animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / favorites / RAISING SHEEP

Farm Fair report and the part I don’t like to talk about

08.03.16

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There’s a part of the county fair that I skim over every year. It’s one of the hardest parts of the fair for the girls, and for me. And it’s one of the parts that’s hardest for most people to understand. But at the same time, I think it’s one of the most unique and important pieces of the girls’ 4-H experience. Every year, I remind them of how important it is and how important their role in it is.

The reality is that the lambs we purchase in the spring for the 4-H lamb project are raised as market lambs. This means that they are usually wethers (castrated rams) and are raised to be sold for their meat. When you are raising them as a 4-H project, this means that at the end of the fair they are sold in the livestock auction.

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For 4-Hers and for my girls in particular, this comes with lots of responsibility and understanding. If there ever was an opportunity to understand and honor where your food comes from there’s not much that can be matched by raising it yourself. Not only are they learning about the sources of their food, they are playing an important part in the process. The lambs are treated with respect, kindness and gentleness. They are kept clean and healthy, exercised regularly and fed properly. They are nurtured and loved and for the several months that they are in our care, given the best home possible.

But despite the fact that we all know how this story is going to end, it doesn’t make it any easier. Hearts still manage to become entwined with these four-legged woolly animals that live in our barn.

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DAILY FARM LIFE / family / favorites / home / WAFFLE HILL FARM

The big news I should probably tell you

07.23.16

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It seems hard to believe that I’ve yet to share this huge news for our family with all of you. I think I’ve been pretty tight-lipped on the whole thing because there were so many steps leading up to it, so many things that needed to happen first, that I wasn’t letting myself get completely excited until I knew it was really, truly going to happen.

At the beginning of next month we will be leaving Woodlawn and moving just a few minutes up the road to my grandfather’s farm.

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I hinted at this on Instagram several weeks ago and so many people were stunned. After hearing the story of how we ended up at Woodlawn it was hard for them to believe that we’d be leaving. I totally understand.

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animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / favorites / RAISING SHEEP

The beginning of sheep story

06.06.16

Today’s live sheep shearing on Facebook got me all nostalgic. Before the shearer arrived, I found myself flipping through the files in my big, brown metal filing cabinet searching for the folder where I tucked away all the information on our sheep. Inside I found the registration papers and receipts I’ve tucked away for the last several years. Mostly, I was digging around for birthdates. In my head I’ve known that Penny was getting pretty old for a sheep, but I wanted to remember exactly how old. Nine years. The sweet girl–grandmother to some of the lambs on our farm–is starting her ninth year. You can see it in the sag of her hips and the softness of her eyes. She’s the one each morning who stays by my hip when we make the walk from the stalls in the barn out to the pasture. While everyone else runs ahead rebelliously to get a few mouthfuls of grass before we get to the field, she keeps her pace with mine. Always right beside. Quiet. Calm. She’s my sweet girl. 

Flipping through those papers and birth certificates and and sheep association memberships, I decided I needed to revisit how the lambs came to live with us. I’m so glad I took a moment to look back. Because some days it’s hard to see past much more than the morning chores and feed bills and middle-of-the-night worries. It was good for me to remember how long I patiently (and not so patiently) waited for my girls to have a small flock of sheep all their own. Just like me, when I was a little girl. 

Here’s the story of how it all came to be. 

There’s an old VHS video clip I have of my grandmother, walking out to her sheep in the pasture, “Hello, girls.” she calls to them in that voice I miss hearing. Immediately, they respond–a mix of warbled baa’s from lambs who have their lips pressed to the earth ripping out clumps of grass and others strong and clear who already noticed her coming. Deep throaty baa’s of mama ewes who know her voice so well.

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