I was away, so this week’s note is from Mark…
Essex Farm Note
Week 7, 2012
If Kristin were writing this note this week all we would hear about would be sheep and sheep dogs. Since we first started farming here eight and a half years ago she has constantly entreated me to bring on the sheep. My response has almost always been snarky “…so that we can feed the coyotes?” “…because growing up lambs for meat is much cheaper than raising beef?” or more of a knife to her heart, “…so you can justify a livestock guardian dog?” Other farmers have given us their input, such as the 4S: sick sheep seldom survive, and the frequent stories of parasite problems. It just doesn’t make sense for the farm to offer lamb or mutton in the share. Therefore when Kristin first realized that her birthday present last week was 6 ewes and 4 lambs she almost squealed with joy. “Really?” “Really, Mark?” “SHEEP?” “Really?” And here they are.
If you go to the house to pick up your milk you can’t miss the newest addition to our menagerie. Spend a minute by the cobbed together fence next to the garage and you’ll likely see the biggest lamb standing on top of his mother, like a helicopter poised to lift off of a carrier. Wait a bit longer and the other sheep might line up alongside the first ewe in a weak defensive huddle. The lamb might hop from one back to the next, unmoved by strange visitors from outside the fence. If you wait a bit more you’ll notice that one of the bred ewes has a very different type of udder. Could it be? Of course, testicles. So we may have some gamey ram snack in the warming hut in the next few weeks.
And that is the news from Essex Farm for this home-alone 7th week of 2012. –Kristin & Mark Kimball