Dan Macon

A life-long resident of the Sierra foothills, I've been farming full-time for the last 5 years. We raise sheep, goats and beef cattle, and we also sustainably harvest a wide range of local forest products.

Web Site: http://flyingmule.blogspot.com

Profit and the Nature of Farming

Apr 15, 2015

Since Governor Brown announced mandatory reductions in urban water uses earlier this month,  he has repeatedly emphasized that agriculture has already taken a significant reduction in water availability.  He's also made the point that using water to grow food is different than using it to grown lawns (for a similar perspective, check out this...

Some Observations on my Dogs

Apr 5, 2015

They learn...Not only are Mo and Ernie learning to work cattle (after a lifetime spent working sheep).  They are learning the terrain at the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center.  They gave me a good demonstration of this last Thursd...

Where are Agriculture’s Sacrifices?!

Apr 3, 2015

Finally, after four years of drought, the State of California has mandated reductions in urban water use.  After Wednesday's April 1 snow survey confirmed that the Sierra snowpack is somewhere between five and eight percent of normal (does that th...

Crossing a Threshold

Mar 29, 2015

I imagine that the farmers and ranchers who lived through the Dust Bowl felt like the world (at least as they knew it) was ending.  That's the thing about drought - you don't know you're in one until it's well underway, and you don't know when it ...

Pastoral Bliss – or working my @$$ off!

Mar 29, 2015

Since I started my job at the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center in January, I've received lots of congratulatory messages.  I've also heard lots of good-natured envy - statements like, "Wow - you get to ride a horse and get paid to do ...

Stock Dog Biathalon

Mar 25, 2015
Stock Dog Biathalon

This week at the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, we've been gathering cow-calf pairs in anticipation of doing pregnancy checks this Thursday.  I also needed to move our ewes and lambs on Monday evening.  Thankfully, I had my wo...

Thoughful Stockmanship

Mar 17, 2015

One of the best novels I've ever read is Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry.  Here is one of my favorite passages - the narrator (Jayber Crow) is talking to a professor at the seminary he is about to leave:

“'You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to...

Different Year, Different Drought

Mar 10, 2015
Different Year, Different Drought

Our continued dry weather and scant snow pack make it increasingly likely that 2015 will be another drought year in my part of California.  While conservation and prudent management mean that our own irrigation district (the Nevada Irrigation Dist...

Farming Mythology

Mar 8, 2015

I'm currently teaching a course on natural resources conservation at our local community college.  Last week, we discussed sustainable agriculture.  I started with a group exercise, asking my students to describe a "factory farm" and a "susta...

Why a Lamb Becomes a Bummer (and What Happens Then)

Mar 4, 2015
Why a Lamb Becomes a Bummer (and What Happens Then)

Mo keeping track of our newest bummer lambIf you raise sheep, at some point, you'll have a lamb whose mother won't - or can't - take care of it.  Sometimes we discover a lamb in our pasture that hasn't bonded with its mother.  Sometimes we ha...

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