In Northern California, north of San Francisco, and west of the city of Novato in Marin County is an area called ‘West Marin’. It is an area of great natural beauty.
Superlatives are overused these days. Yet the rolling grassy hillsides of West Marin call for them, as they are breathtakingly beautiful in the spring, one of the most evocative vistas I have ever seen in the world.
Rolling green pastureland is punctuated with rocky outcroppings, and groves of trees fill the gullies and some hilltops.
Wildflower grow in abundance in the Spring.
Barinaga Ranch is located in West Marin along Marshal-Petaluma Road.
It was founded by a woman of Basque heritage who wanted to raise sheep and make cheese in the traditional ways.
It comprises 800 acres near Marshall, California and Tomales Bay.
Marcia Barinaga makes it her business to know all her sheep and lambs.
Milking time, ten at a time. Happy sheep make good cheese.
I want to be next to be milked, please.
Sheep are individuals, some bigger, some smaller, with their own personalities and big, dark eyes.
This is Edie, the founding ewe of Barinaga Ranch.
These lambs were born in March 2016, and were weaned recently. Fleece as white as snow?
One of the younger lambs still nursing from mom.
Great Pyrenees dogs watch over the sheep and lambs and protect them from predators.
Bred over many years to guard sheep, they work in teams and are fiercely protective.
Would you want to challenge this big dog? Even mountain lions avoid them.
Notice the two lambs up atop the rock outcropping.
The Barinaga cheeses have won many awards.
Click to learn more about Barinaga Ranch
Fare thee well, West Marin and Barinaga Ranch…