Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ewe Must Be Joking

Babydoll sheep replacing farm labor in the vineyards in Northern California?

I travel a road called Jamison Canyon every morning on the way to work. About 2 weeks ago I saw a flock of sheep grazing one of the roadside vineyards. Over the past 2 weeks I have seen little tiny lambs also appear each day. It is awesome.

Apparently this is a new thing and it is working. Alot of our newer vineyards in the valley are at least 35 inches off the ground on trellises. This is too high for Babydoll sheep to munch on, yet they love the grass that grow between the vine rows,  Predators are a problem from what I have recently read and I think the black blob in the middle of the picture is a sheep dog who is protecting his herd.

I have not been able to stop and take a true life pic yet because this vineyard is at a place in the road without any "soft shoulder" and around a turn without visibility. I am still looking for options. I found this pic on the web and it is not nearly as good as the views I see this month. Those little gals with their little lambs are right in the vineyard between the vines munching away as I drive to work and home on new green grass. I love it.
I think I saw a eve cleaning her new lamb shortly after birth this evening. 

Went to Sonora for the Easter weekend to visit a Dear Aunt and took my friend Cherie to her cousin's place nearby. We saw 8 new fawns in about 10 minutes in three different meadows. And on our way home I saw a coyote sitting by the side of the road near Copperopolis looking like he was waiting for the traffic to clear to cross the road. So funny. He reminded me of the Coyote in Yosemite National Park that I swear is a Park Employee. I have seen him in the same location on 2 trips there (over 3 years)  and he always uses the crosswalk to go to the Visitor's Center!  He calmly holds up traffic (so good for pictures) while he crosses the road.  This is not a normal coyote!  He probably has TV credits and a doggie bowl waiting for him at the Center!

There is now a "No Feed the Bears" program in Yosemite. I am confused. When I was in high school and we took a ditch day weekend to Yosemite, I fed cubs my PB&J sandwiches. There were no vicious attacks on autos. We went to sleep at night in the campground with bears roaming freely around us all night.

I come back decades later and there is a "No Feed" law and lots of destruction of autos by bears. I don't recall any auto destruction or camp destuction when we could feed the bears.

The great great grandchild cub that I fed a PB&J sandwich to in high school has no idea of laws that have been passed. It does know that the two legged ones still have PB&J sandwiches to share and they are probably in their cars and tents. Yes, we should not have fed the bears to begin with. I agree. But after we made that stupid mistake, we need to take responsibility for it. Yosemite Valley is not the wilderness. Yosemite Valley is the equivalent of Golden Gate Park or Central Park. I'd rather go to sleep in my tent with bears roaming freely around wating for us to wake up and eat a Pb&J out of my hand than have them doing major damage to my car or attacking my tent while I sleep.  We made generations of bears in YV dependent on us and semi-tame. They have collective memory just like we do. It is illogical to just say: "oh, we just changed our minds, we are not going to feed you anymore". 

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