Into the White Gum Grazing Area via the Burn

While I'd hoped to keep the flock in the Racecourse Grazing Area for a full three weeks, it's getting pretty tired and stale.  Three weeks was a bit optimistic, especially since I didn't want to graze the big flat that was completely burned in the January fire.  So the plan is to do a very light graze-just let the sheep pick the nicest new growth and move on-through the perimeter of the burn area and then into the White Gum Grazing Area.  Should be a lovely saunter behind the flock as they caper and carry on with the new, fresh feed.  Another nice remarkably mild autumn day for Tas.  We had all of 2 mm (1/10th of an inch) of rain on Thursday--better than none at all, but still disappointing as the forecast was for more like 8 mm.  Never mind.  This is what we do.  We manage as well as we can, whatever the conditions, and we cope.  Rain just makes it easier. END OF DAY NOTES:  Well, this was a serious tactical error on three counts:  first the waterhole I thought was dry is in fact a bog, and an adventuresome sheep got well and truly stuck; secondly, I forgot about the coppicing of the burned trees--not a good idea to graze them at this tender stage; and third (which I remembered but ignored) the boundary fence is in parlous condition.  I wasn't worried about the fence, since it was just a "walk-through" and I'd be there to keep an eye on things, but of course once the sheep got bogged my attention was elsewhere.  I got out of it ok, but it pays to remember not to proceed if there is something not quite right (the fence) and to THINK about what else might go wrong.  Lovely saunter--not.  But they are on the way into the White Gum Grazing Area, which was the prime objective.  And I've got most of the mud off of me.

April 23, 2016
April 23, 2016
P1: Pickup. You can see where we're headed--the revegetation area below the highway.

P1: Pickup. You can see where we're headed--the revegetation area below the highway.

P2:  Follow me! They are looking forward to whatever it is I'm heading for.

P2:  Follow me! They are looking forward to whatever it is I'm heading for.

P3: We're taking a shortcut through the lucerne. They're eating the dry yellow bits along with the fresh new growth coming up underneath. Just a bit of scones and jam for morning tea before we get to the planned grazing for the day. Oh, and there are skylarks singing their hearts out overhead!

P3: We're taking a shortcut through the lucerne. They're eating the dry yellow bits along with the fresh new growth coming up underneath. Just a bit of scones and jam for morning tea before we get to the planned grazing for the day. Oh, and there are skylarks singing their hearts out overhead!

P4:  Horatio. Looking statesmanlike, just like an aspiring political leader.

P4:  Horatio. Looking statesmanlike, just like an aspiring political leader.

P5: Oops. Change of plan. I should have seen this coming! This is a purely run-off-filled hole, and with no run-off for months has been gradually drying up. Just not dry enough, darn it. Ironic to have muddy sheep when we're in "lowest on record" rainfall conditions...

P5: Oops. Change of plan. I should have seen this coming! This is a purely run-off-filled hole, and with no run-off for months has been gradually drying up. Just not dry enough, darn it. Ironic to have muddy sheep when we're in "lowest on record" rainfall conditions...

P6: An hour or so later, following a phone confab with my stockwoman friend Karen for the best approach to getting him out, I've got a loose roping noose over his head, and will drive my ute around to pull him out. Too firmly stuck for me to do it by hand. Plus, I nearly lost my left gum boot in the muck, trying to get closer. There I was teetering on my right foot (well down in the mud, too) and pulling up on my boot with my hands as well as trying to lift with my foot. Would have been a bit amusing to end up in the same predicament as the sheep!

P6: An hour or so later, following a phone confab with my stockwoman friend Karen for the best approach to getting him out, I've got a loose roping noose over his head, and will drive my ute around to pull him out. Too firmly stuck for me to do it by hand. Plus, I nearly lost my left gum boot in the muck, trying to get closer. There I was teetering on my right foot (well down in the mud, too) and pulling up on my boot with my hands as well as trying to lift with my foot. Would have been a bit amusing to end up in the same predicament as the sheep!

P7:  Ta-da! I was too busy getting the rope off the sheep to have time to take a photo of him free. He took off with several bounds, and, happily, away from the bog, not back into it! (Has been known to happen...)

P7:  Ta-da! I was too busy getting the rope off the sheep to have time to take a photo of him free. He took off with several bounds, and, happily, away from the bog, not back into it! (Has been known to happen...)

P8 : Try-overs. We're at the southern end of the revegetation area, and they've had a lovely graze while I was mud-wrestling their friend. Now they're resting and ruminating, and I'm going to have a cuppa.

P8 : Try-overs. We're at the southern end of the revegetation area, and they've had a lovely graze while I was mud-wrestling their friend. Now they're resting and ruminating, and I'm going to have a cuppa.

P9: Waiting for the sheep to finish ruminating and decide to move. This is Janie in a rare moment when she's not moving.

P9: Waiting for the sheep to finish ruminating and decide to move. This is Janie in a rare moment when she's not moving.

P10: Horatio following me, and way out in front of the flock. I'm being patient and letting the flock come to him without using the dogs (out of sight behind the sheep).

P10: Horatio following me, and way out in front of the flock. I'm being patient and letting the flock come to him without using the dogs (out of sight behind the sheep).

P11: There's the muddy fellow. So, all present if not entirely correct, as they say in the military. The far gate of this paddock is open to the White Gum Grazing Area, so my work here is done for the day. We'll be back Monday for a circuit in a whole new area. Stay tuned.

P11: There's the muddy fellow. So, all present if not entirely correct, as they say in the military. The far gate of this paddock is open to the White Gum Grazing Area, so my work here is done for the day. We'll be back Monday for a circuit in a whole new area. Stay tuned.