This young lady figured out how to get under the gate! So our neighbour did some major enhancements and she is now "contained" but not amused.
Peter went fishing with the canoe at the weekend and took this picture of the sheep drinking from the lake. If I were a sheep, I think I would quite like to spend my days in Rosendal, Pojo.
The weather has been amazing - still over 20C during the day.
Drove up for the day from Espoo just to pick some veg, water the polytunnel and check on the sheep. They were huddled in a woolly pile behind their shed as it was quite breezy and they don't seem to like the wind too much - even though it is a nice warm wind. In fact it's a beautiful day and the farmers are harvesting. Going at it like mad. Lots of dust in the air.
They followed me over to the apple trees and I picked them a few apples as they had scoffed all the windfalls. The neighbour came over. Apparently one of the girls had got out and wandered into his sauna (while he was in it) the day before. Eeek!
I strolled around the field checking on the fence and of course they all followed me +2 dogs. Quite a crowd.
Then they wandered down to the reeds by the lake. That is where we have the water pump. And one of them (I think it was 126...) got twisted up in the electric cable, ripping the plug out of the pump and winding the cable round her neck and then around my legs, knocking me flat on my back. Dogs barking. Sheep baaa-ing. Not sure if the neighbour was watching but it must have looked like Shaun the Sheep **LIVE**.
On Sunday morning I was in a real hurry to get back to Espoo, (cinema festival in Tapiola this week) and I knew time was short as I had to deliver the honey for K-Market and also water the grow-bags in the polytunnel before I left.
Was almost ready to leave when I saw 126 and The-Other-One wandering around ON THE WRONG SIDE of the fence... Of course, I was on my own + two dogs. I grabbed the dog lead but not the magic bucket and tried to walk the two girls over to the gate on the neighbour's side. The tricky bit would be getting those two back in while the other 11 stayed on the inside. Anyway, I was almost there when Zelda and Zsazsa figured out what was going on and ran over to join in the fun. Needless to say 126 and The-Other-One both did a 180 turn and started heading back up towards the cabin. Grrr.
Plan B. I decided to go inside their enclosure and fetch Elisa. Then use her to round up the other two. Tricky letting Elisa out without the other 10... But she did exactly what I wanted her to do. We're in business. Unfortunately, I hadn't figured out, silly me, that while Elisa was inside the pen the other two would of course stay close to the fence, BUT, once she was out, they would follow her anywhere. And Elisa was in an adventurous mood. She headed off in the direction of the hemp field...
Plan C. I locked up the dogs in the cabin because they were not helping. At all. Then I grabbed the remainders of a loaf of bread (not stale, but hey, this is an emergency) and bucket. I then wandered over to the new gate (on our side) and shook the bucket. Sure enough Elisa and the other two came over to see what was in the bucket. BUT I then had to open the gate (four logs to slide out horizontally, one at a time) and prevent the captive ewes from escaping while ushering Elisa, 126 and The-Other-One back in without running out of bread.
Anyway,it's all a bit of a blur, not sure quite how I managed it but I did. Picked up a tick bite in the process but nothing fatal. Hooray.
They were having an odd day. Maybe it was the rain during the night, not sure. But they were stampeding around the field like things possessed.
I had to stop at the Shell station for a mega cup of coffee and a doughnut before I could head home.
Peter and the boys stopped by in the evening to take a look at the fence. The rain has made the ground soft and some of the posts had come loose. So they hammered in the posts and checked all the wire.
They were all scrambling up the pile of rocks today in between two heavy showers of rain.
Anyway, they were pleased to see me (and bucket of stale bread) and hovered around while I was pulling up carrots and picking beans. They have eaten a huge amount of hay, not sure why they prefer hay when there is plenty of grass.
Checked the perimeter of the field, the fence seems OK, no signs of deer damage or similar.
The girls now have full run of the big front field.
They wasted no time in exploring the surrounds of the sauna and the apple trees (lots of tasty windfalls crunch-crunch) and one of them even climbed up the pile of stones left over from making the road to Rosendal (no, you are not a goat, you're a sheep, get down!)
But this morning poor old Elisa was limping and we have no idea why. Her right hand front leg seems to be the problem (or rather her extreme weight on it) but there are no signs of infection or any other damage. We think it could be a torn ligament, but she was not the one rock climbing yesterday. She looked miserable and the others seemed uneasy; they weren't wandering off far without her. Peter is going to check her out again tomorrow.
Tom and Peter made a really nice gate so that we can still get down to the beach and the sauna without pole vaulting over the fence. Last night when we walked down for our sauna the girls followed us all the way down and then all the way back again.
These are the oat sheaves that Ronnie makes in the autumn and sells during the winter. The birds love these grains and Finnish people hang the sheaves in their gardens as food for the finches and tits once there is snow on the ground. Just as robins are a symbol of winter in the UK, so bullfinches are a feature of Finnish winters. This is a very traditional way of harvesting oats and last year the Vastra Nyland newspaper published several photos and an article about R.'s oats!
We realised fairly quickly that the curly birch wood would not provide adequate grazing through until late autumn. So we have hatched a plan to extend their enclosure. We have the space, we have fence posts, but what we don't have is that nice piece of machinery that makes holes in the ground for the fence posts. We met R.'s brother up at the Shell Station (our "local" - coffee, doughnuts and hot-dogs... and petrol) and he just happened to mention that R had harvested his oats and made the traditional oat sheaves which Finns buy (for extraordinary amounts of money) for feeding wild birds through the winter. So... we knew he had the bit for driving stakes into the ground attached to the tractor. He came over on Monday and helped P to stake out almost two thirds of the front field. We still need to attach the fencing and a gate or two but within a week or so they will have lots more space to graze in. They will love it.
When R joined us for coffee afterwards he told us that the local lynx had taken away two of their cats. (The photo is a Lynx lynx - Ilves in Finnish). They are protected but due to increasing numbers some hunting licences are granted. They eat small mammals: roe deer, rabbits, mice and voles and pet cats and also birds such as partridge and pheasant. They are very big and could easily kill a sheep. Which is a worry. And the worry will increase as the autumn approaches.
Today, filled with confidence after our successful herding operation at the weekend after the great escape, we decided it was time for some TLC on the hoof front. Since 108 and 109 are soooooo friendly, I had been regularly monitoring the length of their nails and everything seemed to be OK. But then I took a peak at Elisa's hoofs and realised that her pedicure was overdue. We had been advised that the absolute best tool for the job would be a pair of Fiskars garden secateurs. Of which we possess several pairs, principally for pruning purposes.
Well, Elisa was obviously intimately familiar with Fiskars' range of garden tools. One glimpse of the secateurs and she was off. So, more stale bread was required (it always works) and we used the dog leash. She didn't mind in the end and was patient enough while we discussed the 101 of ovine pedicure. Job done. Then we decided to try the same on one of the "hoggets" (we have two ewes born last August, so exactly one year old: Badger-face and The-Other-One). P sort of lassoed the dog leash over her head (using the stale-bread bucket as a lure) and then flipped her onto her backside saying, "we did this all the time in Namibia" (true: he really did go there once to hunt antelope on a sheep farm the size of all of Wales). Anyway, she sat there hoofs aloft as if to say, "I'll have pink gel with diamanté embellishments" while we trimmed away. P. said he thought he heard her snore at one point.
We didn't have the energy (or enough stale bread) to try it on Badger-face who, I have a hunch, will be more difficult.
...since I wrote about the sheep. That's because we've been busy with the bees.
Last weekend P and I had been up to Rosendal to install the new hive. We drove because it's too far to walk in sweaty bee-suits. When we got back, I was bent over double trying to extract myself from my suit and who should I spot right behind me, starring (that's a give-away) but Elisa and three others in tow.
They are so funny. Any other escapee would make a dash for the long grass in the field, or the reeds down by the lake, or make a quick exit right up the road. But sheep...? No. The first thing they do is come and tell you they have escaped.
And, the rest of the flock had gone bananas anyway, screaming something like "she's out, mamma's gone and left us, baa baa baa, OMG what should we do baa baa baa", poor dear she wouldn't have got far.
So, P and I shot into crisis management mode, ie: the breaking of the bread. Into the bucket. No need for dogs, whistles or neighbourly reinforcements... all you need is a stale loaf. Game over.