Warm day

It was warm yesterday, warmer (nearly 100°F) today, and the animals have been feeling the heat. At the moment we have young meat chickens, turkeys, ducks, and a single gosling on pasture. Even though they all have access to shade and to an ample supply of water they all still pant occasionally (which is one of their normal mechanisms for increasing the rate of heat exchange). The sheep are smart about keeping cool. In the mornings they rest in shade near the barn (in the south-east) and as the sun migrates across the sky so to do members of the flock, by mid-afternoon every last animal can be found in shade which now abounds in the far (north-west) pasture. The hogs are uncomfortable as well and are dealing with the heat as hogs will – they spend the day jostling for a spot in the voluminous wallow they have constructed. In addition to topping off their 55 gallon supply of drinking water, on these hot days I also add 20 gallons of cool water to their wallow (and boy … do they like that … if pigs could smile …). Although the river mists did not make it all the way up the hill this morning there was enough moisture in the air and in the soil to create a very localized mist which stayed low to the ground. Moments before the sun rose above treeline, shafts of light penetrated the woodlot and sliced through the nearly stationary mist. This occurrence was fleeting.

10 thoughts on “Warm day

  1. Oh my! Lovely image, you must be pleased. And I think pigs DO smile 🙂 Excellent work describing the various methods the animals have of coping with the extreme temperatures. I enjoy helping my critters find a place to stay cool and fly-free because it serves as a distraction for me, too! So darn warm. And those sheep, yes they manage alright, don’t they? You’d think with all of that wool, they wouldn’t be able to function. But they’re smart about how they move during the day and in actuality, I feel that their temps stay quite cool for the wool. Comparing the surface of my dogs’ coats and their wooly coats, there’s about a 10 degree difference. Beautiful descriptive writing – you capture the situations exquisitely.

    By the way, have you read “Goat Song” by Brad Kessler? I so enjoy your writing style and it has a similar feel to Brad’s, which captivates me.

    • Thank you Tammy for all of the supportive reflection – it is very much appreciated and encouraging!

      The one significant difficulty (relating to warm weather) we have had with Shetlands over the last few years is maggots! Yup – you read right. We usually shear by the end of the month of May. When it is wet however – and then turns hot and humid – we have some difficulty with maggot infestations. This usually affects the castrated males (at the castration site – we band castrate) – but with ewe lambs as well, and even (on rare occasions, in adult ewes). It’s the most unfortunate thing (and most disgusting). It’s not difficult to treat – but crazy gross! So – influences of high temperatures don’t seem to be too significant (if they have shade and water), and your observations about the insulating influence of fleece are correct! Have a great day – and please do keep warm.


      PS: I forgot to ask about your bees. Ours seem to do OK in the heat. We did have a swarm the other day – but managed to catch it! One for us!

  2. I like the image. It was nice to read that it was not a digital image. I am wondering if you could not pop the trees and mist more with a little more local contrast. The slanting foreground is nice and creates interest.

    • Thanks for the comment, the recommendation, and the observation – all are very much appreciated. I know that it is tough to take time to comment critically and thoughtfully – so yours is especially valued. Thanks again and have a nice day. D

    • Hey Brad … thanks for the positive comment. I too liked the image. I’m pretty tired right now but I do look forward to tracking down your blog and checking it out. Thanks again … and have a great evening. D

    • Hey Sireselah … thanks a million for the enthusiastic comment. I liked the image as well. I’d been trying for several days and hoping for just the right conditions – today was the day! I’m pretty tired right now but I’ll be sure to drop in on your blog (or website) tomorrow. Looking forward to it. Thanks again for your support – have a great day (evening). D

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