‘Ewesletter january 2014

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Skyelark Ranch

Skyelark Ranch ‘Ewesletter

January 2014

It’s been a busy start to the New Year here on the ranch, and although we’ve had little rain and subsequently less grass growth, things keep moving along at a fair old lick. The cold weather has added “break ice in the water troughs” to our list of daily chores. We’ve also had our work cut out for us deterring an intruding bobcat, a Great Horned Owl, a family of Red-Tailed Hawks, and a mysterious and, as yet, unknown critter, all of whom have decided that our broiler chickens make a far better, and somewhat easier, meal than their usual fare of rabbits or squirrels.

In the pig pen, our new Berkshire sow, Poppy, has her work cut out for her keeping all eleven of her piglet penmates in line. IMG_20131109_093802One of our other sows, Penny, had a litter of five piglets a month or so ago and, despite everyone’s best efforts, they continue to roam around the yard causing mayhem and chaos by harassing or eating anything they can lay their little snouts on; things like jumping headfirst into a kiddy-pool full of ducks, rooting around in the compost pile, or cheekily teasing the other pigs through the fence. We gave up trying to keep them in their Mom’s pen not long after they were born as they’re just like miniature tanks on legs and can dig or burrow their way through even the tightest of spaces. IMG_20131103_082806Instead, we are working under the philosophy that they, like most tweens, will almost always return to
Penny whenever they get hungry, tired, or scared. Peat, our year-old Border collie (who is curled up beside me on the couch as I write) has yet to take that idea on board and continues to try to herd them back as long as there is daylight, even though they pay him absolutely no mind whatsoever.

News from the ewes

IMG_20131228_151132We recently brought the ewes back down from the hill where they have been grazing on the last of the year’s dry forage in preparation for the arrival of this year’s lambs. Lambing was due to begin on the 5th and so we have been anxiously checking every few hours in anticipation of the first bundle of legs, ears, and goo hitting the ground.One of our sheeple friends has mentioned that they won’t arrive until at least ten days after the due date and other, possibly less qualified persons, suggest that lambs only arrive in the worst of winter weather which, being in the throes of a severe drought, could not be too soon! IMG_20131214_154332Either way, they will surely arrive, and it is always one of the most enjoyable periods of the year for us. Even with all the anxiety and sleepless nights, seeing those little balls of goo stand up and stumble around, transforming into life as a lamb is one of the greatest aspects of raising sheep.

And in other news, since our last post we have been accepted into the Saturday Farmers Market in Davis. We have also been providing our pastured chickens to Avedano’s Butcher Shop & Market in San Francisco and The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley. So, if you are looking for one of our chickens and can’t make it to a Farmers’ Market, head over to either of those great locations.

We will be at our usual markets only sporadically over the next month, and even though things around the ranch don’t seem to be taking a break, we are actually slowing down production for the winter in anticipation of lambing season, which turns out to be our favorite time of year. Currently, we are planning to attend Davis Market every Saturday, and Jack London Square every other weekend starting on Sunday January 19th.

Lastly, we are very excited to announce that we are in the process of developing a monthly meat package delivery to our Brentwood and Burlingame customers. This will be a great opportunity for folks to be able to get our products when the market is closed for the season or if you simply want a more continually stocked freezer. We are hoping to offer our meat packages starting the last week of January, so stay tuned for ordering opportunities.

We wish you all a wonderful start to the N’ewe Year and we hope to see you at a farmers’ market soon!


Gillies and Alexis