agriculture

Foothill Agrarian
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...

Foothill Agrarian
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...

Foothill Agrarian
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...

Foothill Agrarian
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...

Foothill Agrarian
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 ...

Foothill Agrarian
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 ...

Foothill Agrarian
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...

Foothill Agrarian
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...

Foothill Agrarian
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...

Foothill Agrarian
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...

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