Sunday, March 1, 2009

Highs and Lows

This was a day of highs and lows. We started the day by hosting a field trip of farmers and other folks as part of the California Small Farm Conference. Despite the driving rain, we had a great discussion about pasture management, pasture lambing and marketing. Following the stop at the Doty Ravine Preserve (where we have our sheep), we went to Coffee Pot Ranch in Sheridan. While the participants toured the ranch, I cooked our lamb, Coffee Pot's pork and High Sierra Beef's meat - it was a great lunch! The tour was definitely one of the high points of the day!

The low point came in a phone call from Placer County Animal Control. We had moved the sheep to a paddock near Gladding Road. Someone had driven by and called Animal Control to complain that the sheep needed shelter and more feed. While Animal Control was very helpful, I find it frustrating that people with no knowledge of livestock production assume that they know what's best for animals. I realize that folks are well-meaning, but it's upsetting.

My friend Roger and I arrived back at the Lincoln ranch at about 2 p.m. - the sheep were fine. We decided to move them back to another paddock away from the road. The final high point came when our border collie, Taff, was able to help place the sheep back in their paddock. Ewes with lambs are the most difficult animals for a herding dog to move, but Taff did great!

I find that I'm so passionate about what I do that these emotional highs and lows are fairly common. We live in a society that's so detached from farming that most people have no concept of what I do or why I do it. On the other hand, it was wonderful to be amongst a group of people who do understand family-scale farming is all about!

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