...I would go for a swim. Minttu wishes she could join Scruffy in the water!
We decided to let them have full run of the big field. We fixed the fence and the gates and now they can wander down to the lake, walk up to the cabin, go over and feed in the neighbour's field, sit in the shade behind the sauna... Hopefully they won't be so tempted to eat the bark on the birch trees!
They tend to keep together: sometimes it is Elisa who leads the way and sometimes it's Minttu but Oona and Onerva are never far behind and then the lambs follow.
We got some more oats from Ronny and mixed them up a nice cocktail of grains and minerals. They also use the salt lick quite a lot, licking it but also nibbling at it!
She (#293) managed to get under the fence again but couldn't get back this time so we helped her out.
Today we are going to fix the fence around the big field so it won't matter if they go walkabouts, they won't get far.
The older sheep: Elisa, Oona and Onerva and the two older lambs (one white, one brown) have a real liking for birch bark probably because it tastes nice, maybe it's sweet or rich in minerals. The flock has full run of the curly birch plantation and, although we wrapped about 50-60 birch trunks with plastic tubing, they are managing to find the unprotected trees and are systematically pulling away the bark in strips. Argh. It's a huge job to wrap all the trees but I think we will have to do it.
And at least one of the young ewes has worked out how to get under the fence. Fortunately she also managed to find a way back in when she realised she was all alone on the Other Side.
Today - 16th June - Stefan and Thomas fixed the fence around the curly birch wood and let the sheep into the bigger area. Apparently Minttu was ecstatic, happy-happy... She probably remembers where there is fresh willow to nibble on. Pics to follow.
The two girls spent the winter together and now they are best friends. Minttu is still happy to follow us around rather than stay with the flock. I think she will always be a "pet". Interestingly, Minttu seems to be the dominant ewe in the flock rather than Elisa.
They all seem very happy. I've wandered into the field a few times today to see how they are doing. Minttu always comes over to say hello (she knows the routine, stale bread in my pockets) but the young lambs are still a bit skittish.
We have a bit of a problem with the bigger field. It is full of buttercups and they are toxic for sheep. Normally the sheep would just leave them as the taste is so bitter. So we have decided to mow them down - they will dry quickly (it is till very windy here) and then they are no longer toxic. Mowing the field will also encourage the grass to grow.
Here is a picture of one of the new lambs (b. August 2014) next to a picture of Minttu. They were both shorn at about the same time. one with electric shears and the other the old-fashioned way. Spot the difference. Minttu still has at least 6 cm of fleece on her back!
Now Pojo feels like home again. The sheep have arrived!
We have two ewes from 2008/9 - Oona and Onerva - who would have been at the Ahomaan farm at the same time as Elisa. It was astonishing to see Elisa immediately take interest in the new arrivals and especially the two older ewes. I'm convinced she recognised them!
Elisa is the rather scruffy ewe on the left (hand sheared) and Oona is on the right (mechanical shear, same week!).
So we have Elisa, Minttu (who is as friendly and affectionate as last year, but a bit bigger), Oona and Onerva and then two from last August (one white, one brown) and 18 from this spring, born between 28.2.2015 and 4.4.2015. So, 24 in all.
We will keep them in a small space for a few days until they are accustomed to their new surroundings and the lush, fresh grass, and then we'll let them into the big field.
Elisa and Minttu are booked in with the shearer next week. Then they come home.
We have 18 lambs (ewes) and 4 older sheep arriving on the 5th June - as long as we can get the tow bar changed on the Landrover tomorrow. Damn thing is rusted solid.
Not sure when Elisa and Minttu will turn up but we are all ready for them.
Looks like we will have 24 summer sheep altogether. And new fields for grazing too.
Last year some of the ewes took a liking to birch bark and a few of the trees have died as a result. So this year we are wrapping the trunks in plastic tubes. These are the tubes that were originally used when we planted the saplings (15 years ago). Fortunately we didn't get rid of them. I doubt if we will wrap up all the trees (approx 600) but we've protected around 50 which are closest to the sheep shed. We have fenced off a small area for the lambs when they arrive and we will gradually extend the area as we have done in previous years.
We are expecting a call any day to tell us that Elisa and Minttu are ready to return home, so Peter moved the sheep shed back into the pasture under the visakoivu (curly birch). There are about 50 birch trees that need to be protected from the nibblers: we lost six trees last year where they stripped the bark away. So that is MY next job - protecting the tree trunks. We also need to fix the fence while the ground is still soft enough to hammer in the fence posts.
Our sheepskins will soon be available from the Secret Garden store in Fiskars.
It was a cold blustery day so we didn't do much. Peter bought a new piece of equipment: a trailer for the tractor.
It's second hand or maybe third or fourth or even more since it would have been made in the 1960s by Nummi, a local company now owned by Wipro Engineering (a multinational hydraulics company). Anyway, it's a perfect match for our tractor (also from the early 60s). It has been recently renovated with much TLC: new tyres, new boards and new paint. A happy bunny. Now we just need another shed for storing it...
We had a call from the farm in Ostrobothnia today and some good news: there will be enough lambs for us and even a couple of older sheep(over a year old) and even a couple of "old ladies". So now we are getting excited again and starting to plan for their arrival. Time to start hammering in the fence posts again and checking the fence and moving the sheep shed back into the field. Excellent!