Weekly Newsletter

March 2021 vol. 4

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On the first day of Spring we wanted to share a view of the ranch through a slightly different lens. Though our focus here is on domestic animals, we have quite the abundance of wildlife at Amber Oaks Ranch. As ranchers, we tend to focus primarily on predatory wildlife, but the emergence of life that comes each spring is a wonderful reminder that our land is teeming with a variety of birds, animals, insects, and reptiles that play a role in our sustainable lifestyle as well. When we pause in our daily rounds and broaden our vision, we see all kinds of critters that will put a smile on our faces. 
For example, as we come home from evening markets and turn onto our driveway, if we're quick enough, we'll see that cottontail rabbit that, despite all odds, has eluded the owls, hawks, and foxes that live on the ranch. If we're lucky we'll see wild rabbits during the day, but they blend in so well that I have to be vigilant.
In a few months we may even catch a glimpse of a few kits (baby rabbits).
As John goes about his morning chores, he is often greeted by the sound of the Killdeer.  If you get close to the ground nests, you'll be rewarded with the most bizarre and brave behavior - the "broken wing display".  Yes, just like it sounds, the mother bird will feign an injury essentially offering herself as prey to lead any  potential threat away from the nest to protect her young.  You can get very close to her before she takes off.  If you persist, she’ll continue this routine again and again until she’s comfortable you’ve been distracted from her young. The Killdeer’s broken-wing act leads predators away from a nest, but doesn’t keep cows or horses from stepping on eggs. To guard against the cows, the Killdeer uses a quite different display, fluffing itself up, displaying its tail over its head, and running at the beast to attempt to make it change its path.
As the soil warms, we'll begin to see dung beetles reemerge.  These colorful insects help to recycle nutrients and reduce the habitat for flies on the ranch.  I find it entertaining to watch them roll a sheep dung pellet across the ground, but I find their ability to fly outright bizarre.  They have tiny little wings and huge bodies, their flight almost has to be seen to be believed.  When they do take to the skies, it's the most chaotic aerial blunder of all time -- bouncing off of whatever obstacle appears on their uncharted course.
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To Molly's delight, we've already seen some Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds around the house, drawn by her spring flower plantings. We're sure to see plenty more birds and pollinators around all her plantings and in the pastures among the emerging wildflowers. 
We've only touched on a tiny fraction of the wildlife we share the ranch with. If you're interested in seeing more, follow us on Facebook or Instagram - we'll keep adding photos as more and more emerge. Happy First Day of Spring!
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Deadline for 
purchasing tickets is 
Sunday, March 27th.
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Come visit us at the Ranch!
Interested in seeing sustainable practices in action on a working ranch? Come join us and discover how John incorporates sustainable organic practices while raising cows, pigs, lambs, chickens, and turkeys to sell in local farmers markets. The $15 admission to includes educational tours and guided nature walks as well as BBQ plates featuring meat from the ranch.

Weekly Markets

Join us for the 2022 Pfarmers Market Season! 
Early market dates are scheduled for 
March 15 & 29 and April 12 & 26. 
The regular season runs every Tuesday 
from 3-7pm from May through October.

Monthly Markets

Be well, 

stay safe,


John & Molly