We already had sheep on the farm which would occupy the barn over Winter so we needed to find another solution for our Viking sheep.  Mixing herds aren't a good idea as it can spread disease and since our small Viking herd is so young we didn't want to risk them with the Norwegian White.  We racked our brains trying to think of a shelter that wouldn't impact on the environment but was Winter hardy.  We wanted it to be cheap but good quality, of course.  And we needed something that could be put up easy as it was November and the snow had already fallen.  Our solution - a lavvu!  (Or 'lavvo'.) A lavvu is a cone shaped tent and a traditional Sami shelter.  The canvas used to be made of reindeer skins which were held up by series of tree logs.  Today you can buy ready made cotton canvases.  All that is needed are tree logs (some lavvus come with steel poles these days).  Since we have plenty of trees, we have plenty of logs. We needed to choose trees that were no more than 10cm diametre but consistant in size from top to bottom.  (We didn't want the logs too heavy because of weight as we were saving the environment and dragging them instead of using the tractor.)  I chose the trees that, if missing, their space would be ergonomic to our landscape - in another life I once was training to be a park ranger and learnt track and bush landscaping. The trees were stripped and dragged to the sheep paddock.  The light was fading fast so we saved the rest for the next day. Bear, our Saint Bernard, had the right idea.  November was a cold month averaging -16C temps.  It was much nicer to rest your butt on a tent canvas than the snow. For the lavvu we needed three larger structure poles.  When they were walked up and seperated the other canvas poles were placed over them. The canvas works by gravity.  It is tied to one pole and wrapped around.  When gravity pulls it down the canvus sits tight over the logs, basically holding the structure together. The door can be closed but as we wanted our sheep to be able to wander in and out at their own leisure we tied it back.  We scattered hay for bedding inside and made a snow hump at the door so the hay wouldn't get out.  We don't need to clean out the hay, we just add more and more for the sheep, creating 'compact bedding'.  This will be good stuff for when the Summer arrives and in the meantime the compact bedding will help the lavvu to be warmer. The lavvu is about 5m diametre, a little large for just 6 sheep but farmers always plan for future generations.  When we have 20 sheep the lavvu will get nice and toasty inside.  Even though it has been so cold lately, sometimes -25C, the sheep have been very happy with just the lavvu.  You can really feel the difference when you walk inside.  I am very impressed. I think we have stumbled upon a brilliant idea.  The lavvu maker was delightfully surprised with what we were going to be using his lavvu for.  It has so far proven itself to be an ideal sustainable shelter.  Even in the coldest temps and snow fall it keeps our sheep happy.  In Summer we get to take it down, use the bedding for fertilizer and then put it up again wherever it suits us. 

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