As I shared at the end of December, for Christmas my husband adopted a sheep for me. The story goes that there are a lot of places where you can adopt a sheep or purchase a fleece, but my husband got it in his mind that it would be really neat if he could find such a program locally where we could actually go and visit the farm. That’s how he found Windridge Fiber Farm. On Christmas Day I opened a box which contained a letter from the farm that told me about my sheep, photo notecards, and — my husband’s addition — a bottle of Sheep Dip.I’ll admit, I was so surprised that it took some time to sink in exactly how cool this was. I went to the refrigerator and put one of the cards up on the side near the stove where I see it every time I cook or make tea. She was in her first year and had yet to be named and the farm generously let me do the honors. After seeing this photo…
I suggested ‘Annie’ — partly because my sheep had been orphaned and partly because she had those adorable little white socks. And that became her name.
While I was corresponding with Tami — the farm is run by Tami & her husband — about Annie’s name, I inquired about visiting and she recommended we come during lambing to see all the little ones. After months of following the farm’s newsletter — a perk of the Adopt-A-Sheep program that I absolutely love — our schedules finally synced up last week Wednesday and my family & I climbed into the car for a trip to the Windridge Fiber Farm.
First, I have to say that the landscape where the farm is located is absolutely beautiful. It’s nestled in steep, rolling hills through which the wind really does whip. Surrounded by farms that are only broken up by a couple winding highways and small wooded stands, I can scarcely imagine a prettier setting. When we arrived it was still cold, but the sun was shining and the birds were singing and we were welcomed by Tami, Sky – the farm’s very charismatic collie, and the adorable retiree, Sadie. Sadie is one of the original ewes of this herd and is about 15years old. Because she’s older and has some trouble muscling in for hay with the other sheep, she spends a fair bit of the winter months around the yard where Tami can feed her individually to make sure she gets enough. She enjoys free rein of the farm, shuffling about where ever her heart desires and really looks so very comfortable and happy doing so. She is such a great example of how much this farm really cares about its animals which certainly makes us feel good about adopting a sheep here.
After introductions, Tami took us back to the lambing shed. Thankful for a much easier lambing season than last year’s epic cold, the farm welcomed 63 lambs this spring and they are only waiting on one ewe who is taking her sweet time. We were extremely lucky in that the first thing we got to do was bottle feed a couple the younger lambs.
These two little ones were in the process of being weened from the bottle which made them especially greedy. The kids could barely stop laughing as the lambs hungrily guzzled their bottles. It was impossible to not fall instantly in love with the little black lamb as he has been having an issue with his leg and he gets around on just three legs, but really, let’s me honest here. Lambs in general are pretty freaking adorable no matter what (I say this just in case your heart has turned to stone and you needed that pointed out).
We got to see Annie & her little black lamb. They were a little bashful, but Tami said that Annie was a very good mother which is awesome. She wasn’t quite sure if Annie would be sheered later that week or in the fall with the lambs. She was sheared last fall and because of her breed her fleece grows a little slower. Obviously, I don’t mind either way. I’m just happy she’s happy & healthy and I know eventually I’ll get to spin & knit with her beautiful wool.
And while I talked with Tami about the herd and the farm in general, we got to see for ourselves that lambs really do like to sit and stand on their older counterparts and will readily help them out with that stray bit of hay stuck to their back.
In addition to touching and feed the sheep & lambs, Tami let the kids see the farm’s ducks and geese as well as two different kinds of chickens and we learned that you can tell the color of the eggs a chicken will lay by the color of its ears. And what a chicken ear looks like. As someone pretty unfamiliar with raising chickens, that was news to me. I am really so thankful for the warm reception and just how great Tami was in taking time with us and with the kids.
It was so special to the kids that when we stopped for dinner on the way home, my son was walking with me and said, “I know today was for you, mom, so you could meet your sheep, but I think it ended up being for me and Delia, too. We really liked visiting the farm and getting to meet all the animals and play with Sky. Yeah, that farm is pretty cool.” I can’t ask for much more than that!
Many thanks to Windridge Fiber Farm for letting us visit and for making it such a special afternoon!