Looking Back On 2016
By Phoebe Bean
As we move into 2017, we reflect on the many wonderful memories from the past year!
January – Lambs started arriving at the New Year, which made for busy days and long nights for our herders. The elk like to stay close so they can sneak some hay when no one is looking.
February – With hundreds of lambs in the sheds and pens, “baaa” filled the air, especially at feeding time. We welcomed a class from the Syringa Mountain School in Hailey, who had a great time seeing the lambs and learning about their care.
March – Staffers Mike and Christina cooked up mutton at the Sustainability Center kitchen in Hailey for our taste test. It was a huge hit! We also tested new lamb recipes for our Easter promotions.
April – The spring grazing season began as we moved our ewes and lambs down to our desert allotments. Researchers started arriving at the ranch, studying livestock-predator dynamics (UC Berkeley) and the impacts of the sound of water on animal communities (Boise State). Russ and Nelly, our new guard dog puppies, also arrived at the ranch and have delighted us and our visitors ever since.
May – Beautiful wildflowers, green grass and warmer, longer days make May one of our favorite months. Wildlife delighted us, including this long-eared owl at the ranch. The sheep continued their migration north through the desert.
June – Boise State researcher and good friend Jay Carlisle conducted bird surveys at the ranch; we are always thrilled to see the showy Lewis’ woodpeckers. Clydesdales Sophie and Lacey reigned over their green realm, and the puppies grew like weeds. The sheep crossed Highway 20 and the Big Wood River as they headed north into the high country for the summer.
July – We had a wonderful time hosting donors to the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, dining on delicious food prepared by Chris Kastner of CK’s Real Food in Hailey. Researchers and staff hiked into the high Pioneers to conduct wolf surveys, part of our predator-friendly work. Summer days were long and full!
August – Selling lamb at the farmers market in Ketchum one day, digging out noxious weeds the next. A potluck fundraiser for our injured veterans program brought together new friends and old. Our two-year old orchard started to bear fruit! And we continued to replace old fencing with pronghorn-friendly wire.
September – The Lava Lake Injured Veterans Equine Program welcomed veterans to the ranch for two weeks of riding in the backcountry, with support from outfitter Mystic Saddle Ranch, for the fifth year. The sheep were sheared and began heading for lower ground.
October – As the sheep grew their winter wool, we rode into the mountains to help move the neighbor’s cattle. The Trailing of the Sheep festival brought friends to town and we celebrated all things sheep.
November – A month for preparing for the cold winter months, getting the lambing shed ready and storing summer supplies. We launched our new line of pet treats!
December – The holidays are our busiest season for lamb sales, so the office staff were working hard, but all is quiet at the ranch as the ewes return from their fall pastures and hang out before lambing season starts again. The bucks are always relaxed. Lava Lake sour cherry jam reminds us of the long, hot summer days and we look forward to the start of another year.
Wishing you all the best in 2017!