Readers describe their experiences with keeping a flock of Suffolk sheep over the years on their family farm.
We just finished our lambing season here on Old Home Farm, with the arrival of two sets of triplets from my two special pets, Stormy and Ivory. We time our lambing season for January every year, because we find they do better in colder weather. There’s nothing like sitting in a barn holding a new lamb wearing a little coat while my husband checks over the ewe and gives her shots by the light of a lantern. The smell of hay, the golden light, and the warm lamb make it so cozy I don’t even feel the cold.
For the last 12 years we have maintained a flock of mostly pure Suffolk sheep. Stormy (our brown ewe) is a cross between a Suffolk ram and a Barbados ewe. Ivory is a cross between the Suffolk ram and a Romney ewe. They are our only cross breeds, and I love them. We used to have about 40 head, but we’ve downsized to 11 ewes and the ram because we’ve decided to go to a hair breed. With the climate change and our increasing age, it’s no longer easy to raise wool sheep.
My husband does all of his own shearing, which is beginning to wear on him, and the increasing temperatures are hard on the sheep. So, beginning this spring, we are going to buy some hair lambs and make a slow transition. I’ll be keeping Stormy and Ivory, though, and a ewe from each.
We are four generations in on our homestead. My son and his family live in a house here on the property, too, and my daughter-in-law home schools their children. We have sheep, horses, chickens, guineas, heritage turkeys, and always a pig for butchering. We had goats until recently, but milking became too much for us. We have a nice garden of raised beds and a composter (my husband’s pride and joy), and he is building me a greenhouse in the corner of the garden. I’m experimenting with carrots this year after reading about the woman who starts planting them in January and covers them with straw. And my husband is going to try straw-bale gardening this year.
We work outside of the home, but every day when we come home and do the evening chores, we thank God for the life we live. If I didn’t have this place to come home to after a day of stress at my job, I’d go crazy. Seeing my grandchildren growing up here makes it even better. My wonderful daughter-in-law and grandchildren take care of things since they’re home all day. It’s a real family operation.
Anyway, you always say you would like to know what your readers are up to, so now you know all about my family. I love your magazines. Thank you to your entire staff for the wonderful reading.
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