Lucerne Reserve, full day circuit

I love my full-day circuits.  I think it's because the length of time, with only the animals and the landscape around me, lets me enter a different part of myself.  It's restful and timeless, in the sense of no deadlines other than organic ones, like hunger or fatigue.  I hear and see so much:  birdsong, wind in the she-oaks, the sound of an eagle's wings as he lands in a tree near me, the chatter of a fairy wren family, the sound of sheep eating.  And resting on the earth at mid-day is especially wonderful--an elemental connection, even when it's a bit lumpy.  It's as though the earth is accepting my presence in the larger family of living things. The weather forecast for tomorrow is for more cold, windy rain, so I decided to do my usual Monday full-day circuit today, instead.  There was a chilly NE wind all day, but otherwise the weather was quite reasonable.  The sheep had stayed in Old Cabin overnight after yesterday's circuit, which I was banking on when I hiked up the lucerne to find them.  We came directly out into the lucerne, and grazed the northern end--interestingly, they went into the wind, then back-tracked, then into the wind again.  There was a small group that only went partway on the first leg, then dug in their heels and refused to continue with the flock.  (I'm pretty sure I have IDs on these girls--they are the "difficult ones" often at the back of the flock).  Eventually, the leading edge turned back to the laggards, and they all went back together.  With a bit of help from the shepherd and her dogs, we got them going back into the wind again.  From there, I took them up into the top of the Lucerne Reserve, the part that has native pasture, and once there, they actually settled down and had a proper mid-day rest--from about noon until about 2.  I'm still trying to understand the wherefores and whens about rumination and rest.  Were they just nicely filled up by the good feed in Old Cabin, followed by an extended lucerne chaser?  Was it a bit warmer than previous days when they never stopped at all?  Did they just like the spot I picked for them?  Don't know.  From there, we grazed back the way we'd come, down into the lucerne.  One more enthusiastic trip through the lucerne, then back into Old Cabin, about 2:30.  They were still there at 4 when I ran the dogs, spread out across the northern side and grazing.  While the middle parts of the Basin Grazing Area are getting a bit shopworn, either end is still quite good.  I'd like to get one more trip to the Back Gully Reserve, then I think I'll shut them out of the western half of the GA, and get a few more bites at Old Cabin, with the Lucerne Reserve for diversity.  Then it's over to the Racecourse Grazing Area, which is growing quite nicely with the rain and rest from grazing.

May 22, 2016
May 22, 2016
 P1: Heading into the lucerne

P1: Heading into the lucerne

 P2: Grazing the older lucerne stalks as well as the new basal regrowth and the fresh grass.

P2: Grazing the older lucerne stalks as well as the new basal regrowth and the fresh grass.

 P3: After a couple of hours on lucerne, the native grass on the hill was apparently quite delectable--they took their time grazing up into the top of the Reserve.

P3: After a couple of hours on lucerne, the native grass on the hill was apparently quite delectable--they took their time grazing up into the top of the Reserve.

 P4: A favourite briar rose in the gully near the top of the Reserve

P4: A favourite briar rose in the gully near the top of the Reserve

 P5: The dogs and I had a cute little visitor when we settled down for lunch--a fairy wren--either a female or a juvenile male. I missed the shot with three of them in it.

P5: The dogs and I had a cute little visitor when we settled down for lunch--a fairy wren--either a female or a juvenile male. I missed the shot with three of them in it.

 P6: And while we were waiting for the sheep to finish their mid-day rest, this gorgeous wedge-tailed eagle flew over to land on his totem pole.

P6: And while we were waiting for the sheep to finish their mid-day rest, this gorgeous wedge-tailed eagle flew over to land on his totem pole.

 P7: First downbeat taking off from the totem several minutes later.

P7: First downbeat taking off from the totem several minutes later.

 P8: Horatio and pals checking us out as we snuck up the hill behind them to start them back down to the lucerne

P8: Horatio and pals checking us out as we snuck up the hill behind them to start them back down to the lucerne

 P9: One of my old pets, Annie, in the long grass at the western end of the top of the Reserve. They were really enjoying it!

P9: One of my old pets, Annie, in the long grass at the western end of the top of the Reserve. They were really enjoying it!

 P10: The last time through the lucerne before heading back into Old Cabin.

P10: The last time through the lucerne before heading back into Old Cabin.