As a newbie shepherd, I am ever so happy that I turned to Tammy White at Wing and a Prayer Farm to help me put together a small flock of sheep. Three of her chosen-for-me yearlings will be coming to the farm early this summer. I hoped to add three more, and so I dropped by Carole Foster’s farm for some guidance yesterday.
Carole has been shepherding for many years, and there’s nothing about sheep that she either does not know or has not experienced. And she is also kind and patient. In other words, the perfect person to turn to in order to ask all the questions I have about expanding my flock in a small way.
Her barns were exploding with mamas and their babies, mamas to be, a few rams looking rather pleased with themselves, and two llamas who regarded me with haughty suspicion. Every lamb seemed impossibly adorable, I wanted to take them all home…but for the fact that my barn is not quite ready and they are not yet weaned. I had initially thought that I would need yearlings (born last Spring) to complement those coming my way from Tammy, but Carole thought lambs would be a better idea: I would be able to bond with them early, and also enjoy the daily dose of cuteness overload that is living with lambs. I mean, just look at them!
I also had the chance to wander through Carole’s store of fleece (her sheep had just been sheared) to get a sense of the variations of color, luster, and crimp – those winter months of research came in handy because I was able to understand some of Carole’s points about those terms!
I had a lot to think about as I crossed over the slowly thawing Hudson River and made my way back into the rolling hills of Washington County, a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to look forward to, as well: