Monday, May 14, 2007

same ol same ol

So I haven't posted anything to my blog in a while and it is not because there hasn't been anything to write about. In fact, it is the opposite. There have been so many things going on around here everyday that i haven't had time or energy (mostly the energy) to sit down and tell y'all about it. I think I am getting some insight into what it must be to be a single parent of small children. Having other living creatures dependent on you for their survival means you are always worrying about them in the back of your mind and that your own needs are always met last, or not at all! I'm not complaining--I chose this and am happy I did. It is just huge.

Well, first exciting event to share happened April 25th--shearing day. The day before shearing day was crammed full with trying to organize all of the fencing and pens to get everybody into the horse corral and then figure out a way to catch them one at a time the next day for shearing. The biggest obstacle by far was trying to get Bob and Jean's black face sheep into the corral. They are basically feral. And they can jump. My parents bravely volunteered to help and with five people and a not-so-helpful dog we finally managed to round everybody up after about an hour. This was actually a better than hoped for result.
The professional sheep shearer, a man by the name of Judd Redden, drove all the way down from Sonoma to come give our sheep their haircuts. He was talking up a weeklong shearing class that he was organizing and lamenting the shortage of people getting into the profession. After watching him sweat and struggle with 70 smelly, greasy, feisty sheep all day I could understand the shortage! Especially after he told me how little he was charging me for the shearing and half a day's drive.
I have to hand it to him--he was incredibly patient with our half-assed handling setup, big feral sheep and skittish ewe lambs and didn't even stop to take a break the whole day. I was exhausted by the end of the day and I was just making sure the sheep didn't get out of their pen.

Next exciting news: I have baby lambs!! Over the past two weeks three of my ewes have given birth. There are two ewe lambs, and a pair of ram lambs. So freakin' cute they make me laugh out loud. There is this adorable spontaneous jump that young lambs do where they just jump off all four legs, straight up in the air a good 6 inches or so for no apparent reason. And they wiggle their tails contentedly when they are nursing--reason enough to not dock tails. The first born ewe is named Calla, the rams won't get names as they are going to be meat, and I'm waiting for the second ewe to reach the week old point before naming her.

Speaking of lambs, Babe, my ram lamb that came with is mom Poppy from Wisconsin, got weaned today. Fun fun. ha. Actually the weaning part was not a big deal. I moved him into the pen next to his mom where the black face and the other rams are and he moped around and cried off and on during the day. The hard part was catching Poppy this evening and getting her into the horse stall to milk her. I got to try out the new milking stand I just bought from Caprine dairy. It wasn't until I actually had Poppy in the stall that I wondered how the hell I was supposed to get her up onto the stand. I ended up kind of lifting and dragging her (not unlike trying to get my 60 and 75 pound puppies into the back of my pickup truck). She was pretty unhappy most of the time while I was milking but settled down enough for me to get a bit of milk out. But then of course she would occasionally mimic that spontaneous four legged jump that the lambs do and knock over the contents of the milk bucket. After about a half hour I wound up with about four ounces of milk in the pail and a hell of a lot more on my pants, the wall, the milking stand, and the hay on the floor, and I still am not sure if I got her teats stripped completely (got all of the milk out). Well, i must say it was some of the tastiest three gulps of milk I have ever drank though!! Curious to see how things go for tomorrow mornings milking before I go to work...

Speaking of work, we hired a new chef to take over at Gabriella Cafe. So glad! First, because the chef, Sean Baker, rocks and is going to awesome things with the place and all of my hard work will be improved upon. Second, someone else is going to be responsible so I don't have to be!! Thank god. Lately, I've been juggling way too much responsibility for one person and the restaurant has probably been suffering as a result. Once Sean is up and going I am going to switch to doing pastries for the next six months or so. That should be a fun change of pace and a lot less pressure, and i get to make my own schedule and avoid traffic. Yeah. Look for possible sheep milk based special desserts this summer. (well, if I manage to actually get milk in the bucket and not on the floor a little more.)

I am sure there's more to write about but it is 9:30pm and I am eating my Annie's mac and cheese out of the pot as I write this. Almost my bedtime!


At 3:22 PM, Blogger foodhoe said...

Wow, sounds amazing! I love the description both of the shearer and the shearees. The lambs look adorable, I don't know much about the animals, but saw some goat kids at Marin Sun Farms and they did the same funny leaping about thing. I'm enjoying reading your blog very much.


At 10:57 AM, Blogger JudyH said...

Rebecca, sounds like you are working harder and harder every day...maybe even more demanding than the chef biz, even? As a fellow restauranteur (up in San Francisco) and soon to be homeowner in rural Burgundy, I would love to talk with you regarding dairy sheep. I can be reached at
and would like to correspond if possible! Good luck and let me know if you need any help down there!
Judy Hedin


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