Getting Ready for the 4-H Spring Show

My son John is going to show his market lamb at the Yolo County 4-H Spring Show on Friday. He has been working hard to tame his female lamb, “Midnight,” who will be entered in the Natural Color category. Natural-colored sheep produce natural-colored wool, in contrast to white wool that is dyed. They can also be meat animals. The sheep show is this Friday at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland, California. The kids use halters to train their lambs to walk around in the show ring, but during the show, the lambs are not on halters, so it can be a little tricky to keep the animals under control. And there’s always the possibility that the judge will handle the lamb, so each kid needs to control their animal so it won’t try to escape. Wouldn’t you know, John’s very first lamb is supersized, already weighing over 120 pounds–hopefully she won’t try to bolt!

California Poppies are Popping Up

The Golden State’s beautiful state flower, the California Poppy, is emerging all over our farm right now. I love the orange color! I would love to see photos of the state flowers in other states, from Alabama’s Camellia to Wyoming’s Indian Paintbrush. It would be great to see photos of the national flowers from countries around the world, in case you’d like to add them to this post.

Behind the Scenes

It’s that time of year when farmers hold mandatory safety meetings for their employees. This one was facilitated at our farm shop by Tony Bruno of Armstrong and Associates Insurance Services and was conducted in Spanish. Agricultural employees must review illness and injury prevention, personal protection equipment and other safety measures that are critical in farming and ranching.  Soon there will be a county Farm Bureau meeting where the employees will update their skills in First Aid and CPR. It’s all part of the behind-the-scenes world of agriculture that takes place in the winter, before the upcoming crop season begins.

Visiting the Stonewall Sporthorses

My son and I went to see the new spotted foals that were born recently at the Stonewall Sporthorse breeding facility at the Rush Ranch near Fairfield, Calif. The horses are stunningly beautiful and since they are part draft horse, they are also big. We visited with Michael Muir, the breeder and founder of the Stonewall Sporthorse Registry, and I interviewed him for the book that I’m writing about the history of another horse ranch.

Agricultural Family of the Year

Our family was recently honored as the Yolo County Farm Bureau 2018 Agricultural Family of the Year. We were recognized at the organization’s annual meeting held at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland, California. It felt great to be appreciated by our fellow farmers and ranchers, as well as our extended family members and friends who celebrated the occasion with us! There was also nice article published in the Daily Democrat newspaper.

Rominger Family Tradition

Here’s my brother-in-law Rick carrying homemade sausage during our annual Rominger family hog-butchering event. This family tradition goes back to the 1800s when the first generation of Romingers emigrated from Germany to California. We processed seven hogs this year; we put sausage in the smokehouse that my husband Bruce built, and prepared hams and bacons for curing. It’s a two-day event that always takes place in January, when the weather is cold, and includes breakfast pastries and potluck lunches. We had about 30 family members and friends join us this year–it was a work party!

Country Boys

My husband Bruce, right, took our 12-year-old son John, left, and five of his friends on a farm tour a few days before Christmas, and they stopped to check out the Goose Pond. The pond is home to a few domestic geese that we acquired a couple years ago–eight geese had been displaced by a wildfire and our local animal shelter asked us if we could provide a body of water for the evacuated birds. The boys are standing on the levee that’s being rebuilt due to soil erosion following heavy spring rains. They didn’t stand around for long, however; they ran around the hills, explored the oak woodlands, viewed Golden Eagles and other wildlife, and thoroughly enjoyed being boys in the country. By the way, one boy’s mother said this photo looks like an album cover!

First Place in Winters Tractor Parade

Rominger Brothers Farms won first place in the 3rd Annual Winters Tractor Parade in the Farm Fresh category! Justin Rominger drove our tomato harvester down Main Street in Winters, California, on Saturday, Dec. 2nd, and was joined by some of our farm employees and friends. The annual event was a big success and continues to get bigger every year. Downtown Winters was packed with people who came to watch the lighted-tractor parade and tree-lighting ceremony, and many children enjoyed visiting with Santa Claus during his appearance at Rotary Park.

“Almond” or “Am-end”?

My husband Bruce, right, and his foreman, Juan Montano, are standing in a newly planted almond orchard near Davis, California. The varieties are Nonpareil, Wood Colony and Winters, and the first nut crop will be produced in 2020. Sierra Gold Nursery provided the trees, which are planted at a density of 132 trees per acre. The crew has been working hard to get all the trees in between the rains. Just remember that Northern California growers don’t say “almonds,” they say “am-ends” because during nut harvest they “knock the L out of ’em”!

Standing guard

These two oxen belong to my husband’s Uncle Stuart and Aunt Emily Rowe of Innisfail Ranch in Dixon, Calif. Each one of these big boys weighs more than a ton–they are huge! Oxen, which are castrated adult male cattle, are typically bigger than bulls. They were traditionally used as draft animals for plowing fields and hauling heavy loads. These two have an easier life, standing guard over the red-and-white Milking Shorthorn dairy cows in the adjacent corrals. Watch out for those horns!