Friday, May 27, 2011

Field Trips

I am learning that flexibility is key in any kind of farming. There a just so many things that cannot be controlled (i.e. the weather, frightened animals, accidents) and I find this realization very humbling.  Of course there are some aspects that can be controlled and this is where I am running into some difficult choices; there are trade-offs to every decision and sometimes it feels easier not to have a choice.

I stuck to my plan to volunteer at Soil Born this last weekend.  They were preparing for an event called "A Day on the Farm" and expecting 2 to 3 THOUSAND people! While I could not attend the actual event (one of those difficult decisions...I chose instead to help with sheep shearing), I did go the day before to help with set-up.  It was interesting and clarifying for me personally to work beside and talk with the people there-farm interns, farm managers, volunteers, employees from the Co-op.  One thing about working on a farm...the food is generally awesome!

Another difficult decision came Monday when I chose to spend a few days off work not at the Rudolf Steiner biodynamic gardens as I had planned but with some sheep and their shepherds. A tough choice but I decided to invest my time where I feel my farming future lies.

I tagged along with Dan to Fairfield where he led a discussion on website building/blogging/facebooking for farmers and producers. The farmers in that county are in the beginning stages of establishing Solano Grown and it was very interesting to hear their thoughts on marketing their farms and how the setup of the new organization is going.

After the class Dan drove his big truck and trailer out to a 4th generation sheep ranch in Rio Vista to pick up 30 ewes. It was incredible to see a sheep operation on such a huge level: extensive, permanent corral systems, a shearing barn, a lambing barn, a wool barn, two large foot-baths and somewhat unrelatedly, hundreds of silent, massive wind energy generators.  It was a great learning experience just to be there.

Wednesday it rained and boy did it rain. I worked with the other Flying Mule Farm intern, Paul, and we set up electric fence all over the countryside (not really, but it sure felt like it). Lesson learned: NEVER leave home without your rainboots! 

Soggy sheep

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