Wednesday, May 14, 2008

You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy....

Okay, I haven't been blogging very much but it isn't because I haven't been on the computer. I have. I have been obsessing about an idea that I got sometime in January or February when I tasted sheep cheese.

I have a great drive for self sufficiency and the things that have happened this year (soaring oil/gas and wheat prices) have only spurred on my self-sufficient dreams. Although we are not big milk drinkers past mother's milk in this family (the children, anyway - Dean and I were both raised on the 'necessity' of cow milk) we do consume cheese and butter. I dislike supporting the industrial dairy industry so I have been leaning towards getting a goat. The thing is, I don't really care for the taste of goat milk - either straight or used in cooking. I like goat cheese with certain things but not for everything that I like cheese for. And there are real downsides to having a goat - like keeping a billy goat which you can smell from 100 yards away... and they get into everything and out of everything....

Then, in Nature's Fare, right beside the goat cheese was a little package of sheep cheese.... and I LOVED it! No tangy goat flavour. And I started investigating milk sheep. Not as rare as I had believed. They are reported to be the first domesticated animal and the first one that was ever milked. And it turns out that my very favourite kind of wool (lopi) is shorn from an excellent milk sheep - Icelandic sheep. Which have been bred to survive in the harsh climate of Iceland with minimal help from humans. They are great foragers and only need grass hay to survive the winter. They need not shelter even in the worst of conditions. Icelandic sheep have many of their more natural instincts intact. One of the shepherds I have spoken to over the last couple of weeks told me that she watched her sheep chase a coyote out of the field.

I have been sheep dreaming. I have been surfing the internet, locating breeders of Icelandic sheep, sending e-mails, staring a pictures of lambs and sheep, sending more e-mails, making phone calls and reading articles.

So, I've done it. I've made a plan to have 5 sheep by the end of the summer - 3 ewes, 1 ram and 1 wether (castrated ram).

If you are interested, here are some BC breeders:

This one is in Grinrod. I'm going to visit on Saturday. I hope to pick out a 1 - 2 year old ewe. Hers are unregistered (and she also grows spelt!)

This one is in Chase. I'm going to see these the week end after and I plan to choose a wether and a ewe lamb. These were bred later so won't be able to come here until August.

This place is in Creston. I had almost settled on one of her ewes. They are very cute! And she is a veritable fount of information.

And the one I have made arrangements with for sure has no website but she has sent me these pictures. I'll be picking these up in July.

The first two I have settled on for sure are these two.














The lamb in the forefront is a ram lamb that will be roaming our fields. And in the picture on the right it is the wee white ewe lamb - one of a triplet who will come with him to our acres.

Rhiannon and I have decided that we are honestly and truly a farm now. We figure we need a farm name. She has settled on Sheep Blossom Farm and has drawn a picture of a sheep inside a blossom with red lips from eating cherries for our sign...

But it just may be a lunatic you're lookin' for... (another Billy Joel reference that only Heather will get)

12 comments:

Heather said...

Yup, as soon as I read the title of the post I thought - Oh-oh what has she done? :-) So, now you will be self-sufficient in cheese, milk and wool too. Very cool! I will look forward to seeing some shearing pictures next year. Love the farm name too.

Laura said...

hey i know that whole song off by heart! i'm so excited that you are getting sheep! i had a long ago dream of having sheep one day. think of all the wool you'll have! lopi wool! can i buy some off you cheap? can i?

Andrea said...

Well, Laura, you don't count. You were subjected to it by your older brother and sister. Glass Houses came out when you were only 5 after all...

Mary-Sue said...

oh come on, we ALL know that song by heart!
I'm excitd to see these little sheepies too, and I"m hoping they're really good at being tethered!!

Amanda said...

A little eccentric maybe, but not crazy. ;-) How cool! I think it will be great to have sheep.

Caroline said...

Yup, I know that song too. I was practically raised with Billy Joel music, cranked, thanks to my dad...good times...
The sheep look so cute. I did not know one could drink sheep milk.

Now that song is in my head...

Laura said...

also as a teenager i stole doug's billy joel tape and played it over and over and over and over, that and john's chirs de burgh tape, hehe

Dragonflydownunder said...

Be sure to try 'milking' before you buy... because you will be doing it twice a day....for a long time!

bum.by.the.sea said...

I know that song off by heart too, hello! I can't believe you're getting sheep and making cheese and stuff! that's so exciting!! I've had a dream to do that
(when I could) for so long. Let me come visit, I'll help and learn :D

Andrea said...

LET you visit? What is with that? More like I've been trying to GET you to visit for YEARS!!! Come anytime and learn with me. When are you going to France? I'm picking these up from Sooke in July, wanna come?

sheila said...

You're going to be in Sooke? Well, I hope you're going to visit me, Andrea, even with all my heathenish ways.

Flannelberry said...

Hi Andrea,

I was so surprised to see anything about our place here! Thanks for the plug, much appreciated.

I know you will be very happy with the Hekla ram (on the left). That is a lovely line - and would have been too closely related to Fritha for breeding. So, all worked out.

Have lots of fun!

Colleen