2003 PHOTOS (click to view 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 photos)






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 November 27, 2003
Thanksgiving Day

Emily, Angus, Sheep on TDay

Early this morning, the sheep enjoyed an extra-large Thanksgiving Day serving of their leafy green alfalfa hay. While the the sheep chowed down, two of the Pyrenees dogs Emily (left) and Angus (center) seemed to be wondering when they would get their own special treat. In the spirit of the holiday, I always like to share turkey with the dogs. It won't be long now, kids - just wait till I get that bird in the oven!

November 13, 2003

Meet the newest members of the SkyLines family
This fall, a small herd of 11 cashmere goats joined the SkyLines family. The goats fill an important niche on the farm by grazing the weeds and brush that the sheep leave behind. While the sheep concentrate on grazing low-growing grasses and shrubs, the goats step in to prune the taller Douglas Hawthorn shrubs and the conifer trees, plus the nasty tarweed that nobody else likes.

In addition to rounding out the farm's organic weed control team, these shy, gentle creatures also produce small amounts of that wonderful and rare fiber - cashmere. The goats are still wearing their summer hair coats now, but as the nights are getting colder their warm, soft, cashmere undercoats are beginning to grow in.

Today, head goat Ollie (foreground) has led the herd out to nibble shrubs in the draw pasture. Ollie is very protective of his charges, and here he's thoroughly checking out the camera before allowing me to get a closeup photo of the other goats.


September 11, 2003 

Above, the SkyLines flock has moved to the hayfield now, where the sheep are grazing the stubble from this year's hay crop. They'll stay here for a few weeks while the woods pastures rest up for the final grazing pass of the year. After that, breeding season begins, and then another winter will be upon us!


Below, SkyLines' Great Pyrenees guard dogs (left to right) King, Angus, and Emily lounge among the grazing sheep. These fearless guardians are alert and active all night long, and then they spend most of their days sleeping or resting. In spite of daytime appearances, though, the dogs are on duty 24/7. Visits from the shepherdess, friends, and the family dogs are always welcome, but absolutely no other creature is ever allowed in the sheep pastures, be it coyote, dog, raven, wild turkey, deer, elk . . . or even skunk!


August 12, 2003

Peaches, Eleanor & her bonus lamb.

Today some of the ewes and their lambs are in from the pasture, mowing the grass in the driveway between the house and the barn. Here, Eleanor is keeping her "bonus lamb" close to Peaches the guard donkey, but I finally managed to sneak this shot while Eleanor was grabbing a bite to eat.

This little girl was born about six weeks after lambing was over and the flock had moved from the barn out to the woods pastures. I had assumed that Eleanor just didn't "take" this year, since she never showed any signs of impending motherhood. Well, much to my surprise, one July day she walked out of the woods with this bonus lamb in tow! A first-time mom, Eleanor has proven herself to be an excellent mother, and a fiercely protective one too. Good girl!


July 30, 2003

Moving the flock to fresh pasture

Head 'em up, move 'em out! This afternoon, I led 93 of the sheep down the runway between the newly-cut hayfield (left) and the woods pastures (right), headed for fresh grass. The entire flock moves to new ground every one to two weeks, slowly traveling from one end of the farm to the other through eight subdivided pastures.

They've just finished their second round trip of the season, and are now going back to the beginning, where the #1 pasture has been resting and regrowing since early June. Rotating pastures ensures that the sheep are always grazing grass that's in a vegetative, growing state (meaning green and highly nutritious), and it's also an important part of my internal parasite control program.

All of the animals know the routine and really seem to enjoy it. When I go out to a pasture and holler "Gather up, let's go!", sheep, dogs, and donkey all come pouring out of the woods. Within a few minutes, the entire mob has gathered at the gate to the next pasture, and they're bawling at me to hurry up and open it!

Here, the line streams past me as I stop to shoot this photo. The Great Pyrenees guard dogs have, as usual, rushed ahead to check out the new pasture before the sheep arrive. And, just a white speck in the distance, Peaches the guard donkey brings up the rear of the group.


July 15, 2003

Lilly & boy under the trees

On this classic hot summer afternoon, the sheep are all lounging under the trees, taking advantage of the cool shade to chew their cud and nap.

Lilly and her 3-month-old boy (both caught in mid-chew) were quite surprised when I crawled under the branches to snap this photo of them!

At 11 months of age, Angus the Great Pyrenees pup is close to being a full-fledged member of the SkyLines guard team. This endearing boy still has a bit of goofy-puppy in him, but he's beginning to take his job very seriously and doesn't miss much.

Above right, Angus had been napping with some of his sheep under the trees, but roused to check out the intruder in his pasture (me).

May 26, 2003
Memorial Day - Summer's Here!

Lambing is over now, and everybody's been out grazing in the woods pastures, where they'll spend the summer. In this photo King the Great Pyrenees is clearly happy to be out of the winter barnyard, as he oversees his sheep in the "back 40" pasture. Barely visible to King's left, Alice and her twin lambs head uphill to join the rest of the flock for a cud-chewing session on top of the slope. Everyone seems to enjoy this pasture tremendously, with its combination of a high-and-dry slope with good visibility, and its cool, moist flat filled with lush, rich grass (see photos below).

Yearling in bushes

About halfway down the hillside, this yearling ewe has bedded down for her afternoon nap in a patch of snowberry bushes, within easy reach of a snack should she wake up hungry.

Nora-lamb on flat

Further down the hillside, on the flat, the Romney-Montadale ewe Nora and one of her month-old lambs are wallowing in the knee-high fresh spring grass. Sheep heaven!


April 11, 2003
A walk through the lambing yard

The 2003 lambing season is just getting underway now, with about 30 ewes bred. So far, the weather's been just glorious, and the girls have all been delivering beautiful, healthy babies. Here's a sampling . . .

Lucy's girl enjoys the sunny day

Lucy's three-day-old girl enjoying the warm, sunny day.

Margaret and her newborns

Margaret's twins, about an hour old and still wobbly, haven't yet figured out that there are two spigots, and that there's one on each side!

In another few hours, though, they'll both be pros at this nursing business.

Nadine's precious girl

Nadine's tiny girl is just too precious . . .

Lilly and her lamb

Romney ewe Lilly and her sturdy boy seem ready for anything.

Cindy and lamb Sasha

My friend Cindy cuddles Sara's sleepy lamb Sasha. Chubby Sasha is about 2 weeks old and the first lamb born this year. Sara keeps close watch in the background.

March 15, 2003
Annual Shearing Day
Martin & ram Elmer

Top: We sheared and individually skirted 51 fleeces this year, and the tired and dirty crew were still cracking jokes at the end of the long, hard day! Meet the SkyLines 2003 shearing crew (left to right): Nadine, Penny, Margo, Jessie and his mom Susan, Tertza and her dad Martin, Fern, and Priscilla.

Right: Shearer extraordinaire Martin Dibble was gentle but persuasive with the ram Elmer, who just wasn't in the mood to get his hair cut this year. Shearing a sheep takes just minutes, though, and once it's over it is very obvious that the sheep feels great about being rid of that thick winter coat.

Audrey & Alice in front of the pond

March 4, 2003

Still no snow on the ground, and though we never really had a winter, it's clear now that spring is on the way. The red-winged blackbirds have returned and have, as usual, taken up residence in the Hawthorne bushes that ring the pond.

As another sure sign of spring, Audrey (foreground), Alice (background) and the rest of the sheep are about ready for their annual haircuts. Shearing is a couple of weeks away now, and then lambing will begin in early April. The cycle of life continues . . .


'02 Lambs

February 10, 2003

February is another quiet month on the farm. Here, some of the bored Romney-cross lambs (with coated Buster in the background) have followed me into the barn to see if I might do something interesting, like maybe offer them a treat. Sorry kids, nothing today!


January 19, 2003

January is a quiet month on the farm. Once the ewes have been bred, winter becomes a time of quiet contentment, as we all settle in and wait for spring. Gestation in sheep is about five months long, and lambing will begin in early April. In the meantime, the "ladies-in-waiting" kick back, live the easy life, and focus on growing babies and fleeces.

Here, Romney-cross sisters Rita (top) and Linda (bottom) while away the afternoon and wait for dinner to be served.

Wether Julius oversees some of the pregnant ewes

January 18, 2003

Yikes! Still no snow! The light snowfall of mid-December melted off before Christmas, and since then we've had weeks of warm, 30-40-50 degree weather, rain and fog. Almost unprecedented for this area! Of course, everyone's been enjoying the unusually mild, open winter - why not? Just to be on the safe side, though, I'm making preparations for a long, hot, dry summer that may well put the farm's water supplies and pastures to the acid test.

In this photo, Julius the young Romney wether isn't sure if he approves of my photographing "his" girls. Julius has recently assumed responsibility for the pregnant ewes in one of the farm's winter pastures. It's not his job, guarding is what the three Great Pyrenees dogs and the guard donkey are here for, but I'm not complaining. In coyote country, you really can't have too many guard animals!

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SkyLines Farm 4551 Highway 6 Harvard, ID 83834 208.875.8747
Purebred Romney and Romney-Cross Sheep