Born into Long Grass

Watching two ewes I could barely see this morning, lambing in the long grass, it dawned on me that few sheep in Australia are born into long grass.  Setting aside our mistaken conviction that sheep will only graze short grass, springtime lambing generally means the ravages of winter have left precious little length on the grass.  My past experience of spring lambing is bitterly cold wind, short, green turf and ewes lambing "in front of God and everybody".  

  This ewe looking back alerted me to the two lambing ewes.

This ewe looking back alerted me to the two lambing ewes.

This is sure different.  Today it got up to 28 C (82F), and the grass is dense and a metre (yard) high.  The wind was northerly and warm.  As I struggled to see well enough to be sure the ewes were okay, I started thinking about how the lambs were likely to view their new world, where grass stalks would seem like small trees to them!  

  You probably can't see the two greyish humps in the gully below the rock pile.  If you click on the photo, you may be able to make them out.    This is the level of challenge I'm facing, as are the new lambs!

You probably can't see the two greyish humps in the gully below the rock pile.  If you click on the photo, you may be able to make them out.  This is the level of challenge I'm facing, as are the new lambs!

And then I got worried about how hard it would be for those little newborns' legs to carry them through the long grass behind mama, and decided it would be a good idea to drift the flock into an adjacent paddock, where the grass is not as dense, over the next few days.  Well and good, except the 3 gateways between the paddocks are all blocked by...tall grass.  So I got the slasher out and cleared the long grass between the water trough and the easternmost gate, where I think they are likely to find their way into White Gum Wood.

  Sheep's eye view of the eastern gate from the Grass Gully into White Gum Wood, before mowing.

Sheep's eye view of the eastern gate from the Grass Gully into White Gum Wood, before mowing.

  ...and after mowing

...and after mowing

In retrospect, of course, I should have done this in the first place--started them in White Gum Wood and then opened up the Grass Gully as the lambs got a bit older and braver.  The underlying lesson, which I seem to keep having to re-learn, is to put myself into the experience of the animals and let that drive my decisions, rather than over-analysing the situation.  A few more years of mistakes like this may finally teach me!

  The Polaris with the little slasher behind it.

The Polaris with the little slasher behind it.