It started with a wheel

Once the mares and foals were settled in and happy, we started to focus on what our farm would eventually look like. We attended a course hosted by the University of Idaho extension and Rural Roots called ‘Starting a sustainable farm in Idaho’. This was a series of six Saturday sessions where instructors guided us through developing a whole farm plan.

The whole farm plan was a comprehensive description of all the parts of the farm. The plan is meant to be a living document updated regularly and we have done that. Through this process, farmers draw up a site plan with infrastructure, set goals, and decide what products the farm will grow/raise. There are financial assessments, asset and need descriptions, and long, short and medium term goals.

For our main product, we chose sheep. There were several reasons for this choice. With sheep, you get multiple products from a single animal – wool, meat, breeding stock, dairy, horn. But the main reason we chose sheep was because of a spinning wheel.

I have been a knitter for many years. My husband bought me a spinning wheel for my birthday in 2015 or 2016. A Schacht ladybug which is the wheel that I still use. I really wanted to have my own fiber from my own sheep to spin into wool and then turn into clothes. From sheep to sweaters so to speak.

Being a lover of rare breeds and black animals, I began to research sheep breeds. I found Black Welsh Mountain sheep and fell in love. More than that – they were a good fit for our homestead. Small, sturdy, hardy, easy lambers, good mothers, multi-purpose sheep. They are also elegant, kind, smart, silly, and endearing.

I found a lovely flock with lambs for sale in Washington state and bought my starter flock of two ewes, a ram and a wether. Now we needed to build a sheep barn!

In the beginning…..

There was just land.

We purchased bare ground in October 2015. We had 9 horses, two of them were pregnant mares due in April.

There was no shelter, no water, no fences. But we had to move because our farm in Southeastern Idaho sold. We quickly put up enough fence to hold the horses over the winter, had a well drilled, stacked our hay under a tarp (more on that later) and called it good. Three trips with the horse trailer and all the horses were relocated to their new home in North Idaho. We bought a small house in town to live in for the short term.

Miraculously, it was warm enough (and the ground was solid enough) in February to start building a shelter for the girls to foal in. Just in time. Calypso arrived on April 3 and Bijou on April 28. And so it began. This little shelter is now part of our big barn which houses our home and future farm store.

We’re Back!

After losing my entire website earlier this year and not having time to fix it – we are finally back online. Stay tuned for the rebuild of previous blog posts and new ones!