Five generations of shepherds

Sometimes I bring the sheep back to the barn, but most days I just leave it to the expert.

He somehow manages to send the dogs half-way up a mountain and then have them bring the sheep down at a trot. The only thing that moves is his mouth.

I, on the other hand, need to trudge up to within 10 yards of the ewes before I get their attention (the dogs just tend to stroll up with me enjoying the view).

I like to think that he has an easier time of it because he can shout louder than I can.

But then again it’s probably genetically ingrained. He can count on the experience of five generations of sheep breeders.

Whereas my family tree shows that my ancestors were already living in London in the 17th century.

What hope have I got?!

Posted in Counting Sheep, Farming, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Morning cereal

There’s not many days that I get up at 7 am on a Sunday morning, but this was the exception.

Once the combine has finished harvesting the cereals, the straw that is left is baled and stored for the winter. Baling is very time-critical, or so I’m told.

Bale too early in the morning and the straw will still be damp with dew.  This is to be avoided if you don’t want to finish up with a barn full of steaming, rotting bales.

Bale too late and the straw will be so dry that all the nutritious bits will simply drop onto the ground leaving nothing but the stalks. Not really recommended considering that we use it to feed the sheep from time to time.

Hence my early start. And as you can see, I only just got there in time. Lucky the farmer has less difficulty getting out of bed than I do!

Posted in Farming, the Alps | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The problem with hiking

I love hiking, but when we go walking in the mountains it’s usually a fairly solitary experience. The day I managed to get this shot of my husband, I was quite pleased with myself. I don’t usually manage to get that close.

It’s not that I’m particularly slow, but I just never seem to catch up. I’ve got hundreds of photos of his rucksack.

A few thousand of him already half-way down to the valley.

And probably a million where he’s nothing more than a speck on the horizon.

And no, before you ask. He hasn’t managed to lose me yet!

Posted in Family Stuff, the Alps | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Harvest time (at last)

The wet and cold weather we had throughout the spring meant that all our crops were late this year. But all that water is certainly paying off now.

My husband dusted off the communal combine harvester yesterday and started on the oats.  Surprisingly, it looks like we’re going to have a record year.

We’re having to look for solutions to stock the surplus.

And that certainly makes a nice change!

Posted in Farming, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments