Five Marys Farms

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There’s always a silver lining to look for and tonight it was these twin lambs born during the time we moved the whole herd to safer ground across the road in the barn. She’s a great momma and these three are sleeping soundly by the house tonight. 💤 🙏🏼
#ranchlifeishard #silverlining #m5sheep #fivemarysfarms


We worked together and finally got all of the momma sheep and their lambs (including the stubborn ones who did NOT want to cross that ditch this morning!) off the hill, across the road, through the pastures and safely into the barn yard for the night.
We will take turns on watch in the pen again tonight, but when we do sleep we will sleep better knowing they are right across the road in the barnyard.
(and one sweet momma gave birth to little black twin lambs during all the commotion! That new little family will sleep next to the house in the bottle baby pen tonight) 🐑👶🏼👶🏼
#ranchlife #fivemarys #mommasdamnsheep


We had 18 more sheep killed the past two nights, bringing the total lost well above 30. It’s just awful to see this happening.
We have been working so hard on this - working with multiple wildlife specialists for the past five days, we added a higher hot fence around the whole pen, we set up cameras, the dogs were in there patrolling and Brian stayed up last night keeping watch on the herd from sundown until 3am. The predators we are currently dealing with seem to be particularly bold.
Two lambs were killed between 3-5am, the only time Brian wasn’t in the pen.
It seems to be a combination of a bear and a mountain lion from what the wildlife specialists think.
We’re resorting to moving the whole herd around the house now to keep them safe (safer) until we can get this predator issue under control.
We put them on the hill to keep them as safe and dry as possible in the winter and early spring and it’s worked so well until now.
But it’s part of ranching to adapt and change what you’re doing to keep your animals health and safety as first priority, despite changing conditions.
Apex predators really throw a wrench in things especially when they seem to converge at once and are killing for sport (not eating their kill) something we’ve never faced before.
We did have a wolf on our property last month, one of the first to enter California, which caused us to change some of our practices. It might be just coincidence but we’ve never had a problem with bears killing our livestock until we buried our dead pile last month, a practice suggested to keep wolves from settling on the ranch.
Brian questioned what this would do to the bears’ need to look elsewhere for a food source (the “dead pile” is way up on our mountain and is just what it sounds for livestock that die on the ranch, and seemed in the past to be a natural solution to the cycle of life.)
We will keep adjusting what we do to protect our flock as best we can, today that means letting them graze our front yard and staying close to the house with us. It’s heartbreaking, especially to see Brian working around the clock to protect this herd and feeling so defeated when our best still isn’t good enough.


Gives a whole new meaning to the term bottle baby. 🍼😎
(sorry Dribbles, you’re not 21 yet - but you couldn’t get enough of the attention from the girls/guests pampering you with a nest of pillow and sunglasses this afternoon. I think Dribbles the Bummer Lamb loves camp too.)
#toocoolforschool #bottlebaby #m5babies #retreatfun


River walk with this fun crew of girls at Camp Five Marys! They’ve been catching frogs and riding ponies and having a grand old time. Next up: pie baking class from a true expert pie maker!
#campfivemarys #fivemarysretreats #fivemarysfarms


The broody hen who laid nine eggs in the roadside egg stand and sat diligently for the past few weeks finally hatched chicks!! 5 little chicks under her with 4 eggs unhatched but I’ll check again in a bit too see if any more hatched. Good job momma hen!
#babychicks #springtimebabies #m5babies #fivemarys


It doesn’t take long for the girls’ to convince the campers to kick off their shoes and jump in the closest pond.
We’ve had a busy afternoon, almost time for cocktail hour and camp dinner!
#campfivemarys #fivemarysretreats #motherdaughter #fivemarys


These girls are ready for camp! These horses are not so sure. 🙃 Our first Mother-Daughter retreat starts this afternoon and we are ready for all the fun, good food, cocktails, cooking and camping!
#campfivemarys #fivemarysretreats #m5minis


Ranch life is hard some days (this is an old picture of another hard day, I didn’t take any suitable for posting this morning).
We had an attack last night in the sheep herd and lost 5 lambs and 1 momma ewe. They were all brutally killed and left for dead, only one was actually eaten.
Signs point to a mountain lion based on a fresh track and the teeth marks, but we’re not certain yet.
Beau was up around camp in the mountains last night and Buck was at the house, but neither dog heard the commotion I guess.
It can be harder for dogs to patrol large areas for mountain lions because they are often solo and more stealthy, unlike coyotes which are often in packs and loud.
We have the sheep in very secure fencing to keep predators out, but whatever killed these sheep last night scaled the fence with a dead sheep (we found wool left on the top of the fence) and ate it outside.
We are working with a USDA wildlife specialist to determine if it was indeed a mountain lion and working on a plan to mitigate the likelihood of this happening again.
Ugh, predators can be a real threat, financially and emotionally, and it’s a very hard part of ranch life.
#ranchlifeishard #ripsheep


It’s a cloudy spring rain day around here but the bunkhouse is cozy and ready to welcome two of our three summer guest workers! It’s not fancy and has one tiny bathroom off the back in the added on kitchen (it was built without running water) but from what we can tell these girls joining our team this summer are hard-working, no-frills gals!
I’ll introduce them when they get here but we have one coming as a guest chef at the restaurant, one to help on the ranch and in my Farm Store with shipping operations and one to help with retreats and hospitality. We are all excited to meet them!
#m5bunkhouse #maisieheff #moodyday #ranchlife #teamfivemarys #M5interns #summerranchlife #fivemarys


It was a team effort all around today. The girls and Johnny were a huge help working calves through the corrals to get everybody weighed out and given their spring vaccinations (to protect against things like pneumonia and pink eye), a very important part of cattle health!
Johnny is our only ranch hand and a very important part of this operation. He does a great job caring about and treating our cattle as calmly and gently as Brian and the girls do. (and hate to tell you Johnny but Francie is for sure creeping up in your height based on this picture!!)
#ranchlife #workingcows #myfourmarys @heffbrian @madlucha #fivemarys


We are all busy working cows this morning in the corrals! (in totally appropriate footwear 😜)
#ranchlife #ohjjstyle #tinytess #fivemarys


What a day! And it’s not over yet, Brian has to trek to Medford (1.5 hrs north) tonight to pick up poor Hailey (my right hand gal!) and the dry ice for tomorrow’s shipping when our sprinter van gave her some car trouble and left her stranded.
But I got the girls to their 4H meeting and finished chores by myself and was cleaning up the bunkhouse for the summer interns arriving this week when I stood up to see this beautiful sky/scene out the second floor window of the bunkhouse.
Even the crappiest days have so much beauty in them!!


The girls are so proud that their first cow moving on horseback operation went off without a hitch. They tables up last night for a sunset ride (while I took a very late afternoon nap!) and can’t wait to do it again.
The way we have our pastures set up it’s very easy to move cattle on 4-wheelers, but I think these girls are hooked on horseback and there’s no turning back. Now I just need a horse to join them!
#fivemarys #myfourmarys #cowgirlup


Morning momma cows in the mist... it’s always so nice to have them back out on green grass grazing the pastures all day after a winter of feeding alfalfa twice a day, up to 100 heavy bales a day.
But last night one of them snuck through a pivot gate into the alfalfa fields and Brian went out there to get her back on the pasture grass. While he was getting her in, the entire herd of cows and calves stampeded the gate into the alfalfa too!! They have so much lush green pasture grass right now there’s no reason they should be looking for feed but it’s true what they say - “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!” It took him about an hour out there but he got them all back in before bedtime.
(*alfalfa has a high protein content when it’s growing and cows shouldn’t eat too much of it while it’s growing or it causes a frothy gas to foam in their rumen/stomach which can quickly bloat them up so severely it can suffocate their airway and they die.
Alfalfa is a great winter feed though because it’s so high in protein and rich in nutrients, after we harvest it the protein that causes bloat breaks down and it’s safe to fed them.)
#fivemaryscows #mommacows #springgrasses #alfalfa #fivemarysfarms


Success for the girls their first time moving cows with their horses! We had to move some steers across the pastures into a new spot on the hill and it was a great opportunity for the girls to saddle up and try their hand at cowgirling. Even Tess got to ride her mini with a little help from our ranch guests!
The girls did great and worked slow and steady to move the steers right where they needed to be. The first of many hopefully!
#horsesontheranch #myfourmarys #cowgirlup #prettiestsky #aprilthedreampony #dominothepaint #chimmietheranchhorse #fivemarysfarms


Mothering this crew is pretty stellar, but they teach me and help me more than I do them!
My ebook on raising strong, capable, independent kids and our story of picking up and moving to the country is on sale for one more day, grab it for $9 and sneak in a little Mother’s Day weekend quiet time to read it with a cup of coffee... or a Sidecar!
Link in my profile to download the ebook!
#cheers #theycandoit #theycandoitbook #myfourmarys #fivemarysstory #fivemarysfarms


Throwback to the itty-bittiest calf we ever did see. Came in as a bottle baby and left a big strong calf back out on pasture! 🐃🍼♥️
#fivemarys #m5babies #throwback #bottlebaby #bummercalf #fivemarysfarms


Five Marys Takeover 🧡 Thanks for following along with our @fivemarysfarms takeover and Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Moms our there!
As a mom of four strong, tough, independent girls who work hard on the ranch with us - we proudly wear our favorite Carhartt’s everyday. It’s more than a brand, it represents a hard working lifestyle and we are honored to be a part of the Carhartt family.
For more Five Marys Farms stories you can catch up with our daily ranch life at @fivemarysfarms. 🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡
#fivemarysfarms #fivemarystakeover #mothersday #allhailmom #carharttkids #carhartttough #fivemarys


Five Marys Takeover 🧡 Calving and lambing season and new litters of baby piglets are just about the best thing ever! Usually our momma cows, sows and ewes do a fantastic job mothering their babies, but sometimes we have an orphan or an abandoned twin. The “bummers” or bottle babies get brought in to be taken care of by their adoptive moms - the Five Marys.
🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡 @fivemarysfarms
#fivemarystakeover #fivemarysfarms #M5babies #bummerbabies #fivemarys


Five Marys Takeover 🧡 As we grew our beef, pork and lamb programs on the ranch and had enough of our meats to share, we started selling them by-the-cut to friends and family.
We’d set up “Farm Stands” in backyards of friends and family members in the Bay Area to cook up our ranch raised meats and sell packages of beef, pork, lamb, fresh eggs, honey and our favorite spices to friends.
Soon, we decided we didn’t want to have to leave the ranch more than we had to (it was becoming much more difficult the more animals we had under our care!) so we bought an old building in town to fix up as a Farm Store and shipping operation. It’s just me and a right-hand shop gal and the girls helping, but we get hundreds of boxes out a month from our efficient little set up!
Now, we ship our ranch raised meats right from this shop to our loyal customers all over the US - from California to New York, Alaska to Hawaii! We use custom insulated boxes branded with our M5 cattle brand and add dry ice with the meats, arriving to your doorstep overnight right from Fort Jones.
Shipping our premium meats directly to customers (never any distributors or middle men!) allows us to know our customers and pack custom orders just for them, either as part of our monthly Farm Club program or just when they want to place an order - and allows us to spend the majority of our time right here on the ranch caring for our animals and keeping busy with the never ending list of Five Marys projects!
🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡 @fivemarysfarms
#shopfivemarys #fivemarysfarms #fivemarystakeover #fivemarys story #fivemarysxcarhartt


Success stories in the barnyard today! Buddy the Bottle Baby is hanging out over here now since he got too big to wander around the yard (and walk right in the kitchen!) but Tess still wants to show him at the fair for 4H so she’s working with him in the barnyard.
And the surprise TWINS are both strong and nursing on their own! The momma finally accepted them both after a week of working with her.
Such a happy sight to see!
(Buddy was likely a twin born last October and abandoned by his mother for a stronger twin. He became our only bottle feeder of the season and now pretty much a pet. We are grateful this momma is doing her job times two though, bottle calves are a lot of work!)
#fivemarys #m5babies #buddythebottlecalf #calfd112 #buddyandtess #buddythebummercalf


Five Marys Takeover 🧡 We had lots of guidance and advice setting up our operation from people who have been doing this a lot longer than us. Cattle and hay ranching takes knowledge, skill, intelligence and hard work and we couldn’t have made the move without wise advice from seasoned ranchers.
But as we learn and grow, the obstacles become fewer and the rewards become greater.
Today, we are very proud of our black angus cattle herd with strong genetics for superior flavor and marbling and a feed program that produces super high quality beef that we share with customers all over the US.
We go the extra miles for the best possible care and attention we can give to our animals their whole lives, an extended finishing time on high quality natural feed and a 21 to 28-day dry-age.
Our customers tell us our beef is the best they’ve ever tasted - and that makes all the hard work worth it!
🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡 @fivemarysfarms
#fivemarystakeover #fivemarysxcarhartt #myfourmarys #fivemarysstory #shopfivemarys #dryagedbeef #familyraised #allnatural #fivemarys


The intersection of ranch life and motherhood - living this lifestyle has changed so much about how I parent and my expectations for my girls. We are all stronger and more capable because of it.
My eBook “They Can Do It. What I’ve Learned About Raising Kids by Moving to the Country” is on sale for $9 in honor of Mother’s Day! Link in my profile to order, now through Sunday.
#theycandoit #theycandoitbook #ranchlife #motherhood #mothersday #fivemarys


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