High summer pastures
Summer grazing in the high pastures
Short-distance transhumance (more often referred to as pendulation in Romanian literature) is common throughout the mountain regions of Romania. These seasonal movements of livestock to and from summer pastures enable smallholders in Moeciu de Sus to meet shortages of forage at a time when they need to dedicate their land and labour to the production of hay.
It is the responsibility of the smallholders to walk their cattle up to the specific summer pasture that they have paid to use. Livestock then remain in the care of shepherds for the summer months. The journey up to the summer pasture takes place on or around June 1st and may take a only a couple of hours or less to get to the nearest pasture but its is a full days walk to reach the highest pasture on the plateau of the Bucegi mountains.
In contrast, if smallholders raise sheep these are collected from the smallholding to be herded en masse to graze in the lowlands between April and June at which point they too are moved to the summer pastures. Smallholders using pastures in the lowlands need to arrange transportation for their cattle. This option is sometimes preferred for heifers to give them a better start as weather conditions at the mountain pastures can be inclement even during the summer.
The cattle remain at the summer pastures until October 1st or thereabouts before being driven as herd back to the centre of the village where they are collected by their owners. Sheep are taken to the lowlands to graze arable stubbles and fallow land until the onset of snow at which point they are moved back to the village and join the cattle in the hay barns of their owners.