The Great Soay Road Trip

My awesome friend Andrea is switching her ruminant herd over from dairy goats to fiber sheep and discovered that there was a really cool Neolithic sheep breed, Soay Sheep, still in existence and available from a farm a few hours away. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, she and I road tripped to the farm to pick up the nucleus of her new herd. Let me tell you, the rural Piedmont is really pretty during a wet summer, if direly humid. We sadly couldn’t find the Tank Museum we passed signs for but that’s okay because it gave us lots of time to visit the farm the evening before pick-up to sort out sheep and pick which ones were going home with us.

When we arrived, we first got to meet the owner’s majestic floofs (AKA Samoyed dogs). They were a lovely pink thanks to the marvelous red dirt of North Carolina.

3 white Samoyed dogs on a lawn

Then we got to meet the rams.

Four small dark brown rams with tightly curled horns clustered in a fenced corner

The boys were separated out so we could see how they looked and to make it easier to catch out the ram we were taking home. The ram we ended up taking home, Ferrington, is in the far left corner. He’s a bit smaller than the other rams, but not by much. These are small sheep in general, smaller than Greta. When it came time to snag them for travel, the adolescent lambs were light enough to pick up and carry to the truck, so 20-30 pounds I’d guess.

The lambs were pretty sure we were horrible sheep eaters.

a tight group of dark brown lambs all facing the same direction and looking over their shoulders at the same thing

the flock of lambs moving in the same direction out of a corner away from a person

3 lambs less tightly cluster and facing the camera.

Since the sheep were pretty skittish around people, we had to be clever to get Ferrington separated out without the use of a dog. We moved the big boys over to the herd of adolescent lambs that had been penned in an adjacent enclosure. Then Andrea tried to give me sheepdog instructions to help move the sheep. I am not as smart as a sheepdog, it turns out. However, thanks to thumbs, I managed to slam the gate closed between two pens in order to prevent Ferrington from peeling off the lamb herd with the other rams. Boy was he surprised when he smacked into that gate! Bipedal superiority!

Here he is with a pair of lambs. He’s good at posing.

Ferrington and two Lambs facing the camera

Ferrington. A dark brown ram with almost black chest and head and pale tan patches around his eyes. His horns wrap about 270 degrees around from their starting point and come in close to his jaw.

Ferrington. Same as above but with head turned to the left for a fine profile.

The next day we loaded sheep in the car for the ride home. We took home Ferrington, two ewe lambs, and two wethers (neutered males). They were bedded down with food and water in the back of the truck and pretty much just chilled for the five hour ride. No complaining, even on the one or two occasions where we had to hit the brakes hard. Apparently goats are much worse in the car. Andrea claims it’s because of the free preaching and bluegrass cd we picked up at a truck stop. They also liked Willie Nelson.

Lambs and Ram lying in the back of an SUV

lamb extremely close up to the camera with lambs laying down in the background.
My hands weren’t interesting to check out, but my camera was to this lamb.

The sheep were delivered safely and introduced to the goat herd with little incident. The goats are a bit horrified by them, but they’ll get over it. The resident sheep are very happy to have other sheep around.

Here you can see relative sizes of Soay sheep and dairy goats of various heritage.

a bunch of dairy goats of various sizes around the small Soay sheep

A very successful trip!

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Welcome To Night Vale – Live Episode 49

At the time I write this post (ETA: which was on the 11th if you’re looking at the post date and going “bwah?”), episode 49 doesn’t have a name that I know of. However, it’s their second anniversary show that was taped at Town Hall in NYC. As this episode got split into two halves, I’m not going to say anything about the plot. If you don’t want to see the characters that show up, don’t click through to the rest of the set on Flickr. I’m just going to post a few of the main cast you’d expect.

Cecil, the Faceless Old Woman, and Hiram McDaniels

Carlos Lauren and Kevin

Cecil

Such a good show! On the camera tech side of things, still using my D10 which has an abysmal zoom but thanks to Cecil wearing a white suit and the floating cat in front of me before the show, I managed to get settings that didn’t blow out all of the whites on faces this time. The images are a bit fuzzy and noisy, but I think this may be the best I can do for those sort of conditions and what the camera is and isn’t intended for. I mean, my Florida pictures were great at the beach and it’s waterproof. Would love to hear if you have setting or editing suggestions for low light conditions such as these.

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Monday Pics: A Thursday Tradition

Incoming, a wave about to crest over the camera

Black and white waves crashing on a beach

Low waves coming into shower with towering clouds overhead

Went down to Florida for a sorority sister’s wedding. She had it on the beach in Santa Rosa Beach, which was absolutely lovely. The area is called the Emerald Coast for the green color of the water and you can see it in these pictures (well, not in the black and white one). I’ve never been much of an ocean person, preferring Lake Michigan, but these was a really fantastic beach. The way the waves were coming in reminded me a lot of the lake and it didn’t have the awful algae problems the Great Lakes have now. Also, there were shoals of tiny fish and swimming crabs. The wedding was lovely but the beach was better. I think we may have to start visiting more often.

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