Farming

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...

Foothill Agrarian
Why a Lamb Becomes a Bummer (and What Happens Then)

Mar 4, 2015
Why a Lamb Becomes a Bummer (and What Happens Then)

Mo keeping track of our newest bummer lambIf you raise sheep, at some point, you'll have a lamb whose mother won't - or can't - take care of it.  Sometimes we discover a lamb in our pasture that hasn't bonded with its mother.  Sometimes we ha...

Foothill Agrarian
Why Shepherds Worry

Mar 1, 2015
Why Shepherds Worry

Our flock of ewes started lambing last Saturday.  While I love this time of year (I've written previously that lambing season is like six weeks of Christmas), I also worry during lambing.  I try to limit my worrying to things I can do somethi...

Foothill Agrarian
A Lucky Guy

Feb 20, 2015
A Lucky Guy

I might get in trouble for posting this picture!  I wish I knew who the artist is (perhaps somebody who sees this will know).  My friend Jeannie Hodges, who is the mother of my best friend from elementary school, posted this on my Facebook ti...

Foothill Agrarian
Herding Cultures

Feb 14, 2015
Herding Cultures

While today is Saturday (a day off for most), I went in to my new job to help move 300+ heifers into fresh pasture (complete with bulls!) this morning.  Ranching, even on a university research station, is rarely a 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday job...

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