Walking on Water

An astonishing proportion of the property, even at elevation, is under an inch or so of water.  I can report the sheep have gotten much better (or more resigned) to walking on water than they were before the big rains.  On the other hand, my hiking boots have developed a leak, so I'm less happy about it.  Today's circuit was not a deliberate attempt to sample all the wettest bits, but we seemed to hit more than our share.  The forecast for tomorrow, my usual full-day for shepherding, is showers, windy and cold, so I took advantage of today's beautiful weather to do the circuit.  The day started with a -2C (30F) white frost, and although there was a chilly NE breeze all day, it was offset by lovely, nearly warm sunshine.  The sheep were settled on a ridge in the Grass Gully, where it looked as though they spent last night.  Many were resting, but an equal number were grazing desultorily into the wind.  They moved off readily into the corner where the rank cocksfoot has kept us occupied for many grazing circuit hours, then stalled.  Having put the dogs on "hold" I walked to the front of the flock to see if they would follow, and found the reason for their reluctance--a gentle flow of surface water all through the track we normally take.  While I was expecting the streams and waterholes to be full to overflowing, this generalised watery surface is a surprise.  To be fair, this is the first major rain episode we've had since I started shepherding, and you certainly notice these things more when you are slogging through them.  Or not, now that I think of it--I've been bogged enough times that I'm very, very cautious about driving across ground that splashes.  I guess I just didn't realise how much ground is still splashing at the moment!  Once we worked our way out of that wet area, I started them across the Basin, to find the same thing--walking on water yet again.  The hill down into Old Cabin is okay, through muddy, but much of Old Cabin is also under water.  It didn't stop them from having a great feed on the new growth to the north of the main stream.  I don't think they had crossed that stream since I put them in the Basin GA a week or so ago, so the grass there would be 6-8 weeks without grazing: lovely and fresh.  We finished up with a trip up into Waterfall Gully, which they also really enjoyed.  The waterfall is still flowing, though it's not the torrent it was just after the big rain storm in early June.  

July 17, 2016
July 17, 2016
P1: My little native cushion plants with white frost icing. These are wet alpine plants, so they’ve been quite happy with this winter’s weather!

P1: My little native cushion plants with white frost icing. These are wet alpine plants, so they’ve been quite happy with this winter’s weather!

P2: Janie ready to go, with Joker in the background. The sun is just coming up, and I’m still having my breakfast.

P2: Janie ready to go, with Joker in the background. The sun is just coming up, and I’m still having my breakfast.

P3: In the (wet) rank cocksfoot.

P3: In the (wet) rank cocksfoot.

P4: Elf looking adorably cute and shy.

P4: Elf looking adorably cute and shy.

P5: The view down into Old Cabin. You can start to get a feel for just how wet the the landscape is.

P5: The view down into Old Cabin. You can start to get a feel for just how wet the the landscape is.

P6: Honestly, what is it about this particular log? They cannot go past it without 3 or 4 hopping up to play “king of the mountain”.

P6: Honestly, what is it about this particular log? They cannot go past it without 3 or 4 hopping up to play “king of the mountain”.

P7: The dogs and I were hunkered down behind these cutting sags having lunch more or less out of the wind. The sheep just to the other side were quite curious about us–they stood there watching for several minutes before moving off.

P7: The dogs and I were hunkered down behind these cutting sags having lunch more or less out of the wind. The sheep just to the other side were quite curious about us–they stood there watching for several minutes before moving off.

P8: Having lunch in the foundations of the Old Cabin. The sheep seem to know that lunch is “king’s x” time: the dogs lie down near me, I sit down and get quiet and still, and they will often graze up very close. In case you’re wondering, I have my rain jacket sleeves over my legs and feet, to keep my toes warm while I rest them from being in my boots. And lunch was a waffle sandwich ;-)

P8: Having lunch in the foundations of the Old Cabin. The sheep seem to know that lunch is “king’s x” time: the dogs lie down near me, I sit down and get quiet and still, and they will often graze up very close. In case you’re wondering, I have my rain jacket sleeves over my legs and feet, to keep my toes warm while I rest them from being in my boots. And lunch was a waffle sandwich ;-)

P9: The lunchtime setup, with Janie looking adorably cute. The sags did a good job of keeping the wind at bay, and I did have a tiny little nap in the sun.

P9: The lunchtime setup, with Janie looking adorably cute. The sags did a good job of keeping the wind at bay, and I did have a tiny little nap in the sun.

P10: Jumping the creek below the waterfall.

P10: Jumping the creek below the waterfall.

P11: The creek just above the waterfall.

P11: The creek just above the waterfall.