Skip to main content

Sheep on the Road

We moved about 140 lambs to another property just down the road in Auburn yesterday. To move them, we had two options: we could take 4-5 trailer loads of lambs at 2 miles per round trip, or we could walk them through one of our pastures at Thompson Ranch, onto Mt. Vernon Road, and into the new pasture (a walk of about 1 mile). We opted for walking them.

Surprisingly, the county road department was easy to work with - it turns out that there is currently no restriction on driving livestock on a county road provided they don't stray onto adjacent properties. Since we only had to use about 100 yards of Mt. Vernon Road, we didn't think we'd impact traffic too severely.

Our interns, Julie and Courtney, stopped traffic as we came onto the road. By the time we reached the road, Taff (our border collie) was pretty tired, but he gamely kept the sheep moving (along with Roger Ingram, our friend and local farm advisor). The sheep were on the road for less than two minutes.

The response of drivers who had to wait (or chose not to) was typical of the changes to our once-rural community. Several drivers were very patient, and one woman even got out of her car to help us turn the sheep into the lane. When I thanked her, she said, "I wouldn't miss this for the world!" On the other hand, several drivers decided they couldn't wait and whipped around Courtney to continue on their way. Fortunately, they didn't endanger our animals or themselves with their impatience.

My friend Bob Wiswell, whose family has raised sheep and cattle in Lincoln for several generations, tells stories about walking sheep from the home ranch up to a Forest Service grazing allotment beyond Foresthill - a walk of several days. While those days are lost to "progress," we enjoyed getting a small taste yesterday. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos to share - we were all to busy to snap pictures!

Comments

  1. Dan,Sami and girls....thanks for the emails and updates...wish I were closer to see you; but happy to hear the progress you're making. -Holly

    ReplyDelete
  2. Darn, I am sorry to have missed this.
    Jason

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Trade Offs

As we were building fence for the soon-to-be-lambing ewes this morning, someone drove by and asked my partner Roger how long it took to set up the electro-net fencing we use for the sheep. Roger replied, "It's not too bad," to which the driver said, "Seems like a lot of work." Roger's answer - which both of us use with some frequency, was, "Yeah - but this way we don't have to feed any hay!" The driver, who obviously wasn't a rancher, didn't understand - and I suspect even some of my rancher friends don't understand the trade off we're making. Building electric fence is a lot of work - wouldn't it be easier just to feed hay?

The paddock that Roger and I built this morning encloses about 5.75 acres of high quality forage. Since the ewes are on the verge of lambing, their forage demand is peaking. They're eating nearly twice as much grass now as they need in the late summer - after all, many of them eating for three (and p…

No Easy Answers Part 2

In mid October, some friends who graze their cattle in the mountains of western Lassen County (less than 200 miles from our home), became the first ranchers to have cattle “officially” killed by wolves in California in nearly a century. Wildlife officials confirmed that the Lassen pack killed a 600-pound heifer; four more heifers died (and were partially eaten by wolves), but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) couldn’t confirm the cause of death. While I learned about the depredations shortly after they happened through the rancher grapevine, news of my friends’ losses weren’t made public until the California Cattlemen’s Association and California Farm Bureau Federation issued a joint press release this week. The October 28 edition of the Sacramento Bee ran the story.
If you’ve read my previous blogs about wolves, you’ll probably know that I’ve frequently been frustrated with the Bee’s coverage. The paper has run guest opinions disguised as news articles, and appar…

Humbled and Excited

More than 20 years ago, I went to work for the California Cattlemen's Association (CCA). After two internships, I'd been hired by my friend and mentor John Braly as the membership director in 1992. By 1996, I'd been promoted to assistant vice president - pretty heady stuff for a young guy who hadn't grown up in the industry. I started looking for new challenges. Dr. Jim Oltjen, who was (and is) the beef extension specialist at UC Davis (my undergraduate alma mater) suggested that I think about going to graduate school to prepare for a career in extension. I considered it, but the timing wasn't right.

Fast forward to 2013 (or so) - I'd been working as a part-time community education specialist in our local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) office for several years. The farm advisors in the office - Roger Ingram and Cindy Fake - suggested that I consider getting a master's degree and applying for a future farm advisor job. This time the id…