Just before the storm

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Sheep by night

The days are already a lot shorter and now when we bring the sheep back down to the barn at 8pm it is almost dusk.

It’s very dusty, very hot and the sheep, like us want to get home as quickly as possible.

Which means scrabbling down steep slopes in the near dark, trying to stay a step ahead of a lot of impatient hooves.

1,120 to be exact!

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Rent a mountain

One of the things I love about hiking is that you never know what you’re going to see. We were expecting this view over Le Lac de Serreponçon, Europe’s second biggest artificiel lake:

But we didn’t think we’d find such an enormous flock of sheep just the other side of the mountain. We hazarded a guess that there were about two thousand.

The sheep probably belong to several farmers who have grouped their flocks together to employ a shepherd and “rent” a mountain for the summer months. This transhumance allows the sheep to graze in higher pastures whilst the farmers cut and store the hay on their fams for the winter months.

We’re lucky enough to have sufficient land behind our farm to allow the sheep to graze all summer without sending them into the higher Alps.

But our flock sure looks small in comparison!

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The hired help

Nobody loves the sheep as much as our two sheepdogs, Flossy and Elfie.

And nobody enjoys going to work as much as they do.

The highlight of their day is when the doors to the sheep barn open and the sheep tumble out, headed into pastures around the farm.

They run round them, through them and even under them and once they get there, they await orders with impatience.

As far as workers go, they’re one of a kind!

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