Just as the last rays of sunlight slipped below the cliffs, Asher and I arrived at the block with the final trailer-load of livestock. It had been a massive day of zig-zagging across the southern Fleurieu, transporting our small flock of Wiltshire Horn sheep and alpacas from Hindmarsh Valley to the farm. Driving along Range Road in the late afternoon light, we did our best to not think of the wedge-tailed eagles picking over the lambs as some kind of omen.
We unloaded the last sheep and alpacas into a small yard we’d set up, and allowed them time to reacquaint themselves with the waiting sheep and settle in. After opening the yard, the sheep filed out, taking in a cursory mouthful of clover before dispersing over the block. I had flashbacks to school excursions as the sheep drifted off in their various cliques, sampling as they went, while the alpacas desperately tried to round them all up, trotting from ridge to ridge as they attempted to conduct a head count in the fading light.
Instantly, there’s a new dynamic to the farm. It’s no longer just us and the wild things, there’s now a flock of creatures that are much more dependent on our management and intervention to both remain healthy and to maintain the health of the landscape. They’re free to roam for the moment, but as our next round of fencing is completed over the next couple of months, we’ll begin the transition to a more managed rotational grazing structure. As for the kangaroos, they declined to comment.