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Monday, March 19, 2012

Springtime in Staffa...

Not quite spring yet, but I think Mother Nature's been in hiding this winter...  Low to mid 20's is not hard to take in mid March, but I worry about a certain species who get the itch to hit the fields when we get too many days like this...  Nevertheless, there have been farm shows, meetings and barn destructions to help distract this specific creature.

The sheep barn project is coming along nicely.  Thinking finally the deconstruction has now crested into CONstruction...  I find out in a week if and when my possible mama ewes are going to lamb which is exciting!  Have been busy over the last couple of weeks with some farm shows and today the GFO Classic in London which was excellent.  I love listening to inspirational speakers...  today was a mix of marketers, policial writers, financial authors and advocators... my kind of day to spark the dawn of a new spring for farming.

Mark and I are looking forward to this coming season.  It is the beginning of our new journey together outside the family circle... scary, but exciting nonetheless...  Paperwork has been finalized and its official... Our new company is called Shepherd Creek Farms.  (which is a name we chose long before the sheep obsession... ironic eh??)  We've been blessed with the support of good friends and family as we make this shift.  Today I was reminded that we are in the most respected, and rewarding industries...  I just hope we can be proud of what we do, and remind our consumers that we do in fact love it to.

My view of the future sheep palace!!

Our inspiration...  Shepherd Creek...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sheep Shopping with my Cash Cropper...

Today was a first.  I actually visited a livestock facility WITH my hubster!!  We visited Wicketthorn Livestock just outside of Lambeth.  What a tour!!  This place has it all...  Initially, we had just gone to see what Craig had for sheep to fill our reno barn...  however, we were treated to the ultimate farm tour!  The sheep barn was awesome.  Craig went over the different breeds he had, and what type of traits to look for when starting up a flock.  Loving the Dorset, Suffolk, North Country breeds...  look like hearty and healthy ewes...  Thinking that a Texel ram may be in order as well...  The man of the hour who we were introduced to was 'Bob the Builder'...  a burley looking ram, who just so happens to have a lump on his poll resembling the cartoon character's hat!  Too funny...

From the sheep tour, we proceeded to what Craig refers to as the 'Funny Farm'...  here, his son Lloyd and wife Tina (with 5 active little farm kids...) have an awesome little variety of mini ponies, alpacas, mini pot-bellied pigs and some crazy birds taking their place in the empty pen...  Of course, each animal comes with a great story!  Sounds like these animals were a hit at the Western Fair in London, so check it out next year...  should be some more pet pigs running around!!

Wicketthorn is also a huge dairy facility (a little piece of heaven for me!!), so we got to see all those facilities as well...  Really cool rotary parlour!  All in all, a great tour!

Now to digest more info...  ouch, my brain hurts.

Shhhh...  I think the cash cropper may even like these animals...  :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Its a Wooly World...

So, progress is being made!  Our former pig barn sporting the latest 70's fashion in concrete and rebar is slowly being made over!  Our hired man Monty and I have been hard at work tearing off steal, conduit, rusty old penning, then finally all poured concrete pens on top of the floor.  Now, the fun part...  breaking out the floor...  Better call my chiro now!

In the meantime, I've been doing quite a bit of research.  Starting to realize people really don't like sheep.  Something like "you have to trick them into wanting to live" kind of dislike.  Sounds like a challenge to me!!      Am I freaking out a bit?  Yep.  But, I'm really excited about this industry.  Talked to some extremely helpful people and have seen a few barns... so that part I think we're figuring out!  Now I'm onto the breed selection part.  I've got my heart set on Dorsets.  But, the more I read about crossing with other breeds to get certain traits, the more baffled I get... So, this is my next segment of research.

Looks like the barn will only hold about 150 ewes, so this will be small enough to figure out the error of my ways, and big enough to get a feel for how many I really need to make a living...

I'm pumped about my new little journey.  The weird part is I thought I'd totally miss the chickens.  Truth is, after 13 years... I really don't.  How is it that we can convince ourselves that we love what we do, when in fact, we're just to timid to try something else.  In my case, I think I just didn't want to upset the apple cart.  Whatever the reason, I'm happy.  The apple cart has been tipped.  But its ok!  Life goes on...  We just change direction, we don't stop.