We had something a bit out of the ordinary happen this morning. We woke early, and when Aries went out to bring in the newspaper he noticed a big cloud of dust rising up out of the canyon above the house. Since there was no wind, no sound of off-road vehicles or dirt motorcycles, and it was a beautiful blue-sky morning, that seemed a bit odd. In just a couple more minutes, a flock of sheep rounded the corner where our road turns to go up the canyon. As they came south down the road towards our house, Aries came in to tell me. We went out behind the garage to watch the show. When the flock reached the corner north of our lot, they stopped and were turned to head east.
The sheep didn't want to go east, so for a while there was quite a bit of milling about - no sheep wanted to be the one in front (literally - they all wanted to follow like sheep). With maybe a dozen people and at least three dogs circling around, eventually the flock turned the corner and started down the hill along our north fence line. Since it was early on a Sunday morning, there wasn't much traffic on the highway below as the flock crossed at the stoplight and continued across the valley. How nice that they even had a street sweeper there to follow behind once the flock hit the paved streets below. I'm not sure if they were just being moved to a summer pasture closer to the river, or if they're intended somewhere for fire-fuel suppression duty. Around here, grazing sheep are a very cost-effective and low-impact way to thin the brush and eliminate the highly flammable cheatgrass in the open spaces around our town. Nice to know they'd been "working" in the canyon above us.