Our first baby lamb has arrived! This is always a joyous time in our lives. It is a baby girl – so one that will join our flock to propogate it throughout the years, rather than being destined for the freezer. Such are the realities of ranch life!
We have had record cold weather here (as everywhere in the US) for the past week, so we’re keeping an extra eye on mom and baby. Because we do not usually have very cold weather here, we do not work to time the arrival of our lambs carefully – as many sheep ranchers do to ensure that lambs are not born during the heart of bitter cold winter weather. Although we’ve been complaining around here about how cold it has been, it’s really not that cold – and not dangerously cold for the lambs. Still, we’re being extra careful with our sweet new baby lamb.
The sheep serve several functions here on Siebert Ranch. A major one is grazing in the vineyards when there are no leaves on the vines (which would tempt the sheep to reach up and eat the leaves – and the grapes). By doing this, we significantly reduce compaction of soil from the tractor while mowing, as well as gas usage, by having the sheep do as much mowing in the vineyards as possible. Because the sheep graze all the way under the vinerows, we do not “strip-spray” as many vineyards do. This means that we do not use herbicides to kill grass and weeds beneath the vines, but let the sheep graze them down instead. All of this is part of the sustainability practices we have on our ranch. As I often say, we practice the kind of sustainability one does when living on your land.
Because of the extremely small amount of rain we’ve had this year, our grass growth is minimal so far. However, following a few recent small rains, we have had some growth, and so have let the sheep in the vineyard for the first time recently. They went into block 5, which is the source of the Siebert Ranch pinot. So pop open a bottle of Siebert Ranch pinot and raise a glass to the sheep – especially the newest member of our flock!