|Sheep gathering in Skidadalur, North West Iceland|
Icelandic sheep are kept under cover from November to May and set free in the mountain pastures a few weeks after lambing when they will enjoy the summer grazing on grass which will be spotted with sedge, willow, thrift and campions. Their mountain idyll will be interrupted by the roundup, in Icelandic called réttir. Everyone gets involved, as the sheep will be scattered far and wide and need to be maneuvered down steep hillsides and over mountain streams, this will take about a week with overnight stays in mountain huts. The sheep have distinctive ear markings which identify which farmer they belong to and when they are all eventually herded to their destination will be sorted into pens by these markings. Many more people will appear on the last day of the sorting to take part in the celebrations of the end of sheep gathering for the year, part of the Icelandic cultural heritage. One can imagine those early Viking settlers who brought the first sheep all those centuries ago doing the same thing.
Postcards for the Weekend theme - Domesticated Animals - enjoy more at Connections to the World