Blog

Winter’s Coming….. We had our first hard frost of the year last night. Although I knew it was coming, I still get anxious when I look out the window and the world is white. I never seem to be ready. Every year I feel like we are not ready, even though we are in far better shape than a year ago or five. I failed to clean out my garden…that is the big fail this year. Not all of my animals have shelter….another big fail in my mind. The good news is that the hay is in the barn and …

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Heritage Breed Addiction

That’s right folks! Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. So here it is….I have a serious addiction to heritage livestock breeds. Why? There are lots of reasons. I love rare breeds of animals – which is why I dedicated much of my adult life to protecting and conserving rare wildlife species. With a big shift in my life and my career, I now find myself applying that same passion to rare livestock breeds. I’m so in love with my little black sheep. They just make me happy by existing. I initially got these sheep because …

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Parasite management – Resistance is futile…. Parasite management is a concern for anyone raising livestock.  Coming from a horse and cattle background, frequent treatment for internal parasites was the norm for me.  We commonly dewormed our cows several times a year.  The horses were dewormed fall and spring.  I don’t remember anyone ever talking about resistance to these drugs being an issue, although in cattle it is now becoming one.  The first year we had our sheep, when I consulted my veterinarian about what dewormer to administer, he cautioned me about the potential for drug resistance to form without careful …

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Pod Casts and Such

I was so excited to be asked to participate in a series of podcasts about raising heritage sheep.  I’ve never done an interview for a podcast before.   It was actually a lot of fun.  I didn’t realize how excited and energetic I get when talking about sustainable farming, sheep, and our plans for the future.  If you are interested in learning a lot more about me and the farm – my interview is here https://anchor.fm/deerlywoven.  I listened to the other five episodes before I did the interview.  I was struck by how many of the stories were so similar to …

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To LGD or not to LGD

That IS the question…… We have been discussing whether or not to embark on the Livestock Guardian Dog adventure or not.  There are many angles to consider and adding an LGD to your farming operation is a big committment.  We have finally landed on adding an LGD but I wanted to share our thought process and some resources we have consulted in making this important decision. Do we need a LGD? At this point, we haven’t lost any sheep to predators (knock on wood!).  So, weighing out the additional cost and responsibility versus the financial risk of not having protection …

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Thankfulness

Whoa!  Where did November go? We had a crazy month!  Matt went to a solar class in Los Angeles, I went to Africa for 3 weeks on a trip of a lifetime (more on that later) and we lost our beloved ranch mascot Angus.  It was a roller coaster of emotions.  I’m still processing the grief over losing my baby (5 years old!) to bone cancer.  Life does indeed go on, but it will certainly look different now. Enough about sadness, let’s get thankful. The weather has been very mild, thankfully!  We have been able to get a number of …

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What I love about wool

Given a certain animal rights group’s campaign against wool these days, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I love wool. First lets talk about sheep.  My sheep have a really great life.  In fact, I think the horses are probably jealous of their nice sturdy, dry, warm barn when  the wind is howling and it is below freezing – don’t worry, we are working on that.  They have food in front of them 24 hours a day and all the fresh  water they can drink.  They freely roam, choosing whether to be outside or inside.  A sturdy fence and …

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Heritage Breed Conference

Last weekend I attended the Heritage Breed Conference in Santa Rosa, California.  This conference is hosted by the Livestock Conservancy and this year it was ‘Everything Sheep’.  I attended some great field trips and workshops – including one on targeted grazing.  I learned so much about pasture management and intensive grazing, lots to implement on the farm in upcoming years.  The talks were very informative, covering everything from marketing to shearing to livestock guardian dogs.  Every one of them seemed to have a topic that was applicable to me.  There were great opportunities to network with other sheep lovers, exchanging …

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Reflections

What happened to fall? Actually, what happened to 2019? As usual we had a lot of farm projects planned for the year.  We use a quarterly planning method where we sit down at the beginning of each quarter and list the things we want to accomplish.  If there are any unfinished tasks from the previous quarter (duh! always!), we decide whether we want to carry them over or postpone them.  We also take time to talk about the things we DID get done and give ourselves a proverbial ‘pat on the back’.  Overall we did pretty well – we got …

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Shave Em to Save Em

We are so excited to be participating in the Shave Em to Save Em program through the Livestock Conservancy.  This initiative links producers of rare fiber breeds with fiber artists in order to bring attention to the conservation of heritage livestock breeds. What is a heritage breed?  Heritage livestock breeds are those animals that were raised by the early settlers of our lands.  They are from all over the world and represent a critical piece of history for their country of origin.  These breeds are facing extinction in part due to commercial farming practices which cross breed for specific traits.  …

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