By Scott “Goat Guy” Bice
Life is like spring weather in Sonoma County. You never know what you’re gonna get. I’m sure a lot of places can make that statement for their spring time weather, but after spending much of my youth in the temperate climate of Kauai, I’m often amazed at the dynamic spring weather shifts we have here in the North Bay area.
We had a very mild and dry winter this year leading into beautiful, warm February days. The temperatures were hitting the 70’s, apricot and plum trees were blooming and spring had sprung. Our egg layers were upping production and the goats were enjoying playing in the pasture and browsing on fresh spring vegetation. “Not so fast” said Old Man Winter and winter rain storms finally arrived. My hopes for summer tree ripened apricots were falling faster than the blossoms that were being blown from the branches of their trees. Since that first February storm, the weather report has been a roller coaster ride that has just dipped into a five day stretch of rain. Some of our rural Sonoma county roads that lead to the farm are flooded, but we are up on a hill and the goats are cozy and dry in their straw bedded barns. Goats are like cats, they do not do rain! They have ample room in their open air barns, but sometimes I can see them looking out into the rainy pasture and it reminds me of a bored child looking out a window on a rainy day, wanting to go out and play. I can almost hear our yearling goats singing, “Rain, Rain, go away…”
And soon it will. Although the rain and mud make work out on the farm tougher, I won’t complain much, as it is needed. We need to replenish our wells
before the inevitable dry summer, that is drawing near. We employ organic dairy farming practices at Redwood Hill Farm and our apple orchard is organic and dry farmed (no irrigation). More rain now equals juicer Gravenstein apples in August. Today I can’t get the rainy day blues, because when I went in the orchard to look at the fruit trees, I saw some baby apricots (yeah, some were pollinated!) growing and I know of the summer delights that will be here before we know it.