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in Blog, Livestock, Sheep

How to Shear a Sheep

Nobody shears sheep in the High Desert where we live.  Well at least nobody I could find.  And the summer’s are excruciating so when I first got sheep, they HAD to be sheared.  I decided, like so many other things, that I could just do it myself.  Well, let me tell you, shearing sheep is NOT easy, but it can be done. What you need to shear a sheep Muscle It takes a lot of muscle to hold the sheep and maneuver it around so the very first thing you need is muscle.  If you only have a few sheep…

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in Blog, Farming, Livestock, Published in Daily Press

Handling the Summer Heat

Heat Coping Strategies For You and Your Animals Yikes!  It’s 85 degrees at 7:00am and it’s not even officially summer yet. There are many things I like about living in the desert, but summer is not on the list.  It wasn’t so bad back when I spent my days inside an air conditioned home, but now I am outside most of the day working with animals, mucking pens, pulling weeds or, if I am inside, I am hovering over a hot stove cooking caramel or jam to sell (which is delicious by the way). Heat Coping Strategies For Your Animals…

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in Blog, Farming and the law, Uncategorized

Cottage Industries Permit Part III

Well I went back into county to turn in my application and fee.  After sitting and waiting for an hour, I was finally able to turn in the application.  The worker made a photocopy of it for my records and an extra photocopy of the back of the application where I could write and sign: “I agree to abide by the 17 restrictions.” I have no idea why I had to write this because there is a place to sign on the bottom of the application that you agree to abide by the restrictions.  *sigh* They wouldn’t take my fee,…

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jam and caramel selling permit
in Blog, Farm Permits

Cottage Industries Permit San Bernardino County Part II

After visiting the San Bernardino County building today, I am just as frustrated as ever. When I arrived at Code Enforcement, I was told that I couldn’t turn in an application for the Cottage Industries Permit until I had spoken to and been approved by “The Inspector.”  She would have “questions” to ask, although the woman at county had no idea what these questions were. I knew this was wrong.  I absolutely knew it.  After all the dealings with county we have had, first of all I would just expect the county worker to not have a clue what she…

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in Blog, Uncategorized

Getting a Cottage Industries Permit for our Caramel

I make some kick butt caramel so I’ve finally decided I’m going to sell it.  To do this in San Bernardino County, you have to either use a commercial kitchen or get a Cottage Industries Permit.  While I have access to a commercial kitchen locally, why keep spending money to rent one when you can just use your own kitchen? I wasn’t sure who to call first so I called Code Enforcement.  The county worker had no idea what I was talking about and told me very confidently that I needed a Home Occupation Permit.  Not so.  I need a Cottage…

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in Blog, Farm education, Farmlife

Waldorf Schools visit the Ranch

We have been blessed with 8 year olds coming out of our ears. And yes, I do mean we’ve been blessed.  This year we have had multiple Waldorf schools come to the ranch for their third grade farm visit.  And we have enjoyed their visit so much that we have actually decided to focus on schools! A Waldorf school, for those of you who don’t know, is a school that follows educational principles laid out by Rudolf Steiner. It is a well-rounded approach to education that involves the whole child–head, hands, and heart.  They are very hands on, very active,…

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in Blog, Bloodhounds, Farm Dogs, Livestock, Published in Daily Press

Farm Dogs

Dogs have always played an important role on the farm from helpers, to protectors to simple companionship.  And the breeds are just as varied.  There’s no wrong breed for the job of farm dog, but each dog has special and unique abilities. The dogs of Flip Flop Ranch At my farm, we have two different breeds of dogs: Bloodhounds and Brussels Griffons.  The hound personality just seems ideally suited to farmlife-easy going, but willing to work hard when asked.  Hounds of all varieties are fantastic for hunting, but our’s are actually trained to hunt people.  We work with police departments…

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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry, Published in Daily Press

Basics of Incubating eggs

As soon as the weather begins to warm, chickens across the world begin to think of hatching eggs and raising baby chicks.  But they’re not the only ones.  Spring also begins humans thinking about hatching eggs and raising baby chicks.  Of course the way we do it isn’t nearly as natural and our success rates vary.  Still, with practice and knowledge we can get just about as good.  Human success rates for incubating eggs is about 80% while hens are at 90%.  Not bad. Incubating eggs Out at Flip Flop Ranch, incubating eggs is one of the biggest parts of…

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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry, Published in Daily Press

Why you should raise chickens

Chickens are usually the first livestock the aspiring farmer purchases and if you don’t have any of these fluffy critters running around your yard, you should really consider it. Here at Flip Flop Ranch, we have a few hundred of them, but our start in farming began with only one. Betty was a Frizzle with curly feathers. She was raised in a cage on my bathroom counter, wore diapers around the house and pecked at the door to go in and out. I remember being so proud when she laid her first egg…on the dining room floor. Chickens make great…

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

Tagging Chickens

I waited until it was dark and all the unsuspecting chickens were asleep.  Then I creeped into the coop with a flashlight and one by one grabbed each chicken by its legs and swung it upside down.  Sometimes they squawked and flapped for a few seconds before relaxing.  Sometimes the other chickens stuck up their heads and squawked back in concern, but they always fluffed their feathers and settled back down to sleep. And so it went, grabbing, swinging upside down and tagging.  It’s important that chickens have identification tags when you have a bunch.  You can watch for patterns,…

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