The first seven months of 2011 have been nothing if not wet, and cold. Winter was long, snowy, and colder than typical. Anyone who thought spring would make up for it was wrong, anyone who thought summer would make up for a terrible winter and spring, was also wrong.
Winter was cold and wet, spring was cold, wet and windy, and summer continued the trend. The gloomy cloudy days made everyone miserable, the wind tore most of the sheet metal off my shed and the rain made everything soggy. Weeds were pretty happy, and the pasture did look greener than every.
Two years ago there was a drought in the area. Pigeon Lake, nearby, was way down from its usual, and even 2010 did not bring it up to where it should be.
We sold a few sheep in 2010 due to the drought, pasture was very poor that year, and rather than go through the same worries again it was just easier to sell a few sheep. In the spring of 2011 we sold Baby Katahdin, the ram, and all the lambs, so we were left with 8 ewes, Aggie the donkey, and Crystal, the llama. This seemed like a reasonable number of sheep.
|July 28, 2011|
The problem being that we had nothing but rain so the pasture did nothing but grow. All of central Alberta, and southern Alberta did much the same, although parts of northern Alberta experienced fires that left the town of Slave Lake ravaged (later it flooded).
You might think the animals were thrilled with all the grass... but no, they were being eaten by mosquitoes if they were not being pelted by rain, the shed had not much of a roof left so they mostly stayed in the old barn poking out only rarely to get something to eat, then going back to get away from the bugs. I have been here now 6 years, the mosquitoes were the worst I have ever seen.
|July 28, 2011|
For almost one week in July we had sun, but it was tempered with thundershowers at night. The lucky thing being this was the week our cochin chicks hatched at least they had some sun. I am not so sure if there has been a day with no rain, or not.
The sheep cannot keep up with the grass, and nor can we, lawn mowing is a never ending chore. The mosquitoes are not quite as bad and the grasshoppers are assisting in chewing down the pasture. Aggie is getting fatter and fatter (donkeys get fat on their necks) and we see the sheep now from time to time when they poke their heads up above the grass.
If you have been following this blog you know the sheep are Patsy in the front (with 5 horns), Mrs Brown Katahdin, Diamond, with Mrs White Katahdin tucked in behind, Girlie and her mom, Dark Brown, and off to the left is Favorite Sheep. Blackie is only see in the above picture, where Aggie is also getting in on the shot. Crystal is actually behind Aggie rolling in the mud/dirt.
To compare I will show you a picture taken in roughly the same spot two years ago.
|Patsy in 2009 - same pasture as above.|