Another fun aspect of this project has been that other sheep-raisers are already using the hashtag, or have started since I picked it up. If you go to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and search for #sheep365, you'll see sheep from other parts of the world - pretty cool! If you raise sheep, I hope you'll start sharing photos with this hashtag, too!
Finally, I've been contemplating what it means to be a shepherd. If you haven't read The Flock by Mary Austin, you should (and I highly recommend the University of Nevada Press edition, which includes an outstanding afterword by Barney Nelson). Here's how Mary Austin defines a shepherd: "A shepherd is an owner who travels with the flock, with or without herders, overseeing and directing...." She contrasts this with an "owner or wool grower [who] sits at home...seldom seeing his flocks." While shepherd isn't a term that's used much in the U.S., I like this description - I suppose a shepherd is what I am!
At the end of each month during the duration of this project, I'll post a blog entry with my favorite photos. I'm finding that the photos aren't staying in chronological order (thank you Google) - sorry for the confusing layout! Thanks for following along!
|A sheepherder selfie (shelfie?!) while moving irrigation!|
|In early October, I took a day off from my shepherding|
responsibilities and went deer hunting - successfully, I might add!
|Wondering where the pea crisps are!|
|Kate supervised the end of irrigation season!|
|October in Placer County - grazing sheep under the persimmon trees!|
|Rosie - director of security.|
|Red sky at night - no rain in sight.|
|Love this pasture - and the sheep do, too.|
|Waiting to get started - not one of Ernie's strong suits.|
|Moving up the road to Amber Oaks Farm - easier than hauling with the trailer.|
|Integrated pest management - we get green feed, and Amber Oaks Berry farm gets|
pest control! Works well for both of us!
|Sorting our breeding groups on October 1 - with Roger Ingram.|
|Fred, our new Shropshire ram. We've put him with the mule and Shropshire|
|My second deer hunting trip in October - in the High Sierra!|
|The rams enjoy their work!|
|In the berries...|
|The ewes like dog food - and so does Reno!|
|The rams must be in good body condition going into the breeding season -|
they kinda forget to eat for about 6 weeks cuz there's too much to do!
|Sometimes a border collie is required to keep the sheep|
away from the guard dog's dinner.
|About midway through the month, I discovered that Instagram|
allows me to combine photos - what a nerd I am!
|What a goofball!|
|Taff is retired, but he still loves to nap in|
the back of my truck!
|The first heavy dew of the fall - and the first wet feet!|
|Nothing better to a shepherd than seeing sheep with their heads down, grazing!|
|Had chores and homework to do on the night of our county fair|
lamb carcass awards dinner, but I was able to drop off some reusable
shopping bags for the kids, courtesy of the American Lamb Board!
|Sheep, sheep and more sheep....|
|Both the Macon girls play soccer, so it's part of every October. Emma's team,|
the 49er United Ambush, was third at the Roseville Ghosts and Goals tournament -
and they won the costume contest!
|Always a curious ewe in the bunch....|
|We put bells on about 10% of the flock -|
nice to be able to hear them if they get out
in the dark!
|These girls were happy that I'd re-filled their mineral tub!|
|Waiting for rain....|
|Love this tree!|
|Raccoons are only a threat during lambing, but|
Reno doesn't like them in his sheep any time
of the year.
|Towards the end of October, we moved the mule/shrop breeding group into a stand of johnsongrass - a weed that's related|
to Sudan grass. We watch the weather this time of year - this grass becomes toxic after it freezes.
|We're part of an informal group (the Foothill Grazing Geeks) of|
ranchers who meet for pasture walks from time to time - we hosted
this month's meeting.
|Any question why this particular crossbreed (sired by a Blueface Leicester ram out of a Cheviot ewe) is called a "mule"!?|
|Our irrigation water shut off on October 15.|
Now we hope for rain....
|As the days grow shorter, sometimes I don't see the sheep|
in daylight hours.
|Plenty of dog power! Mo (L) and Ernie (R) are my everyday dogs. Kate (C) belongs to a friend - we tried her out|
for another friend, who is going to purchase her. Kate will fly to Tennessee next week!
|Halloween morning at Flying Mule Farm - hopefully the last warm and dry day for awhile. Supposed to rain tomorrow - we'll see!|
|We had showers in early October - wish we'd had more! This is our mule and|
Shropshire breeding group.