Happy New Year!

Post date: Jan 11, 2015 6:58:25 PM

Literally for WEEKS I've been meaning to update this blog. We were so busy in December I just didn't get to it. So here is the news for Blue Oak Canyon Ranch since Thanksgiving.

The Santa Cruz Island ewes who we intend to breed are in the pens with the rams. Butch has four white ewes; Sundance has two white ewes; Drop has 3, one of them white, one light brown, and one spotted; D'Artagnan has four; and Twelve has one white and one dark brown ewe. Before moving everyone around we trimmed hooves, also trimmed hooves of the non-breeding sheep. We lamb late in the year compared to most in California - this is because I am working full time at Cal Poly until late March, also we want to shear the ewes before they lamb.

We had a lovely rainy early December. The rain started in earnest on November 30 and continued off and on (mostly on) through about December 18. So far this season we've had a little over 5 inches, which is more than twice what we got the whole 2013-14 season. It has been dry since. When the soil dried out enough to get the tractor in the fields, between Christmas and New Year's Day, Jim disked, and we planted forage mix with a little vetch and other forb seeds mixed in. This is our custom, to plant annual pasture each year, for grazing for the sheep and llamas. So, we are waiting for more rain. We got a little last night, maybe 0.02 inch or so, but are hopeful for more rain. While we were planting, we saw lots of pickups going by our place with sacks and seed, so we're not the only ones hoping for rain!

The Saturday before Christmas nearby San Miguel had its annual Christmas fair and (after dark) lights parade. We had a booth, where I was selling yarn and learn-to-spin kits. We sold a few things, and it was a lot of fun. The booths, including ours, were decorated with garland and lights and the whole effect was really pretty and festive.

We had a nice quiet Christmas, as usual, staying close to home which is the way we like it. We were ranch sitting for some good friends so they could go to Yosemite National Park for Christmas and a couple days before and after. I knitted Jim two owls and a Siamese cat for Christmas (these were not what he asked for, but he seemed surprised). They were knitted out of handspun Santa Cruz Island wool, which I still have some left. So after Christmas I used some of it to knit him a pair of gloves, and am knitting myself a pair of gloves too. Photos to be posted later, hopefully, after I download them.

Before Christmas we sold out of our good, sell-able quality Santa Cruz Island fleeces and most of our Navajo-Churro fleeces. I still have a few white SCI fleeces which I am processing myself. Not sure what I will do with them - card and spin them, obviously, not sure what I will knit or weave - maybe next weekend I can do some carding.

On January 5 I returned to full time teaching at Cal Poly, teaching Rocks and Minerals and Soil Morphology. I love it but miss the ranch - it is dark when I leave in the mornings and dark by the time we get home in the evenings. Oh well, that's why weekends were invented. I have a new (temporary) office, in a trailer, which actually I like very much. It is near the advising center for the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, so there are a lot of students and very nice staff coming and going much of the day.

Maybe this is enough for today? The dryer has stopped and there is more laundry to be put into the dryer. Happy New Year, everyone!