for this weather!  They thrive in it — as long as their hay supply is kept steady, that is!  They do get bored when their pasture is covered.  Even though the grass is no longer growing, they can’t help but graze the overwintering pasture when it’s not covered by snow, just out of habit.  

 

So this is how the day begins — as soon as the sun breaks over the hillside, the sheep are starting to get up and look towards the house, just in case we forgot about them.  

 

Here’s our sunrise view in the morning, from the top of the hill…

 

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And their view from the bottom…

 

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Sometimes even before they have their breakfast, the boys head down to the barn to break open some bales to feed the ewes.

 

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Did I mention how incredibly cold it sometimes is at that hour of the morning, especially when the wind is whipping (and it frequently is!)?  Here’s a frosted fence post as proof….

 

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We now have the sheep divided into 3 groups.  

 

The rams are now separated from the ewes.  That way, should one of the ewes not have been bred when they were all together, she won’t get bred late and give us surprise lambs in June!

 

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The ewe lambs are separated from the bred adult ewes.  They are basically hanging out for the year, growing and maturing for next breeding season.  

 

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Pretty deep drifts, Drifa (snowdrift in Icelandic)!

 

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The adult ewes, hopefully bred, are the last group.  We need to be careful about their hay consumption — not too little, not too much.  We’re pretty sure we overfed them last year and that’s what caused us to have to pull lambs.  We’re hopeful that scenario won’t repeat itself this year!

They are in the lambing pasture, complete with the small barn that’s divided up into indoor and outdoor pens that turn into our annual maternity ward.

 

Roxanne and Shirely

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Daisy and Bruna

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Molly (this might be the cover shot winner!)

 

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Daisy…

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Once satiated, the sheep haven’t much else to do, so after they’ve chewed their morning cuds, they’re ready for a photo op…

 

Kemba

Sheeep

 

Drifa

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Freyja

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Of course Blue can’t miss out on the fun!

 

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The day ends as cold as it begins…

 

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And that’s just a little peek through a barn knothole of winter at Morning Star Meadows!

 

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