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


Flying Mule Sheep Company

May 24, 2015
Flying Mule Sheep Company

Because of drought and related factors, Flying Mule Farm is transforming its commercial sheep operation to a small-scale demonstration flock.  Our new entity, Flying Mule Sheep Company, will focus on public and sheep producer education and the dem...

Technology vs. Biology

May 17, 2015

Last month, I was invited to speak about our approach to protecting our sheep from predators at the Central Coast Rangeland Coalition spring meeting near Carmel.  The entire workshop was devoted to examining non-lethal approaches to protecting dom...

Playing a Kid’s Game

May 10, 2015
Playing a Kid’s Game

As an extremely middle-aged but lifelong baseball fan, I no longer think of professional ballplayers as heroes.  As the late Jim Murray wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "If you think baseball isn't a business, then General Motors is a sport." &nbsp...

Embracing Complexity

May 3, 2015

In California’s ongoing conversation about drought, we seem to look for simple answers to an incredibly complicated problem.  Lauren Michele’s piece (“Why knock almonds? Alfalfa uses more water) in the April 26, 2015 edition of California Forum is no exception – “Californians need to lay off the cheeseburgers, and the media needs to lay...

From Anxiety to Resignation

Apr 25, 2015
From Anxiety to Resignation

Last night, we measured 1.15 inches of rain in Auburn.  The Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center (where I take care of cattle and pastures) picked up 0.71" of rain.  While the precipitation is a welcome break in our warmer-than-norma...

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 ...

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