Into the Racecourse Grazing Area

It's been a month in the Basin Grazing Area, so time to make a move.  There was a domino effect, starting a couple of weeks ago when my fencing contractors demolished the old fence along the highway in the rams' paddock.  I shifted the rams onto the Racecourse, into the triangular paddock I call the "Stud Paddock"--a legacy of the years I bred my own rams from a small flock of high quality ewes known as studs (yes, it confused me at first, too--how can girls be studs??)  I no longer breed my own rams, I buy them from the same breeder who supplied my first flock, Glen Stuart (Allan and Carol Phillips) in Evandale, northern Tasmania.  And because this is the third year I haven't lambed, due to feed scarcity, I haven't needed to buy any rams anyway.  So my nine rams are living the life of Riley, and are so complacent that just moving them slowly out of the Racecourse this morning had them puffing and panting.  But back to the domino effect.  I have a two-fence policy about keeping ewes and rams separate, so there is always at least one full paddock between the two.  As a result, the rams had to come out of the Racecourse, but the highway fence is still under repair.  So the rams are having the pleasure of a sojourn in the Lucerne Reserve while the flock is in the Racecourse.

The ewes were in the Grass Gully, the middle paddock of the Basin GA, and quite content to follow me out the gate into Nan's Paddock (so named by my now-retired stockman Davey because it was my favourite paddock when I first bought the farm).  Once into Nan's, though, they were in no hurry at all to come down the hill.  I let them graze up top for about an hour, then started getting serious about finishing the move about noon.  They did ok till they got into the laneway where the January burn had decimated an old stand of cutting saggs (lomandra longifolia).  The flock got quite excited about the new growth on the saggs, which they usually spurn, so forward progress stalled for a while longer while they had their fill.  The fencing contractors were working at the bottom of the laneway, just beyond where I wanted the sheep to turn into the Racecourse GA, and the flock were intrigued and wary about the strangers dead ahead.  It took a bit of pushing to get them on around the corner and into the open gate.

Saturday and Sunday I won't be shepherding, as I'm one of the organisers of a fun event in Oatlands.  A team of 12 bullocks (oxen) will be pulling a vintage wool wagon loaded with bales from local woolgrowers (including one from White Gum Wool, of course!) down the main street of town, both days.  There will be a display of carts and harness both days, and an auction of horse-and bullock-drawn carts and paraphernalia on Saturday afternoon at 2pm.  In addition to the bullocks, there will be working displays of all sorts of heritage crafts, including spinning, at various venues.  Any of you who are within cooee of Oatlands would be most welcome!  I'll post some photos on Instagram and Facebook during the weekend.

P1: Moving the sheep today. First the rams into the Lucerne Reserve, off the Racecourse GA. They are loving it!

P1: Moving the sheep today. First the rams into the Lucerne Reserve, off the Racecourse GA. They are loving it!

...and now moving the ewes. The forecast was much nicer than the day is proving to be!

A video posted by White Gum Wool (@whitegumwool) on

Video V1 above.

 

P2: Definitely eating the bark--I watched them for quite a while through my binocs. That's Prince in the front, facing the camera. He's a bit of a publicity hound.

P2: Definitely eating the bark--I watched them for quite a while through my binocs. That's Prince in the front, facing the camera. He's a bit of a publicity hound.

P3: Meet Jeff, newly named. He's been hanging out around me a lot over the last few weeks, and today I decided to come up with his name. He's a beautiful, big, handsome wether with impeccable manners and a gorgeous southern drawl (ok, ok, he would have a drawl if he could talk). I've just finished re-reading Owen Wister's novel The Virginian, who is the original cowboy heart-throb with all the characteristics I just ascribed to Jeff. While "The Virginian" is a bit of a mouthful for a sheep moniker, there is one place in the book where it comes out that The Virginian's erstwhile best friend Steve called him Jeff. So, long story, but Jeff it is.

P3: Meet Jeff, newly named. He's been hanging out around me a lot over the last few weeks, and today I decided to come up with his name. He's a beautiful, big, handsome wether with impeccable manners and a gorgeous southern drawl (ok, ok, he would have a drawl if he could talk). I've just finished re-reading Owen Wister's novel The Virginian, who is the original cowboy heart-throb with all the characteristics I just ascribed to Jeff. While "The Virginian" is a bit of a mouthful for a sheep moniker, there is one place in the book where it comes out that The Virginian's erstwhile best friend Steve called him Jeff. So, long story, but Jeff it is.

P4:  Vicki

P4:  Vicki

Into the laneway...nearly home.

A video posted by White Gum Wool (@whitegumwool) on

Video V2 above:  I somehow lost the sound on this video--they were being most enthusiastic about the cutting saggs in the burned area.

P5: I couldn't resist the look on his face--and that's cutting sagg sticking out of his mouth!

P5: I couldn't resist the look on his face--and that's cutting sagg sticking out of his mouth!