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


A Shepherd’s New Year

Oct 1, 2014
A Shepherd’s New Year

We breed our ewes to lamb when the grass is coming on - we like to have the lambs start to arrive in late February.  This schedule allows us to match our greatest demand for high quality forage (when the ewes are lactating) with Mother Nature's gr...

Wearing out my Raingear

Sep 25, 2014

The work of a shepherd is hard on work clothes, I've decided.  Most of my hats are sweat- and dust-stained.  The collars of my workshirts are generally stained (if not worn through).  My jeans feature holes where the 12-volt fence batter...

Planting Trial

Sep 22, 2014
Planting Trial

Beginning on July 11, we started irrigating about 2-1/2 acres of hillside pasture in anticipation of having green grass in September (now!) for flushing the ewes (flushing is the process of putting ewes on an improving plane of nutrition just prior to ...

A Different Feeling this Fall

Sep 19, 2014
A Different Feeling this Fall

As we approach this year's autumnal equinox (next Monday), the weather is finally starting to turn a bit.  The shorter days, and the location of the sun when it clears the horizon, give the mornings a different feel.  I always look forward to...

King Fire Farmer/Rancher Fundraiser

Sep 18, 2014

As you probably know if you live in Northern California, the King Fire (which started near Pollock Pines) blew up yesterday.  The fire grew from around 18,000 acres on Tuesday night to over 70,000 acres as of this morning.  Yesterday afternoo...

Using Livestock Guardian Dogs in a Small-Scale Commercial Sheep Operation: One Ranch’s Approach

Sep 9, 2014
Using Livestock Guardian Dogs in a Small-Scale Commercial Sheep Operation: One Ranch’s Approach

Reno, an Anatolian Shepherd.IntroductionWe operate a small scale (approximately 150 ewe) commercial sheep operation in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.  We've used livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) in our operation as part of our predator protecti...

The Subtlety of Summer Drought on California Rangelands

Sep 8, 2014

With Labor Day and our local Gold Country Fair behind us, I find my thoughts turning to autumn.  This morning, I went through all of our mature ewes, checking them for udder problems and teeth problems, and de-worming any that seemed to have internal parasites.  We call this process "bagging and mouthing" - we...

Headed to the Fair

Sep 1, 2014
Headed to the Fair

As I write this on Labor Day afternoon, Sami and the girls are preparing to wash their Gold Country Fair lambs and give them one last clip.  Lara is showing a market lamb, her eighth trip to the fair since she was 9 years old.  Emma will be s...

More Thoughts on Scale and Small Farm Profitability

Aug 28, 2014
More Thoughts on Scale and Small Farm Profitability

Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post entitled "Does Small = Sustainable" in response to an article in the New York Times Sunday Review ("Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers").  The author of the original article, Bren Smith, a fa...

Heading for Reno

Aug 21, 2014
Heading for Reno


After I finish my chores tomorrow morning, I'm headed for Reno for the California Wool Growers Association annual meeting.  I always enjoy the CWGA convention - I like catching up with other sheep producers and getting a brief break from a busy summer schedule.  I also like going to...

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