About a month ago a local shepherd contacted me to ask if I was willing to sell 5-10 breeding ewes. The conversation came out of the blue but I couldn't deny that I had been thinking of selling my flock for a while. After several discussions I agreed to sell my flock as a whole.
This past Sunday my entire flock of 11 Shetland ewes left to live on a farm in Solway, MN. I am grateful for the opportunity to have my flock sell as a unit. I know it will be less stressful on them to have their flock-mates by their side as they get used to new surroundings. And beyond making the decision to part with them, selling to a single person was so much easier than advertising and dealing with multiple buyers over the course of many months.
I retained my entire wool clip and will be sending it off for processing soon. That should give me a great deal of wool to needle felt and spin. And I always know some excellent farms to buy extra Shetland colors from if I need them.
I also am keeping all of my electronet, energizers, and sheep coats. Clancy and I both agree that our farm is very well situated to sheep farming. I know my Shetlands were happy here. And we plan to reinvest in another flock someday.
But in the meantime, I am grateful to have this extra space in my life to adjust to my family's busy schedule. I will be able to focus on finishing our house and investing in our grounds. I can do more artwork. And I can travel with Clancy and the boys.
I never did fence in the girls this spring. I would lock them into electronet at 9pm every evening...letting them out at 6am every morning. But they were free ranging up until the new owner took them away. I managed to snap these photos on their last morning here.
I admit my eye is constantly looking for them out the window. Since they were never locked up I had to keep tabs on them to make sure they didn't wander too far from home. I still listen for them. I still expect to see them across the pasture or in the murky depths of the forest surrounding our home.
I do miss them.
But I am also deeply content and I know I made the right decision for my family by giving up shepherding for a while.
Another family member that left Boston Lake this past Sunday was Megan.
Because of work and travel, she had to spend most of her days in her kennel and crate. For the past several months I just felt so guilty about her reduced lifestyle and I sought a new home for her.
After many interviews with nice folks, we met a lovely couple with a large farm that asked to be her new family. Meg fell in love with them and their pastured pigs, flock of free-ranging chickens, spacious barn complete with resident cats, and several grandchildren of all ages.
During our second visit to this lovely farm, Meg would not leave the side of the little grandkids that were petting her when she saw me climb into my van to leave. It was like she said, "You go. I have work to do here." She was giving her full attention to her new family as I drove out of their yard.
I do miss Meg, too.
But I couldn't be more happy for her and her new family.
And so I feel grateful to have such a deep contentment about Megan, too.
Through all of these huge changes, I prayed. As my aunt reminded me the other day, God promises to care about everything that concerns us. Finding happy, safe homes for my sheep and Megan was something I was so worried about. God answered my prayers in ways even more wonderful than I could have hoped.
I wish my dear sheep and my precious Meg long happy lives with their new families.
And I wish for myself the stamina and self-confidence to make wise use of the open space in this new chapter of my life.