agriculture

Foothill Agrarian
Wildflowers and Rangelands – and Grazing Animals

Apr 17, 2014
Wildflowers and Rangelands – and Grazing Animals

I believe these are Blue Dicks( Dichelostemma pulchellum)I know this is a Mariposa Tulip- just not sure which one!Seep-spring Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus) - I think!Pretty sure this is a Delphinium of some sort - and I thinkit's poisonous, too. &nb...

Foothill Agrarian
A Difficult Day

Apr 14, 2014

It's been so long since I had a regular 9-to-5 office job, I'm probably out of practice when it comes to complaining about Mondays!  I hope you'll bear with me - I'm going to complain about this one!First thing this morning, I checked our ewes. &n...

Foothill Agrarian
Drought Update – April 10, 2014

Apr 9, 2014
Drought Update – April 10, 2014

Yesterday afternoon, I helped our local farm advisors, Roger Ingram and Cindy Fake, install matrix blocks in an irrigated pasture that we graze here in Auburn.  The matrix blocks allow us to track soil moisture - and to time our irrigation accordi...

Foothill Agrarian
Back to Basics – Lessons from a Fellow Former Direct Marketer

Apr 7, 2014
Back to Basics – Lessons from a Fellow Former Direct Marketer

I recently read an article by Colorado rancher Richard Parry, published in the April issue of The Stockman GrassFarmer.  Mr. Parry has been direct-marketing his grassfed lamb for a few years longer than we have - I believe he has around 700 ewes t...

Foothill Agrarian
A Three Dog Day

Apr 6, 2014
A Three Dog Day

While California's drought persists, today we were able to move our sheep back to the paddock we first grazed when we moved them back to Auburn on Valentine's Day.  This paddock has been rested since February 17 (48 days) - a longer recover period...

Foothill Agrarian
The newest additions to the flock: local rancher on this year’s lambing season

Apr 3, 2014

As we head into April, the Flying Mule Farm ewe flock is nearly done delivering this year's lambs.  Thanks to the ongoing drought, this year's lambing season has been interesting in several ways.  In this brief post, I'll try to summarize our...

Foothill Agrarian
A Million Dollar Rain? We’ll See…

Mar 26, 2014
A Million Dollar Rain? We’ll See…

A beautiful start to the day - rain!In some ways, Facebook has become a virtual coffee shop for farmers and ranchers.  Rather than gathering at the local coffee shop, many of us share news (and complaints!) on Facebook.  This morning, a frien...

Foothill Agrarian
The Importance of Stories

Mar 24, 2014

A little over a month ago, I wrote a blog post about the drought that referenced Caroline Henderson, an Oklahoma farmer who wrote "Letters from the Dust Bowl" for the Atlantic Monthly during the 1930s.  Her letters were quoted extensively in ...

Foothill Agrarian
After Work and Before Dinner

Mar 19, 2014

Having an off-farm job and taking care of lambing ewes can present time-management challenges.  Sometimes things are crazy; sometimes (like tonight) being a part-time shepherd seems to work out!After work tonight, I needed to move the sheep, which...

Foothill Agrarian
What California agriculture can learn from the Dust Bowl

Mar 16, 2014

In late January, I attended the 9th annual California Rangeland Conservation Coalition summit in Oakdale.  The Coalition, which includes ranchers, environmentalists, agency staff and academics, was formed out of recognition of our common interest in conserving California rangelands for their ecological and economic values.  This unlikely combination of folks has actually agreed that ranching...