We’ve been busy. Here are the top 5 things you need to know.
Sometimes, social media can’t keep up with the speed of life. We’re still here, doing our thing. Promise. A lot has happened in the past few months. A lot. To catch you up, here’s a handy list. A Top Five, if you will. In no particular order.
1. Lots of lambs
We weaned off our largest lambing group to date — courtesy of the highest lambing percentage ever — at the end of June. More than 350 lambs. Yes, it was a noisy week.
We’ve got some wonderful ewe lambs for sale. We’ve got folks lining up for their starter ewes and flock additions; get in touch to get yours.
And we have lots of lamb for your culinary needs this summer, and standing butcher appointments at a USDA inspected local processor. Custom and retail cuts, at your service. Get in touch!
We had to say goodbye to an old stalwart on the farm, our standard jennet, Sarah. She came here as a young adult, in the early 2000s, and was a wonderful part of our farm menagerie. She spent many years with the main flock and her later years watching over the young replacement ewes. We miss her sweet, gentle presence.
She is pictured with our departed Great Pyrenees, Bruno, in our favorite photo of her. They were fast friends.
3. All (the big[er]) creatures
We have been working hard to build in some diversity on the farm, to improve forages and soil health. As much as we like a good steak, from beef raised on our farm, we don’t want to expand into a larger cattle operation. So, we’ve decided to focus on the next best thing: building a miniature donkey herd. Of course.
Equines have similar impacts on parasites as cattle, and they graze differently than sheep. Their manure also carries different nutrients. And mini donkeys, in particular, are a unique genetic pool, efficient and hardy — and cute and smart as heck, to boot.
Our two yearling mini jennets, LaVerne and Shirley, have fit into our motley crew like a glove, since they arrived nine months ago. They follow our young ewes on their rotations, helping to strip down some of the taller, stringier growth after the sheep have moved through. They love the livestock guardian dogs and often play with Punica, who watches over the young ewes and spends time hanging out with the donkeys as well.
We have a deposit down on another mini jennet to add to the herd later this year. If all goes well, we will usher in 2021 with our newest BHF wee donk, Elvira.
And don’t look now, but we might even be adding other species in the near future. Rhymes with “moats.” (cough) And “figs.” (cough cough)
4. All (the small) creatures
We are not bird lovers. But we do not like bugs either. Birds, on the other hand, love bugs. Hence, the making of a possibly OK relationship. Maybe?
In June, we added some chickens, guinea hens and muscovy ducks. The goal is to have a fleet of enthusiastic bug eaters scouring the barnyards. We’re ambivalent to the possibility of eggs to eat; we’d rather see more wee babes hatched and take on the massive task.
5. Welcome, Fantasma
Meet Fantasma of the Seventh Golden City, known as “Fanny,” a four month old Turkish livestock guardian pup. You’ll have to forgive us for not making a huge deal at the time — she arrived just before the chaos of weaning and breeding and moving sheep around to different pastures.
She settled right in though. She is impressive in her ability to roll with anything. Fourteen hour car ride from Maine to Ohio. Check. Meet mini donkeys for the first time and pal around with them. Check. Get kisses from ducks. Check. Lick noses of sheep, large and small. Check. Hang with her cat posse. Check. Wrassle with Puck, 9 month old border collie, and shadow her Aunty Maya, Big Sis Punica and Uncle Archer. Check. Road trips to Tractor Supply and friends’ barbecues. Check.
Interestingly, she may be our bird guardian in the making. She is already proving to be gentle and sensitive around the birds. Don’t be fooled though. She promises to be a sassy, intelligent, athletic powerhouse. We’d expect nothing less of our livestock guardians.