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Sheep bells in the early evening

The melodious sound of sheep bells tells me that the sheep are coming back into the barnyard at the end of day.  We keep sheep here on the ranch and vineyard for a number of reasons.  Henry had sheep, and loved them dearly.  He passed on his love of sheep to several generations of the family – including us.  They are also a big part of the sustainable agriculture we practice here.  The sheep mow the grass cover crop during the wet season and help fertilize the soil.  They graze the hillside areas above the vineyard during summer, which reduces fire danger.  It is better to use sheep to mow the grass than a tractor, especially in wet weather, to prevent soil compaction.

3 Responses to “Sheep bells in the early evening”

  1. Agnes Zach says:

    Just saw a great article in the Oregonian about using sheep as part of caring for grape vines. Looks like you’re ahead of the curve on this one!

  2. Andrew Barden says:

    Where did you read this article? I’d love to read it!

  3. Melissa says:

    It was a nice article in the Oregonian. As it noted, this person moves his sheep around from vineyard to vineyard, which lessens the sustainability of the venture. Our sheep live on our ranch year-round. We have them graze the vineyard from after harvest until the vines leaf out again in the spring; the rest of the year they pasture on land that we have left as pasture rather than planting. It’s good to know we are so cutting-edge by having sheep!

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