It was a chilly, windy day on the hill yesterday, but a perfectly lovely winter's graze. The flock currently have the run of White Gum Wood, the Grass Gully, Eagle Tree and the Back Gully. While there is a certain amount of biodiversity in all of those paddocks, the best native ecosystems are in the adjoining reserves. Yesterday we went into the southern half of the Highway Reserve, a rocky area (hence never plowed, hence still predominantly native) with a lot of woody plants to browse as well as different grass species than are found in the "improved" paddocks.
The flock executed a nearly perfect shepherding event, working their way into the reserve with the wind on their tails (not their preferred direction--they'd much rather graze into the wind so they can smell what's ahead). The dogs and I didn't have to do much to convince them to keep heading south into the fresh, diverse forage. Once we got as far as we could go before running into the gorse patch (not unlike a briar patch!), the pull of the wind brought the flock back around to the north, and they headed back and out the gate quite peacefully, eating all the way.
The sporadic sunshine and quiet serenity of the afternoon was a wonderful experience. I need to do more of this--and not let wintery forecasts deter me. I was perfectly warm, rugged up in all my gear, and the timelessness of the activity is so soothing.