After our wild weather (and nearly an inch of rain, calloo, callay!) I thought today I might just take the flock through the middle section of White Gum Grazing Area, the paddock I call White Gum Wood. We'll concentrate on the downhill side of the paddock, and time permitting, may poke our noses into the southwestern end of the Highway Reserve. The flock has stayed at the eastern end of White Gum Grazing Area up till now, partly because of the persistent easterly winds, and partly because the feed there is pretty good. Now I think it's time to encourage them to explore the rest of the Grazing Area. It's supposed to be a reasonable day, though chilly and breezy. After our long, warm, mild, still autumn, this abrupt return to Tasmanian early winter is a bit of a shock!
END OF THE DAY NOTES: Ahem. Well, I was right that it's time to encourage them to explore the rest of the Grazing Area--they were on it! A long hike out, but a lovely short circuit. The sheep look good--no ill effects that I could see from the wild weather. The little flystruck one is fine, and the rest looked all shiny and clean with the rain. I've decided to work the Highway Reserve differently this year. Rather than try to go from one end to the other on a circuit, I'm going to try working both ends toward the middle: a rank gully, difficult to pass through. I think over time, we'll forge a set of sheep paths through the gorse and long grass in the very bottom of the gully. The Highway Reserve is under a Vegetation Management Agreement with the state of Tasmania, limiting the times of year and the stocking rates I can have. While this has certainly benefited the native plants in the Reserve, it's let the gorse become denser than is useful. Once the VMA ends next year I will probably make more frequent short excursions into the Highway Reserve to try to reduce the gorse level through grazing. The short, once-over-lightly shepherding circuits don't have a lot of impact on the natives, but at the times of year the sheep are interested in gorse, they do seem to make some headway in pruning it back.