I love a white frost. It transforms everyday small beauties into things magical. A fence line becomes the frame for a tapestry of abandoned cobwebs. Old Man Willow no longer looks sad, but rather regal in his hoarfrost coat. To add to the frosty beauty of the morning, my pair of swans (well, I like to think they are the ones who've nested on Swan Lake before) were visiting Old Man Willow's water hole. As a prosaic farmer, I'd say "Bother the frost!" because it heralds the end of grass growing season, but the poet in me rejoices.
Now, back to the more prosaic. It's the morning after choir practice, so a slow start. If I really get out of the house by 10 it will be a wonder. But there is no hurry today, no noon deadline, and I suspect the sheep slept in, too, waiting for the sun to warm their camp. We'll be moving from the Basin Grazing Area, via a tour around Old Cabin and the Lucerne. Sometimes I think about what it would be like being tour guide to 1000, or even 500, humans. Unimaginable that they would be as manageable as my flock. It makes me appreciate the cohesive social structure of a group that is composed of relatives (who all apparently like each other!) and also makes me appreciate how much time and work--2 and ½ years, comprising something like 365 days of me, on foot, learning from and teaching my sheep. It looks pretty easy now, but it was not always thus! I recently came across a voice memo I recorded 18 months or so ago, while I was still on the hill, after a particularly horrible attempt to get the flock to go PRECISELY where I wanted them. It wasn't exactly despairing, but it was certainly admonitory--don't do this again: it was not pleasant for any of the participants. Getting to the stage where I can let go of whatever idea I have in my head, in deference to the better wisdom of the flock, has made the experience hugely more enjoyable. I've added a couple of shots from Monday's circuit, of baby trees growing up in the gorse "nursery" shelter, out in the Back Gully Reserve.
END OF DAY NOTES: I had a blast today! The weather was so much kinder than Monday, and the sheep and I just seemed to relax into the day. At one point (V3) the whole flock was clustered about me, just chatting. It put me in mind of a gaggle of schoolgirls (including me) getting together to talk about all the juicy gossip and world-shaking events that have transpired since we last saw each other 2 days ago! Because I was consciously choosing not to hurry, I let myself chase the flame robins (never got close enough for a shot, but loved listening to their conversations, which are fast-paced and slightly racy), and just stand around visiting with my sheep. It was a lovely, lovely day, full of small pleasures.
Video V1 above.
Asking the dogs to go"away to me" (anti clockwise) to encourage the sheep through the gate. I use the Scottish whistle and command system I learned in my trailing years in the US. Elf has me by the pack strap. Time to move. The dogs took the "lie down" whistle and are patiently waiting for laggards to come through the gate so my special kids are all clustered around me. Alternately grazing my shoelaces ( Leo just completely undid my boot laces which were double-tied!)
Video V2 above.
Video V3 above.
Video V4 above. Hard to see in this clip, but I caught 3 sheep on the same log last time we came through this stretch. Same sheep?
Video V5 above.
Video V6 above
Video V7 above.
Video V8 above.