Woodland Preserve with Sheep
We live with a beautiful community of native trees, shrubs, grasses, birds and rodents, among many others. Our home is truly an oak woodland preserve and we use sheep to reduce fuel load for fire season and to try to shift plant communities away from non-native grasses. Very rural and scenic location about 4 hours from SF.
Our Home & Location
We have named our home the Elder Creek Oak Woodland Preserve (eldercreek.org) because we love the beings who make this land what it is, and that love tells us to help these species in any way we can. Protecting them through a conservation easement and promoting their intrinsic value publicly are two things we are trying to do for them. These beings include hundreds of native species, prominent among them blue oaks, valley oaks, manzanita, black walnut, grape, willow, and elder. Bird residents include the lively acorn woodpeckers, titmice, bushtits, nuthatches, bluebirds, quail, towhees and wrens. The land is bordered on the west by the South Fork of Elder Creek, where the occasional beaver may be seen, along with green herons and kingfishers. Lizards, snakes, toads and frogs are much loved members of the community of life here. The land has been a haven for life long before we arrived, so making it a preserve only seems fit.
The house is straw bale and in hot weather, it needs to have windows opened at night or early morning, then closed before the temperature outside gets above the indoor temp. This is the A/C system and it works beautifully. We are off-grid and if you like, you may use our solar oven. There are some amenities that many American homes have that we do not have: flush toilets, wifi, TV, stereo, toaster, microwave, internet-functional computer, unlimited electricity. Instead, we have composting toilets, satellite internet via modem and ethernet or USB jack, solar oven, and an old computer that can do email and a little more.
Responsibilities & Pets
Responsibilities include taking sheep out to graze in the early morning with a portable pen, feeding them hay and minerals, giving them water, raking up manure and making sure the electric fence is on at night. There are also young chickens to feed, water, let out and put in. Overall, it can add up to 4-5 hours a day, but I'd limit the number of days requiring that much time to 1 for the whole sit. The rest of the days, it'd be a maximum of 3 hours a day. You'll also need to be comfortable with a composting toilet, living in an area where rattlesnakes also live, ready for potential 3-digit heat each afternoon (though not likely in May), being in a "high risk fire zone," and checking the status of the electrical system every day or two (easy!). Calling or emailing me with a daily update is required, too. Of course we expect you to leave the place as clean and tidy as you found it. No drugs and non-smokers only.