Spectacular colors this time of year! Just a little rain has brought our pasture new life.
The sheep have taken notice...
Gene has learned to get out of the way quickly!
Doesn't look like much, but satisfied the sheep's urge to graze--vigorous ruckus of "rip, rip, rip"- a welcome change from the hay feeders.
Thank you, Gene!!!
We have our pasture divided into eight paddocks, so that we can rotate the sheep, keeping the soil healthy and keeping new plants regenerating. Gene is the one who lets the flock into each paddock as we rotate, and they know it! Whenever he steps outside the house, they holler at him, hoping he is coming to open a gate.
The lambs haven't quite caught on to the routine.
It didn't take them long to figure it out, though.
A few days ago we opened up a section of pasture that is adjacent to the lambing shed. The plants in there had grown taller than usual.
Some of the sheep got swallowed up in the green. Here's Tehya and ?
Tucker and Twain, I think.
Look at the horn growth already on Tucker!!
This time of year it is wonderful to watch the sheep enjoy their natural activity: grazing.
I've spent at least an hour a day for a week scouring the pasture for broken bits of glass and rusted stuff. Always finding more than my pockets or hands can carry, I am astounded that there's ever more to find.
Do you see what I see? Look closely near the center of the picture.
Maybe this one is easier to spot. Broken glass and rusty nails and old tractor parts and even horseshoes!
The sheep come out to check out my mysterious behavior. The familiar "rip, rip" of sheep tearing grass has been replaced by "crunch, crunch" of acorns they find. Shyla and her ram lamb, Sherpa, are finding some here. About all that is left in the pasture in the late summer is turkey mullein, which is toxic to sheep, though Ariel and Zuri, below, are managing to nibble something tasty from underneath the plants. The last heavy rains, last week, have started some green shoots, but they won't grow much before being covered with snow. The sheep will have to wait until April for luscious, fresh grasses.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to stroll and scour for dangerous junk. Some of my finds in the pasture clearly suggest a story, a history of this land. I wonder at the leavings of tools and machinery, rotting and rusting, waiting to be tripped upon by humans or injure sheep feet. We have been a thoughtless species, in too much of a hurry to take care of things properly, desecrating this sacred earth. Occasional findings of obsidian treasures, though, tells me that Maidu lived here before these rusted leavings, and I believe they treasured this land, as do I.