If you look at a map of California, and with a ruler draw a line from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and look about halfway, you will see the small city of Paso Robles a little west of your line.  Look a little north of PR, and you will see San Miguel if your map is detailed enough.  Our beautiful ranch is ten miles north and east of San Miguel.  Geologically, we are in the inland Coast Ranges, at the edge of the Gabilan Mesa, a few miles from the San Andreas Fault (doesn’t scare us).  Our “bedrock” geology is the Paso Robles Formation on the hills and old and young stream deposits on canyon floors, stream terraces, and a floodplain.   Geographically, we are at the heart of the Wine Country of San Luis Obispo and Monterey 

Counties.  Climatologically, we are dry, dry, dry and even have a few plants characteristic of the Mojave Desert.  In a good rain year, we get about 10 to 12 inches, most of it in late fall and winter.  The dominant plant communities on our ranch are oak-pine woodland, chaparral, pine-juniper woodland, and grasslands.Jim is a retired clockmaker, meaning he repaired and restored clocks with specialization in grandfather and antique clocks.  He used to occasionally accept clocks and other various vintage artifacts in exchange for his repair and restoration services, which is why we list clocks and artifacts on Etsy now (time to downsize!).  Lynn is a mostly-retired college professor, having taught (and conducted research in) soil science, geology, and earth science.  She still teaches part time, winter only.  But most of her time now is spent raising sheep and conducting other ranch business.  We used to raise llamas, but are concentrating on sheep now, but still have 11 “retired” llamas whose job now is to make fiber and keep coyotes away from the sheep (they also have become a landmark – as in, for example, “turn right 12 miles past the llamas”).  Lynn taught herself to knit about 30 years ago.  She quickly saw it could grow into a very expensive hobby, so taught herself to spin on a spinning wheel Jim made.  She loves animals, so figured on raising fiber animals – first French angora rabbits (not a great fiber to learn to spin with), then llamas (a neighbor raised them), then sheep.

More about the sheep:  We figured, if we’re going to get sheep, we might as well get sheep that need to be preserved – an endangered breed, in other words.  So we started with Navajo-Churro sheep.  As time has gone by, there are lots of breeders, so in 2010 we acquired a starter flock of 9 sheep of an even rarer breed – Santa Cruz Island sheep.  We decided not to breed the N-C sheep anymore (but still have some “retired” sheep, who keep on producing wool, bless ‘em) and concentrate on the Santa Cruz Island sheep.  We are working on improving wool quality, through management and breeding, while still preserving the unique qualities of these sheep.  We are up to about 40 Santa Cruz Island sheep now.  If we are going to be a viable ranch, the sheep (both breeds) need to earn their way, so we sell wool, breeding stock of the SCI sheep, and also put them to work as weed eaters and fertilizer manufacturers.  At the present time (late 2015), we have Santa Cruz Island rams and ram lambs for sale.
 
Some other members of our family: Maggie our dear departed Queensland Heeler mix, Harley the border collie mix, Petunia the lap-adore retriever, and cats Monterey (white), Shannon (white and tabby), and Frosty (gray).

Questions?  Contact us at lynn@blueoakcanyonranch.com