Yet again the snow falls with another winter storm. This one will be small compared to the others, dropping only about 6 inches instead of a foot or more, but a storm none-the-less.
In our pursuit for more sustainability in our lives, my boyfriend and I spent the better part of our day at lambing clinic in Lee, New Hampshire, hosted by the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Growers. It was a fascinating day if you find talk about uteri, vaginas and birth canals interesting. Discussions did become a bit graphic even with a few young people in the audience but everyone took it in stride understanding that sometimes “things happen” and you need to be prepared for the worst.
After a great talk by Dr. Julie Hurley of New England Ovis, LLC, we were able to visit Woolmark Farm owned by Dwight and Sally Barney where there was lively discussion and demonstrations using their own Tunis and Border Leicester sheep.
Next to Carole from Miles Smith Farm, more friendlier people you could not want to meet than this group of individuals both seasoned shepherds and beginners alike. They were eager to answer our newbie questions, share insights and give advice, all of which they happily agreed would change depending on the person you spoke with.
In fact, I think the one positive thing I took away from this entire day is, “Do what you feel is right. If it works for you, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else.” Words to live by, I’m sure.
It was such a positive experience and everyone was so friendly and helpful that I can’t imagine not wanting to raise sheep and be a part of this group. This is exactly what I meant when I wrote my piece on Open Source Farming. This whole day, which included over 2 hours with a seasoned vet who raises sheep along with other shepherds and then 2 more hours at a farm to see pregnant ewes and babies all first hand, was completely free of charge.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause…and there are farmers out there who willingly (and happily) share their experiences and offer help to those who want to learn.
The next sheep event is the 39th Annual New Hampshire Sheep and Wool festival held at the Deerfield fairgrounds. I have already marked my calendar.
For now, I am sitting back and warming up from a day of being out in the cold. I have lots of notes to review and more research must be done to find the perfect sheep for us.