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Report From the South Branch of the North Pole

January 7, 2010

Day one of the Great Arctic Incursion is in the books, and the report from here is thumbs up. It was a beautiful, crisp morning. When I raised sheep in Colorado, I judged the extent of the cold by how quickly the snot froze in my nose when I went outside. Close to 5 degrees, and the effect was instantaneous. I suspect tomorrow morning (and Saturday) will be *that* cold.

The teenagers are enjoying their oat hay in the brisk sunshine

Sheep were really made for cold weather, especially when it’s dry. I found everyone in a good mood, even the goats, who don’t have the luxury of a 3 inch wool coat. The ewes were all hanging out basking in the sun as if they were at the beach, and the draft horses were frisky.

Gratuitous Muskovy duck pic

I love it when the ewes are pregnant. This late in gestation (we start lambing just after Valentine’s Day), they become very cooperative. All they want to do is eat and lay around. I don’t even bother to turn on the electronet fence half the time, because if they get out, they don’t go far, and they will come right back if I shake a bucket of corn at them. Unlike the ewes, the pen of replacement ewe lambs and butcher lambs are feisty. These lambs were born last spring, and the teenage girls that I am keeping for breeding will go in with the pregnant ewes after shearing. Hanging out with their mothers will settle them down soon enough. This group will be turned in with a ram in mid-March, hopefully to then lamb in the fall. The remaining lambs in that pen will go to the processor over the next 2-3 months, either for cuts or to be made into whole lamb sausage.

2" of ice in just one night! The sledgehammer helps 🙂

Stay tuned for the next chilly dispatch!

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