First Snow

We got our first snow last night and this morning. Not very much so far, just a light dusting, but I saw a few parents on my facebook feed saying their kids’ school was canceled. It seems this is the time of year where people in cold latitudes get to call people in warm latitudes wimps, while in the summer it’s the other way around.

When I let everybody out this morning, the sheep took one look outside, panicked, and ran back into their stalls. Once I’d made them go outside, they raced out in search of food, like true residents of the warmer latitudes. They’ve been living off of hay for ages, but even a light dusting of snow equals immanent starvation in sheep minds.

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“The grass is buried! We’re all going to die! Eat now, while you can!”

Cedar’s horns are getting so long! I still think he looks like a masculine version of his mother, but he’s looking a lot more like Duke as he matures.

The girls have three feeders to choose from, while the boys only have two, so they get more elbow room.

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“What is this cold stuff?”

Holly and big brother Neo stealing from the guys. I gave Holly her name because I thought her white speckles looked like snow on her wool, but today she’s even more frosted than usual.

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“Munch-munch-munch!”

Mira, Liam, and Will Scarlet around the next feeder, with Prince Bran heading around to eat hay from the back. Normally Mira would be pestering me for treats, but she’d already had a treat while “helping” me move the hay, and in such a dire emergency she wanted to be sure she got her fair share of the food.

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“This feeder is special, because we couldn’t get to it the whole time BB was here!”

Lana, Duchess, and Lady (behind Lana) at the feeder in the former ram pen, with Little John joining them from the other side of the fence. It’s only fair if the girls can steal from the boys’ feeder that the boys be able to steal from one of the girls’.

BB and Duke are the reason the feeder is hanging half off the fence and the butting board next to it is falling off. Duke didn’t quite get through the fence, but he did pop the board loose, so he was making good headway, no pun intended.

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“Is this white stuff good to eat?”

Nina abandoned the feeders entirely in favor of investigating the snow. I’m pretty sure this is her first experience of snow and she was quite confused and needed time to check out this new phenomenon.

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“I’m not sure I like this stuff, I might have to stay under here!”

She went in and out several times, to establish firmly that the shelter did indeed keep the snow from falling on her.

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“I think I might need some crunchies to help me make sense of all this!”

I couldn’t help laughing at the spot of snow on her nose. She did get a few crunchies just for being so cute. Mira fortunately didn’t notice, but Nova did and she wasn’t too happy about it.

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“Nonono MY crunchies! Not Nina’s! All the crunchies are mine!”

Nova’s been giving off unusually strong “divine right to rule” vibes lately. She’s also been getting in fights with Lady a lot; I think she might be attempting a coup. I’d rather she didn’t try to overthrow the government while she’s pregnant, but she didn’t ask me for my opinion.

Actually, I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that Nova is starting to exhibit a lot of mannerisms and behaviors exactly like Princess that she never did before, things that only Princess ever did. I don’t know what brought it on, but it was extremely odd and almost a little eerie the other day to see Nova march straight up to a relatively unfamiliar person and demand crunchies, then toss her head exactly so with an annoyed snort and walk away when they didn’t have any.

Nova’s pretty dominant with other sheep, but she’s always been wary of strange humans, she just doesn’t do things like that. Even Mira, who does go up to strangers for food, has a completely different attitude and body language when she does it, more “cute little kid wanting candy” and less “empress demanding tribute.”

I hope Nova has a daughter this time, I think she’d like having an heir/minion of her own, instead of rowdy sons that have to move over to the ram pen. I hope they all have girls, I’m tired of this “only one ewe lamb a year” business. The time between breeding season and lambing season is the most suspenseful time of the year, and sheep have a relatively short gestation; I don’t know how horse breeders who have to wait almost a year for a foal to be born can stand it.

I guess that’s one good thing about snow, dealing with ice and snow is pretty effective distraction from obsessively counting down the days till the lambs arrive. The ewes get annoyed enough at my hovering when they’re close to due, we’d both go crazy if I had time to hover through the whole pregnancy.

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8 thoughts on “First Snow

  1. Soay. Shetland. These are northern isles. Remind the sheep their ancestors waded through the white stuff so a dusting shouldn’t bother them, even though they are all princesses.

    • Their ancestors were certainly less coddled, and I’m sure it gets bitterly cold, but I don’t think St Kilda gets much actual snow. Something about being surrounded by salt water, or ocean air, or something like that. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

      Shetland islands climate I don’t know about, they might have snow.

  2. I too thought they might have some ancestral memory of this. Or, how long have they been in this country? Could it have been erased already?

    • Last year the research team on Soay posted on twitter saying they had a “rare” snow, and that the feral sheep were not amused. The picture looked like only an inch or two if I remember right, so I guess mine do come by their un-amusement honestly! πŸ˜€

  3. Shetland gets wiiiiinnnnd! Lots of it. Snow too, but more rain. I have Shetlands & British Soays & they all seem fine in our hot summers & cold winters, though we don’t get as much snow as some. I have noticed that once a ewe lambs, her status may change, so maybe now that your ewe, Nova(?) is experiencing movement in her womb, she’s trying to rush it.

    • Mine are fine too unless the snow gets too deep to walk, they just like to be dramatic and flail around over the first few snows every year. πŸ˜€

      I hadn’t thought about pregnancy changing Nova’s status since this is her third pregnancy, but it is her first since her mother Princess died, so you may be right.

  4. Dear Sarah,

    Cannot wait to read this post to the boys…we wondered how Nina would react to the snow. After the first back-to-the-stall,-fast! panic, she appears to have been bravely curious. Yay! She is getting a darling face, a little more like her Daddy Toffee’s. Glad she mooched some munchies. It was a big day.

    So Nova will be queen? Well, I’ll be. She seems like a good sort for that job.

    Meanwhile, here is hoping you can get more snow pictures of Holly, since she’s pretty as a can be…look at how heavy her coat is!

    It has always surprised me that Shetlands do as well as they do in KY, which so unlike their native land so much of the year. Perhaps a testament to their toughness. Soays, with less of a heavy coat to carry around, surprise me less, and look like they fit quite well.

    Very best, and hoping you all are snug. We’ve the heavy duvets out and the kitties are up close, Nutmeg especially.

    Natalie

    • Well, I don’t know if Nova will win against Lady, but she’s making a determined effort!

      The Shetlands can get in a very bad way very fast if the temperature goes up too quickly, but they do very well with the climate besides that. Much better than I do, for sure!

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