If you wander out into our pastures right now you're likely to hear the sweet sound of tiny bleats echoing across the ranch.
Everywhere we look there are spindly-legged newborn lambs testing the soft earth as they wobble persistently after their mothers. Their days are mostly spent nursing and sleeping, although frolicking is definitely high on the list too.
Eat. Sleep. Play. Repeat. And so the cycle goes. They run with bursts of energy reserved for the young, and spontaneously jump into the air as if launched on invisible springs. Then, just as quickly, the moment passes and they return to their weary mamas; impatiently butting at their udders for milk with a violence that would make mothers everywhere cringe in sympathy. Their long tails flick wildly with obvious delight as they fill their tummies.
Each year from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day our ewes are busy delivering the first crop of spring lambs. Thankfully, the series of storms that dumped rain on the Bay Area last month brought a flush of fresh forage to the fields. Consider this scene in contrast to photos taken at the same time last year. What a difference the rain makes!
Both mamas and babies are enjoying the bountiful grasses. It's fun to watch the lambs trying their first nibbles of solid food, and discovering they like their "greens".
Of course all this increased activity can also attract the attention of some unwelcome visitors: predators. Marauding coyotes, bobcat, fox will make a quick meal of a lamb if given the opportunity. Lucky for us, our trusty team of protection dogs is at the ready day and night. As vigilant guardians of the flock Salty, Pepper, and Zeus form a formidable perimeter between the sheep and any would-be threat to their safety.
You can always find one of them nearby at all times.
Under their watchful gaze, these little guys will continue to spend their days roaming freely in our pastures and growing strong for harvest!