Wool Therapy, part 1

Our Midsummer week base camp was at the Seppälä Estate in Koli National Park.

With the heat of the Summer the foliage had kind of overgrown which also meant an increased number of mosquitoes, both in-and outdoors. I’ll tell you more about my troubled relationship with the nature of East Finland some other time but suffice it to say I’m traumatized by those tiny bloodsuckers. But since I’m resourceful, I set up our tent and both hammocks indoors. Ha! Take that for stealing our good night’s sleep.

Earlier this year we had participated in a raffle to win the chance to become shepherds for a week. And as luck would have it, Heikki won! The time couldn’t have been more perfect – Midsummer week.

According to the sheep treatment diary, they’d been fairly shy in the early Summer days but three weeks worth of shepherds had paid off and they practically ran to us! Possibly because they’d come to expect treats. A sheep usually prefers rowan leaves, bread and oats. We didn’t think of bread, to be honest. We were too busy eating it ourselves. Pielispakari rye bread, try it.

Sheep treatment diary, Monday June 20th. Weather is sunny with a chance of light showers. We arrived at Seppälä Estate at around noon.

The herd was lying around but as soon as we stepped into the enclosure, they started swarming us. They also started pooping as soon as they stood up. Which means they’re fine, I guess?

There are few easy ways to monitor if a sheep’s  in good condition:

  1. They poop pellets (not logs or sludge)
  2. They do everything in sync – as a herd –  including lying down side by side. If any of them keep to themselves, there’s something wrong.
  3. They’re symmetrical instead of bulging from one side. If this was to happen, it means the sheep has overeaten.


Sheep treatment diary, Tuesday June 21st. Weather’s sunny and warm (about +20 degrees Celsius).

We gave the sheep fresh water at around 8 AM and counted them. Still eight of them. They don’t drink that much but I think it’s because of the new pasture with all the moist grass. We offered them some minerals and they ate them up pretty damn quickly. We also moved the herd closer tonight (granted, it wasn’t easy at first). Traditional herding didn’t work so well so we chose a different approach: bribing. We paid a quick visit to our neighboring Estate and they invited us to try out their smoke sauna.

Our little dog was of special interest to the herd – they gathered around him and even headbutted him a bit. He didn’t have the nerve to bark at them, so we took him inside. I’m guessing he was tired from all the traveling and having to spend the past two weeks in doggy daycare. Remember to keep your dogs and other pets on a leash in National Parks.

Sheep treatment diary, Wednesday June 22nd. Still sunny and warm!

I tried to show a scythe to the grass and hay but that’s hard work! A sweaty body attracts the bugs. We ascended Ukko-, Akka- and Paha-Koli and checked out some views.

So the foliage has taken over the Seppälä Estate. They prefer an old school way of doing things (ie. scythe). Sure it’s a sharp instrument but from two people it would take all week to do. A big thanks to modern day lawnmowers!

Stay tuned for stories from the rest of the week. We’ll come back to Koli, don’t worry! All sheep-related blog posts can be found here.


We spent Midsummer’s week of 2016 as shepherds at the Seppälä Estate in Koli National Park. Everything related to our adventures there can be found under the Shepherd’s Week tag, which is to say here.

2 thoughts on “Wool Therapy, part 1

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