agriculture

Foothill Agrarian
Work in Progress

Aug 16, 2016
Work in Progress

Photo credit: Emma MaconShearing sheep is intensely physical.  When I went to sheep shearing school five years ago at the University of California's Hopland Research and Extension Center, I was surprised by how sore my legs were - I'd assumed that...

Foothill Agrarian
Hopeful Weather

Aug 5, 2016
Hopeful Weather

The last full week of July 2016 marked the longest stretch of hot weather we've had in the Sierra foothills this summer.  While we didn't get nearly as warm as some parts of California, the heat here was oppressive.  Moving irrigation and unc...

Foothill Agrarian
Adaptation and Resilience

Jul 24, 2016

I'm taking a course as part of my master's degree program at Colorado State University called "Managing for Ecosystem Sustainability."  I've enjoyed the course, which has covered topics like the carbon and nitrogen cycles and soils management. &nb...

Foothill Agrarian
Managing the Dry Season

Jul 7, 2016
Managing the Dry Season

As we enter the middle of summer in the Sierra foothills, we transition to a different phase of our annual grazing management.  Our lambs are making one last pass over our irrigated pasture, while the ewes have been moved onto un-irrigated annual ...

Foothill Agrarian
The Scariest Weekend of the Year

Jul 2, 2016

I awoke this morning to the realization that it was time for me to write my annual plea regarding fireworks and the 4th of July (see Living with Wildfire or Nervous).  As I write this post, significant portions of California are on fire ...

Foothill Agrarian
Getting Paid Once a Year

Jun 24, 2016
Getting Paid Once a Year

Several weeks ago, I posted a link on my Flying Mule Farm Facebook page to a story I wrote for a blog called Stories from the Valley (One Year to the Next), where I referenced a "bigger lamb check." When one of the regular visitors to my Facebook page ...

Foothill Agrarian
A Shepherd’s Spouse

Jun 17, 2016
A Shepherd’s Spouse

As I wrote in my previous post (Pastoral? Some Days!) I'm currently reading a wonderful book entitled Of Sheep and Men by R.B. Robertson.  In the chapter I just finished, he describes the varied responsibilities of the shepherd's wife (at lea...

Foothill Agrarian
Pastoral? Some Days!

Jun 9, 2016
Pastoral? Some Days!

At the recommendation of friend and fellow rancher Jill Hackett, I recently picked up a copy of a book entitled Of Sheep and Men by R.B. Robertson.  Written in 1957, the book is a humorous and (so far - I'm only five chapters in) accurate acc...

Foothill Agrarian
Livestock and Predators: No Easy Answers

Jun 2, 2016
Livestock and Predators: No Easy Answers

Since we've raised sheep commercially (and even when our sheep enterprise was a hobby), we've been committed to trying to live with the predators in our environment.  Over the years, we've lost just a handful of sheep - several to coyotes, at leas...

Foothill Agrarian
Livestock and Predators: No Easy Answers

Jun 2, 2016
Livestock and Predators: No Easy Answers

Since we've raised sheep commercially (and even when our sheep enterprise was a hobby), we've been committed to trying to live with the predators in our environment.  Over the years, we've lost just a handful of sheep - several to coyotes, at leas...

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