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09 July 2017 @ 03:27 pm
Bun Me No Bun-Buns...  
We hit a heat wave again over the last five days, so instead of lazing around in the mornings I got up earlyish to bicycle outside while I still could. Friday through today were all better than last Monday, where I realized at my turning-around point that I was "done" heat-wise... but was still 8 miles from where I can even exit the bike path, and 9-10 miles from home overall. Uggggghhh.

On one of those rides last weekend, I nearly hit a bunny. I was zipping along and could hear this ruckus in the bushes off to the right, and then a rabbit chased its buddy right out in front of me. I said, "Move, move, move!" as I was braking, because while the one rabbit turned right around and went back into the bushes, the other one ran down the path right in front of me before it finally veered off. *Whew* I hit a squirrel that way, about 20 years ago. Same situation, except when it ran out in front of me I went "Eeep!" and it did too, and then I hit it. /o\ Poor thing. I've seen a few paraplegic ground squirrels out there (the suicide runs in front of bicycles are a regular thing), so if it survived, it probably wasn't for long. :(

The goats are back along the parkway, eating underbrush to reduce fire danger. Unfortunately, it looks as if they need to be better corralled in certain areas—they're eating the elderberry groves, reaching up for leaves and cracking branches off. When sheep are brought in to do the work, they're less ambitious than goats, so definitely a better choice for those areas.

Speaking of sheep, one of the places I pass going to/from the bike path has sheep on the property. They are still unshorn, and we've already had a chunk of 8-10 days over 104-degrees that ended last weekend, and a couple of days this weekend. I think these are "lawnmower" sheep and not wool sheep, so what would it hurt to shear them in early June and again in early August? And since the owners had a "Yes on Prop 8" sign years ago, well... I am still judging them.

Our 4th was great, and eventually the subject of several snacking regrets, because life. I.e., pretty much the same as every year.

How is life for all of you?

 
 
 
Murielle: Scrunchedmurielle on July 10th, 2017 01:28 am (UTC)
You'd think they would sheer the sheep for humane reasons. The wool could always donated if they have moral reasons for not sheering. And I'm sure rhere are people who will sheer without nicking or cutting the sheep. Seems mean to leave them out in the heat.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2017 07:04 am (UTC)
I wonder if they even think about the fact that it is scorching here, and the sheep are still wearing their winter coats?

I think they're kind of haphazard about it. When I wrote the story about the Raven, I did a fair amount of research on wool processing (don't ask). It said that sheep are usually shorn in the Spring, around lambing time, which would have been around April here. I think I've seen them trimmed earlier in the year, though closer to summer.

The problem in this climate is that it usually seems like they need a second pass, as it can be hot here clear through mid-late October! These animals are geared toward a four-season climate, and living farther north than the Central Valley. :O
cindytsuki_no_bara on July 10th, 2017 03:23 am (UTC)
i love that the town?county?state? is using goats to reduce fire potential. very low-tech. maybe they should borrow some of the lawnmower sheep, and shear them in payment.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Heh-Hehhalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2017 07:09 am (UTC)
It seems mutually beneficial, in that there is free grazing for the animals and it reduces the underbrush that so easily catches fire. I'm pleased they're doing it so early, too. That recent heat dried everything out, and the last couple of years the grazing has been around September, which is much too late!

Those goats were part of the inspiration for that "goatscaping" crack in the first choose-your-own-adventure story I wrote a couple of years back. You see them by the highway sometimes,too, grazing down areas that don't get mowed.

Oddly enough, apart from the *cra-a-ack* of destroying the bushes, the goats don't make a lot of noise. The sheep talk quite a bit, and then there's that odd buzzing sound that I think comes from their chewing. It's weird.

They're a little more distracting than the goats, too, because there are usually herding dogs on the bike-path side of the fence, making sure the sheep stay in and don't get any big ideas. Loose dogs make me nervous, though those ones are highly focused! The goats, OTOH, don't seem to need incentive to do what they're doing. It's getting them to back down a little from the all-out destruction that's hard.
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatrebleodswean on July 10th, 2017 06:03 pm (UTC)
Call the local animal control and report those sheep. (But not yourself running over trail critters...lol. JK!)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Heh-Hehhalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2017 06:35 pm (UTC)
I kind of wonder why the sheep don't ultimately shed on their own, like other animals? That doesn't seem like a very good survival trait!

One of our kitties (gone more than 3 years now) had quite an undercoat, and in her last few years it reached the point where if we hit a very hot or very cold phase for more than 2 days, she would start changing over her fur for the new "season." Epic shedding! That must have been exhausting for her body, too, but it had a mind of its own at that point. :O
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre: ashes and snowbleodswean on July 10th, 2017 06:40 pm (UTC)
They need to be sheared, and even meat sheep have been bred with shearing in mind. This is cruelty and you should call. One small sheep fact that most Americans don't know - sheep have long tails! We crop their tails short in the states, but they are left long abroad!

(Also, just a small sidenote...horse and ponies are not the same. ;) Ponies don't grow into horses.)

We have a malamute cross and he's triple coated and omg, the shedding! The yard becomes a sea of poofy floofy white fluffiness every spring. Right at the exact time that birds are building nests!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2017 11:51 pm (UTC)
I did not know that about ponies and horses, obviously! I thought ponies were a superset of small horses, some of which were still small at adulthood.

I was looking up the Welsh cob about a week ago, wondering what the small horse shoe in an episode of Hinterland might be and comparing cobs to Shetland ponies (this obviously was not a Shetland). Then I wound up on the Wiki page for Welsh cobs, and read down that again, this time NOT clicking on the link for "pit ponies" as I did several months ago. That link leads only to sadness. :(
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatrebleodswean on July 10th, 2017 11:55 pm (UTC)
Ponies and horses ARE from the same genus. But ponies don't grow into horses. ;)

We're all hanging around LJ....

*stiff drink*