Monday, November 16, 2009

November Updates

Greetings from New England! I've been out on the East Coast for the past few days at the Dairy Sheep Association of North America's annual symposium. This is the third time I've attended this event, which was held in Albany, New York this year. It has been a great opportunity to meet and talk with other sheep dairy producers and share information and experiences. I have learned quite a few new things and will be returning with fresh knowledge and inspiration.

Shortly before I left town, we prepped and seeded the field directly below the corral with a dairy grazing pasture mix. Once the mix of ryegrass, fescue and clovers takes hold, it will increase my improved, irrigated pasture by about 5 acres. Thanks to an EQUIP grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a branch of the USDA, I will be reimbursed for most of my expenses involved with this planting. I will also be receiving funds for the native plant hedgerow planted along the bottom edge of the farm property by Community Alliance with Family Farmers, as well as for a significant amount of fencing in the main pasture which will break it into 6 seperate paddocks and alleyway for rotational grazing. Finally a good use of our tax dollars!

As winter sets in and my store of aged cheese dwindles I will be cutting back to alternating weeks at the Santa Cruz farmers markets. I will be attending the downtown and westside markets on these dates: Nov. 21, Nov. 25, Dec. 5, Dec. 9, Dec. 19, Dec. 23. Mike will be selling at the Cabrillo market every Saturday through Dec. 23. BTW, we have moved to a new location at that market in the upper producer's level. I anticipate the end of December as the end of farmers markets until the spring when i have a new batch of cheese, and lambing season has come to a close.

Speaking of lambing season, Marigold is due to lamb in the middle of December and then from the week of Christmas until mid-February I expect about 80 ewes to lamb--producing about 160 lambs! This year we will be bottle-feeding the majority of the lambs which should be quite an undertaking. I hope to be back in the milking parlor and making new cheeses at the first of the year.

It's not too late to adopt a ewe! I will still be taking sign-ups until the end of 2009. Please see the post below for more information.

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