2002 PHOTOS (Click to view 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 photos)
December 6, 2002
Romney sisters Emma, Sally, and Pearl enjoy a lazy afternoon in the sun, on this remarkably warm December day.
The temperature here on the farm dropped to 3 degrees (brrr) during Halloween week. Then it warmed up again and has stayed in the upper 40's and 50's for over a month, with absolutely no snow at all (a rare event around here).
This unusually dry fall, with downright pleasant temps, has meant that I could actually complete my entire fall project list. A first!
November 12, 2002
Angus the new Great Pyrenees puppy has joined the sheep guard dogs King and Emily, and is now learning how to be part of the SkyLines team. Today, Angus (reclining) and Emily (seated) are on duty with King in the fall lamb pasture.
At only 11
weeks old Angus is still very much a baby, so right now he's
sticking fairly close to Emily for security as well as
guidance. Emily in turn seems to be really enjoying her role
as surrogate mom, keeping track of Angus and making sure
that the lambs don't get too pushy with the little guy.
season is in full swing now at SkyLines Farm with three
Romney rams in service - two natural-coloreds and one white.
Ernie, our new white ram, is deeply in love with the Romney
ewe Maxine today. It's been a busy week for this yearling
ram. Over the past five days Ernie's also been in love with
April, Lily, Nadine, Julie, and Grace. He has eight more
ewes to romance this fall, and then he gets to rest for
another year. The other two rams are equally hard at work
with their respective ewes, in separate pastures. What a
September 19, 2002
SkyLines' sheep guard dogs King (l) and Emily (r) often enjoy hanging out together while they keep an eye on their sheep. Not visible in this photo, all of the sheep are resting down in the trees, staying cool on this hot afternoon.
Though this pasture still contains plenty of feed, the once-lush area is rapidly turning brown with September's hot dry days and cold nights. I've been saving the season's last green grazing area, the hayfield, for "flushing" the ewes before breeding. This involves increasing the nutritional value of their feed in the weeks before breeding, a practice that helps improve the chances for multiple births. The ewes will move into the hayfield at the end of this month, and then breeding will begin in mid October.
See Management Practices>Predators for more info on King and Emily's important role at SkyLines Farm.
August 10, 2002
During the dog
days of summer, the sheep graze in the forest pastures
(surrounding barn in photo below), where they spend midday
lounging in the dense shade of pines, firs, and spruces. The
low-hanging branches help keep flies at bay, and provide a
wonderful, cool respite from the 90-100-degree heat.
July 23, 2002 - Haying season
Nicholson carefully guides his tractor and swather over the
SkyLines hayfield. In a few days, once the excess moisture
has evaporated from the grass, he'll go over the field again
with his baler, which scoops the grass up and compresses it
into compact 60-lb. (girl-sized) bales of hay. Then a crew
of boys will come in, pick up the bales, haul them into the
barn on a flatbed truck, and stack them all the way to the
rafters. What a great feeling every August, having the
winter's food stacked neatly in the barn, all ready to feed
on those cold winter days!
July 2, 2002
Stella was one of the last ewes to lamb this year. Her twins were born on June 13, and are shown here having a snack. Many charming illustrations of sheep show a ewe sniffing noses with her lamb. In reality, that's a rare sight. This one is much more common, as the ewe checks under each lamb's tail to make sure that it is her own lambs who are nursing. The ewe recognizes the scent of her own milk that has passed through the lambs, making this method of identification much more reliable than a visual inspection (particularly in a large flock with lots of lambs!)
May 13, 2002
The 2002 lambing season is well underway now, and it's shaping up to be a terrific year for colored lambs. Out of the nineteen lambs born so far, fourteen of them are natural-colored!
All SkyLines natural-colored lambs are born with wool that is either pure black like these babies, or very, very dark grey. However, by their first shearing (next spring), the majority of the lambs' fleeces will have evolved into what will be their permanent color, which ranges from very dark to medium grey, to pale dove grey or a soft oatmeal color.
Some of the fleeces will also be variegated - consisting of a range of colors from light to dark. Many spinners like working with variegated fleeces because of the interesting one-of-a-kind yarns they can produce from them. Elmer, the ram who sired most of these lambs, has a wonderfully variegated fleece, which he frequently passes to his offspring.