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We're FULL TIME! How we got here and where we are going.

We've made the leap of faith and are both full time on the farm! This is something that we have dreamed of and been planning for since we got married in 2015 and we are finally there!.

A little history for those who don’t know – we got married in 2015 and made the goal for both of us to be full time on the farm within 10 years.   I came home to the farm in 2017 because Levi brought home the majority of our income and carried our insurance. It wouldn’t have made sense for Levi to come home and loose that security at the time.

Three jobs, a lot of prayer and countless hours of podcasts and audio book learning has brought us to where we are now.  We are so thankful to the network of support we have around us too. Without a mile long list of people who are supporting us in the background we wouldn’t have the guts to do this.

The thing that has always held us back from making the leap has been lambing. Lambing has always been "my thing." I have found so much joy and fulfillment out of lambing season since we had our first lambs in Feb. of 2018. Something about seeing birth and supporting the ewes and lambs in the first few days after birth was so fun for me.

But it is A LOT of work to lamb them in the barn like we did from 2018-2022. We knew that if we were going to make the jump to full time we would need to increase the number of ewes we had and lambing in a barn wasn't going to be feasible. So in this past spring we trialed pasture lambing and it went so well. Traditionally, lambing takes place from January to March and has to be done in a barn in our area because the threat of cold and snow is too high to take the risk of having lambs outside.

We backed our lambing season up so that we wouldn’t start lambing until April 16th and ideally finish lambing by the end of May. This should get us out of the cold, rainy weather and allow the lambs to thrive. Part of the trouble we had during lambing season in the barn was our barn not having the best ventilation. In no way, was our barn stuffy. There was decent air flow and it was a bit warmer than outside but because we don’t have any vents in the roof of the barn (it is a converted high tunnel – you can watch more about it here) the moisture would get stuck and condense/freeze on the inside of the barn. It made it difficult to keep lambs and bedding dry.

When we lamb on pasture, I don’t have to worry about keeping the lambs and bedding dry. By no means do I want it to rain for 10 days straight but I’m not worried about the lambs getting pneumonia from the temperature swings and moist environment.

Anyway, we lambed all our ewes on pasture from April to May this year in a very hands off approach which is also vastly different than how we lambed in the barn. I didn’t have to help with a single lambing this year and hardly touched lambs period. It was amazing to see the ewes really step up and make sure their lambs were thriving. Something we struggled with in the barn lambing situation was “stealers.” Stealers are ewes that are very close to lambing themselves and their hormones make them want to collect any other lambs. It’s really crazy to watch. (You can watch evidence of stealers here.) But out in the field, the ewes had plenty of space to get away from each other and we don’t know of any stealing situations.

Watching the ewes thrive and not need my help at all really showed us that it can be very successful to lamb on pasture with about half the amount of time and that is what would make it possible for us to go full time.

Levi’s first day of full time farming was this past Monday, November 20th which we started off getting our next 100 sheep. Our plan consists of expanding the sheep flock three fold and continuing to rotationally graze and lamb on pasture.

Thanks so much for your support of our little farm and helping us reach an incredible milestone in our families journey.

If you would like to support us further, buying meat from Rocky Knob Meats is a great way to do that. We are currently having an END OF YEAR SALE on all our meat cuts – beef, lamb and chicken – as well as our apparel. You can find some cuts and apparel up to 50% off! The sale will run through December 8th.  If you have someone who is difficult to buy for, I’ve never met a person that is disappointed to have a freezer full of meat; especially with the way prices are going at the grocery store. You can find more details here and shop all our products here.

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