Monday, January 23, 2012

Mustering along the creek

Most of the mob of hoggets were missing from their creek paddock today. I knew they would be down in the plantation along the creek, as there aren't enough wires in that fence yet, and the shrubs and weeds in there are irresistible. Still, they were nowhere to be seen. I discovered that the boundary fence over the creek had been flattened in a flood, and there had been a lot of sheep action around there so decided they had to be along (the neighbors) creek.
They weren't hard to track. I followed the flattened grass, fresh sheep shit and the native parsley weed that they had chased all the way along, eating whole patches down to the ground. It took me longer to find them than I expected, about an hour's hike through the bush, camped under a river gum out of the hot sun. There were no other fences along the creek to stop them. They could have ended up anywhere.
I was glad I was wearing my long necked heavy boots, as I encountered a number of black snakes, sunning themselves. There were also a lot of wombat and fox dens along the creek bank, and difficult to find a foothold in long grass on steep sections. I was getting thirsty so took a drink from the creek along a bare patch after scouting for snakes. Sucked it up like a horse to avoid the floaties on top. It was fresh and clear. I filled my hat and tipped it on my head. Diddn't make me feel too great when I found an old dump of dead cattle a bit further along - downstream so that was alright.
The creek is looking good these days now that the trees have grown up well. Some nice pockets of shaddy flat spots and lagoons. There are also some 6m cliffs on the bends where floods have washed away the banks, and sections the size of a small house have disappeared, leaving fence posts hanging.
The ewes begrudgingly made their way back under the fence into their steep paddock of rank unpalatable grass. It's only a matter of time before they find their way back in there so I'm off now in the cool of the evening with a dog to muster them all together into a paddock on the hill that's had the fences strengthened already.