October 2011

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011 in Skyelark Ranch

Fall has well and truly arrived here in the Capay Valley, and although we are all generally happy about that fact (dog, cats, sheep, pig, and us), we now have more to do and less light to do it in. People will tell you that this summer was a mild  summer, and by the records they are most probably correct. However, it felt long and hot and I for one am glad to see the back of it, and by the looks of the pasture, the ducks, and the pig, so are they.

We must apologize for what has been a fairly long sabbatical from these ‘ere ‘Ewesletters, but please be assured that they will be coming thick and fast now that the days are getting shorter and the cooler evenings will start to force us indoors seeking the warmth of the wood stove and a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Fall in California brings with it a flush of green grass and a noticeable coolness to the air. This morning when I was walking back between the pasture and the orchard having let the sheep out for the day’s grazing (we have taken to penning them up in a moveable corral at night while our guardian llama Michelle is bonding with our lambs, problem ewes, and Moby the goat, back at the stalls), I swear I could almost see the earth cooling in front of me. The dull greys and golds of the residual summer stubble, a direct result of months of baking heat, no water and no new growth, appeared as a stark contrast to the damp early morning air, and I felt that in any second there would be a hiss of steam from the mouths of the many squirrel holes that pock-mark the farm; the ground cooling in front of my very eyes.

Autumn has brought such a freshness to the farm, and as the days are still warm with plenty of sunlight the grass is coming up so fast you could almost watch it. And with that new growth comes the knowledge that our animals will be able to happily munch away on fresh green grass through the winter and on into spring. It is now our job to manage this new growth to ensure the livestock have enough forage to last them until this time next year when the cycle of growth will start again, and to make sure that the decisions we make today aren’t to the detriment of this or future years’ flush of fresh green grass.

It is with this in mind that we enter the fall growing season and want to let you know that we will soon have whole pastured chickens available from our first fall run. As many of you know, our chickens are raised outside, on grass, and without antibiotics or growth enhancers of any kind. The superior quality of our chicken is a direct result of the benefits of constant exposure to sunlight, grass, forage, and a clean, healthy, and natural living environment; in the words of the great man himself, our production model allows for the complete expression of the “chickenness of the chicken” (Joel Salatin).

Please contact us if you would like more information on our chicken or any of our upcoming products. We will have whole chickens available fresh on Saturday, Oct 15th, or frozen anytime thereafter, so if you just can’t wait to get that bird in the oven then act quick and email farmhouse@skyelarkranch.com or call 530-680-7118 and we will try our best to accommodate your needs. Once we have a better idea of order numbers we’ll organise drop points and times throughout the Woodland, Davis, Chico, and San Fransisco Bay areas.

We are also interested to hear from anyone who may be interested in us raising some strictly organic chickens using only organic feeds. The organic chickens would be raised in exactly the same humane, and pasture-friendly manner as our other product but will be fed exclusively on locally sourced organic feed. Let us know if this is something that interests you and we’d be happy to give it a go. We are, after all, here to provide good, healthy food to you and your families.

Like us on our new Facebook page to recieve current up-to-date news and updates on Skyelark Ranch and elsewhere in the world of sustainable and local meat, food, and farming – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Skyelark-Ranch/233601660010601