Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall shipping

This seemingly peaceful scene is deceptive (click photos to enlarge). That's Vega, one of the Aziat females, lounging on the hillside in the foreground of the parked sheep wagons, trying to ignore what we were doing to her herd. Just outside of the photo are the portable sheep pens, filled to the brim with thousands of sheep. The sheep would be sorted, with ewes released back onto the range, and the lambs loaded on trucks for Pete's annual lamb sale. This is a herder from Nepal, keeping the sheep bunched toward the front of the pen.

Here's the overall scene, with the lambs walking up the ramp onto a semi in the right of the image.

Typical, beautiful range lamb. Its unique earmarks are Pete's registered mark.

Three sheep camps lined up together nearby, with their supply wagons.

We did the sorting and shipping on Thursday, at what is known as Ten Trees – a spot on the emigrant's trail, named for the characteristic that made it different from the miles and miles of landscape surrounding it. There are a few trees left, but not 10. As we worked, a winter storm began to threaten.

Vega's son Mikey is the lead dog in this image. He hasn't seen me for a year, and followed me around all morning, with a young dog tagging along behind.

It rained as we worked, and eventually the rain turned to snow.

This pretty young ewe stopped for a minute to watch the goings-on before rejoining her herd for grazing.

This is Mikey's mother, Vega (sister to my Aziat Rant).

Livestock protection dogs hate it when people mess with their sheep. The dog in the middle of this herd in the photo below was very upset with the situation, and stayed among her herd, sulking, the entire time.

We finished loading the lambs within a couple of hours, just as the snow was really starting to fall. By the next morning, we had six inches of snow on the ground. It's all gone from the lowlands, but the mountains are still getting dumped on, four days later.

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