Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Graze With Sheep and Goats

A few photos from an evening visit with Stuart and the band of sheep and goats who are grazing a community pasture (public land) with a leafy spurge problem.  
The animals are shepherded by day and night penned at night.  Approximately 1600 animals, mainly goats.  Three stock dogs and three guardian dogs. 

Upon my arrival at the gate, this girl comes forward to find out who I am.



I appreciated the opportunity to partake in an evening of shepherding and take photos.  The group never stopped moving, Stuart explained this was mainly on account of the goats who are far less inclined to lay down when there is eating to be done.  One of guardians dog was pretty elusive, staying in the bunch and not caring to be seen or photographed.  I do manage to get near her toward the end of the evening, although she never approaches, just stays near her herd. 

The young seven month, on the other hand, had no reservations about inspecting me and the camera very thoroughly, on several occasions.  


Gosh this job would be so much extra work without the help of a few good stock dogs. The border collie is a trained dog, becoming well versed in large flock work.  The Kelpie is a young up and comer, recently arrived on the scene. 



At home, I drive out to a pasture, check on my animals and if all things are well, continue on with other projects for the day.  Rinse and repeat in the evening, making adjustments as we go.  It’s busy and it’s full and there are unexpected events that derail plans all the time. Stuart is out with this group all day, grazing and shepherding them, rain or shine, wind or dust and bugs, tired or rested.  Alone with his dogs - each day, all day.  There are no secure perimeter fences to contain the animals, no knowing where they will be if you leave them for awhile.  

The visit and the scene on this evening is certainly a peaceful one, yet the reality felt out here, is that peace takes effort and wears thin after weeks of your own company, facing whatever successes and frustrations the day brings.  

At the visits end; Stuart is night penning the group, another day well done.  Yes, it is a lot of animals.  The blur is dust hanging in the air on a calm evening.





5 comments:

  1. Beautiful dogs...beautiful scenes. I'm curious how much land this mob grazes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a large piece of land, I'd have to ask just what the acreage is.

      Delete
  2. Now that is a real example of mob grazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I LOVE the picture of honey-colored Tanner in Crooked Fences!! Here in Upstate NY, we so lucked out with great haying weather for first cutting in June. I wish you would get the weather you need for haying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is such a handsome dog, it melts my heart. He has a lovely temperament too. Fingers crossed for a stretch of sunny, drying weather.

      Delete