Fall round-up on the islands, the event that for me marks the end of the growing season, and the final chore to get done before hunkering down for winter. This year a gray, but thankfully warm and calm day makes the task a bit easier.
Round-up in the fall is quite different from spring round-up. It is deliciously quiet. The lambs are bigger, the ewes calmer, so there is less of the frantic baaing, just the occasional 'those people are here again' baa. And the sea gulls are gone taking with them their constant cacophony of complaining.
The lambs are almost as big as the ewes now, making for a very full coral. Our task is to sort out the 'long tails' (the buck lambs) and check all the ewes to make sure they are healthy. The buck lambs will be taken off the island for market and we will take a head count of the remaining ewes to ensure the proper balance of island pasture to sheep grazing.
Day two of fall round-up is warm, calm, and sunny. The kind of island day that begs for lingering. Today's task is to retrieve the rams from their summer island and bring them to the mainland until they are needed for breeding.
It's no small feat to wrestle two large rams into a boat while trying to stay clear of the rocks. Thankfully the seas were calm.
Mainland bound with a boat load of sheep. Amazingly these wild sheep are very clam and quite content to go for a boat ride.
The lobsterman are busy this time of year bringing in their traps so sometimes there is a bit of waiting and working around traps to unloaded sheep at the wharf.
And just in case you were thinking this was an idyllic and glamorous chore, someone does have to swab the deck at the end of the day.
This is always a bitter sweet moment for me. End of the season and a long winter ahead before lambing comes round again. But I have a mill full of wool to keep me occupied while I dream of spring.