Lucerne Reserve, full day

In case you didn't read that far in Saturday's post, I've decided not to transmit on my full shepherding days.  This is to give me back my solitary shepherding experience, that I so love.  I will post the full days' circuits at the end of the day, and I'll continue to do the half-days in real time. After a really wild day of high winds on Sunday, I had no idea where the sheep would be, and it turned out to be a pretty good hike to find them.  This is the downside of not having them penned up at night, as the French shepherds do.  The up side is I don't have to be anywhere by a specific time in the afternoon.  I can simply walk away from the flock, once they are back in their Grazing Area (or even if they're not, if I just can't get them there by the time I need to go--I can always fix it the next day if I have to.)  There was a soft easterly breeze this morning, working in well with my desire to get the sheep back into the Lucerne Reserve, even though it was a fair distance to go.  On the way, we grazed two areas with dense grass (P2 and P4) then into the diverse top part of the Lucerne Reserve.  I thought the sheep might have a rest stop there, but no, they took themselves around the side of the hill and down into the lucerne.  From there, they grazed into the northerly (veered from easterly about this time) and well down the lucerne to the water point.  Our trio of eagles tracked us much of the way through the lucerne.  Again, I thought the sheep might rest, but no, back up the lucerne they went, but not acting quite so impressed with the forage as they did at first, so I took them back up through the gully into top part of the Reserve.  Lunch time, for me and a rest for the dogs, but not for the sheep--they grazed uphill to the southern boundary, then took themselves back to the lucerne.  A hurried finish to lunch and tea for me and the dogs, and we followed them back down.  Gave them three more opportunities to rest through the remainder of the circuit (east, then south in the lucerne, then into Old Cabin around the edges to the far corner).  Nope, no rest.  I don't remember ever doing a 6 hour circuit with no decision by the flock to stop and ruminate.  They moved well and easily all day.  I can only surmise that with each change of feed type, they got another "wind" and decided to keep going.  In fact, this is the closest I've come yet to "sequencing":  consciously providing the forage I think they need in a specific order:  short new exotic grass (pickup); longer, coarser  exotic grass with new grass in between the tussocks; native grass and forbs; lucerne; native grass and forbs; lucerne again; longer, coarser grass to finish.  The weather was nicer than forecast:  sunny, if quite windy.  I took my bivouac bag with me, but didn't need it.  I think it can stay in the cupboard until mid-winter.

May 16, 2016
May 16, 2016
 P1: Pickup, just on the southwest side of the fence. I put the dogs under the fence, and they are bringing the flock to me at the gate (so I didn't have to hop the fence myself ;-)

P1: Pickup, just on the southwest side of the fence. I put the dogs under the fence, and they are bringing the flock to me at the gate (so I didn't have to hop the fence myself ;-)

 P2: Coming down into the first stretch of dense grass. Compare this with the grass in P1.

P2: Coming down into the first stretch of dense grass. Compare this with the grass in P1.

 P3: I'm SURE this must be an Alice daughter--those horns are so distinctive!

P3: I'm SURE this must be an Alice daughter--those horns are so distinctive!

 P4: Into the second stretch of dense grass. This is the leading edge, and they are quite serious about eating!

P4: Into the second stretch of dense grass. This is the leading edge, and they are quite serious about eating!

 P5: Around the side of the hill, through the native grasses (gone to seed, and looking beautiful in the sunlight), above the lucerne.

P5: Around the side of the hill, through the native grasses (gone to seed, and looking beautiful in the sunlight), above the lucerne.

 P6: For once, I was walking along with my camera around my neck, instead of safely tucked away in its waterproof bag inside my pack.

P6: For once, I was walking along with my camera around my neck, instead of safely tucked away in its waterproof bag inside my pack.

 P7: Mama, Papa and Junior?

P7: Mama, Papa and Junior?

 P8: Our brief lunch spot. Most disconcerting to watch your charges disappear over the hill when you've just taken your shoes off and opened up the sandwich container.

P8: Our brief lunch spot. Most disconcerting to watch your charges disappear over the hill when you've just taken your shoes off and opened up the sandwich container.

 P9: In the far southeast corner of Old Cabin. They spread out here to graze quite contentedly, so we left them there. They were still on the move when I ran the dogs an hour later.

P9: In the far southeast corner of Old Cabin. They spread out here to graze quite contentedly, so we left them there. They were still on the move when I ran the dogs an hour later.