ABOUT ME: My name is Brit. For the last 30 years, I've had a successful career in the environmental
and agricultural laboratory business, but all my life I wanted to be a farmer. If I couldn't be a farmer, or marry
a farmer, I wanted to live on a farm. As soon as I was on my own and could choose where I lived, I always chose rural
properties. I loved everything about rural living (except when the well went dry and I had to haul water).
In 2000, at the ripe old age of 44, I purchased my very own small farm. I spent the next 8 years reclaiming
the fields, landscaping the yard, installing fences, painting the 100 year old house, raising pastured poultry and laying
hens, and just generally making improvements to the property.
In 2008, I purchased my first sheep, a pair of wethers from Colonial Williamsburg. I wasn't
sure that they would work out, or that the fences were secure enough to keep out coyotes, or that I would even like raising
sheep. It took all of one day for me to fall totally in love with these sheep. They quickly learned to recognize me,
they had the beautiful, shiny fleece the breed is known for, and they had gentle personalities. I was hooked.
In 2009, I purchased a starter flock from Hopping Acres.
The sheep adjusted to their new home, the weather cooperated which helped the pasture to grow well, and the fences (along
with the llamas) kept the predators at bay. The ram was turned in with the ewes five months before the desired lambing
date, and it became quickly obvious that the ewes were pregnant. All the sheep did well during an exceptionally snowy
winter, and in spring of 2010 the first lambs arrived. It was very exciting! Four ewes gave birth to three sets
of twins and one set of triplets. Fortunately, all the ewes were good mothers, and just one of the triplets needed supplementation
with a bottle. The lambs did well all summer. In the fall, the ram lambs were sold locally for meat, and the ewe
lambs were kept to replace some of the older ewes. All in all, my first year as a shepherd was successful and rewarding.
Since then I've had more successful lambing seasons, learned
to deal with different birthing scenarios, and experienced the joys and heartbreaks that come with keeping sheep. I
feel very fortunate to be able to be living my dream.
ABOUT THE SHEEP: The Leicester Longwools, or
English Leicesters, were developed in the 18th century by the pioneer of selective breeding, Robert Bakewell. They are a
large framed, dual-purpose sheep carrying a heavy, long-stapled, lustrous fleece. More than 50 breeds of sheep today
are descended from the Leicester Longwool breed. You can read about the history of the sheep here: http://www.leicesterlongwool.org/.