When the sheep came down from the mountains

On Sunday, we decided to take a brief respite from the apples and went back to the Queyras (Hautes-Alpes). A farmer friend of ours has a flock of sheep that move to their summer residence up in the high pastures of the Alps from June to October.

Sheep in Alpine pastures

His sheep are mixed with four or five other flocks and graze in the high mountains throughout the summer months, before being transported back to the farm for the winter. In the photo below they look like thousands of white ants as they arrive, following the valley, before starting the climb towards us.

Sheep in the Queyras

The shepherd and his dog herd them together for one last time.

Sheep in the Queyras, Hautes-Alpes

Then they are sorted into flocks, ready for the trip home the next day.

Merinos in the Alps

Sorry for the lack of blogging activity and comments recently. We are almost at the end of sorting apples and normal service should resume by the end of the week…

Merinos sheep in the Alps

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9 Responses to When the sheep came down from the mountains

  1. tut-tut says:

    How does he cull his sheep from the rest? I had read an article about herders gathering in Spain in protest of some of these long-estblished herding routes being displaced/destroyed by development. Is that an issue there?

    Will look forward to more blogging from you as winter draws nigh . . .

  2. Kathleen says:

    What an amazing life you have chosen. I know it’s a lot of hard work, but the “simple-ness” is very appealing.
    Have missed your wonderful writings!

  3. Kathleen says: “What an amazing life you have chosen. I know it’s a lot of hard work, but the “simple-ness” is very appealing.”

    I second that!

  4. Lizzy says:

    Thank you for the lovely, lovely photos. I hope it was a relaxing day and will see you through the rest of the apples.

  5. Mary Alice says:

    Wow. Just beautiful. Good luck with the rest of the sorting.

  6. Gigi says:

    What lovely photos! I used to go walking in the Queyras and I remember seeing hundreds of sheep on the slopes of the mountains, looking exactly like white ants.

  7. Heidi says:

    Beautiful pix. Especially the first one.
    How cold will it get there during the winter months?

  8. Tut-tut – the sheep are stamped with each breeder’s logo or initials so that they can be separated into flocks easily.
    As concerns the herding routes – I haven’t heard anything about that here.

  9. Amazing! So similar to what my family does…except it’s not in California…and it’s not cattle…. :o) Thank you for sharing.

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