Hello to all the visitors of the Waving Pines Farm website! My name is Becky, a farm wife and homemaker who lives out in the plains of southern Minnesota with her husband, Adam. The soil is good, the climate is wonderful, and you can see for miles to the horizon. My husband is a farmer through and through, following in the footsteps of his forefathers. Now I’m trying my hand at my own little bit of farming; raising a small flock of Icelandic sheep. Together, Adam and I are building this operation from the ground up, since this was previously just used for crop farming; adding pasture and fencing, building a larger nice new barn, and a smaller one for the rams. Like this website, many things are a bit ragtag and still under construction. But the dream is coming together, and will be wonderous to behold when it’s all done.
Waving Pines Farm is about more than the sheep, though the sheep have been quite enjoyable to raise and learn about. It’s about a wife and her husband spending time together studying genetics, searching for new sheep for our program, traveling about, meeting fun new people, and spending long hours in the evenings pondering the next question raised about the sheep. I think the whole part about learning together and bouncing ideas back and forth is one of the more enjoyable activities I do with my husband, and the Icelandic sheep breed is perfect for this. We each have a Bachelor’s degree in biology, after all.
It is about the sheep too, though. Specifically, this incredibly fascinating and genetically diverse breed known as the Icelandic sheep. This breed is relatively new to North America, but is quite old overall, with this breed having been around in Iceland for at least 1100 years. They are hardy and beautiful, horned or not, all with luxurious long stapled wool that is said to be one of the best hand-spinning wools out there. They also are reasonably personable, though temperaments do vary widely. I know I really enjoy going out to the pasture and plunking myself down in the grass, waiting for the ewe lambs to crawl in my lap, watching the mothers grazing peacefully. It is such a serene place, out in the pasture with the sheep. I like to take the time to earn my ewes’ trust, as it makes handling them for things like worming and hoof trimming easier on everyone involved.
It is about finding the best way to keep the sheep happy and healthy. I am continuously researching the husbandry practices surrounding this breed of sheep, which are in many ways rather different than other more common breeds. I use what works best, whether natural or conventional. In the case of wormers, I don’t use conventional wormers because most don’t work and those that do are starting to show signs of resistance to them appearing in the parasites. I find it a worrisome trend, and so have been developing a system that uses a copper based mineral lick in conjunction with an herbal wormer to combat internal parasites. I check eyelid color regularly, and also perform my own fecal egg counts. In this way, my sheep have been maintaining nice low worm counts. When it comes to antibiotics, I will use them if needed, but only if needed. I do vaccinate for CD/T every year. In the way of nutrition, they are all pasture fed while the grass is growing, and given good quality hay otherwise. I do not grain regularly except as a treat when I have to do something unpleasant like trimming hooves, and as a vehicle to deliver the herbal wormer.
It is also about improving the breed. I aim to work towards what I consider my ideal sheep, while remaining true to breed standards, and producing quality stock in the process. Eventually my flock will be more homogenized to my breeding goals, as the pieces of the puzzle I collect along the way lock together.
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That should cover the basics of what this farm is all about. If you go to the Library, I go much more in depth on many of the topics I mentioned above, such as proper care, worming, genetics, etc.
And finally, and probably most importantly, the credits: Who deserves mention because this whole farm wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
The biggest “who” would be God. The God, the one and only, the one who sent His Son Jesus to take the penalty for my wrongdoings so that God and I can have a relationship again. That God. He has blessed my life so incredibly richly in so many ways. The best of those ways is that He is always with me, always hears me, always cares. Even when life hasn’t been the greatest, I can always trust Him to be there and to bring me joy. The second best way He blesses me is also a great source of joy, and that is my dear husband. I couldn’t have asked or dreamed of a better companion! But God has set things up perfectly to see this sheepy dream happen, and none of it would be possible without his blessing. I do believe God’s blessing rests on this farm, and for that I’m very thankful!
Speaking of husband, he deserves a very strong mention in the credits, for none of this would be possible without his strong arms and diligence. Or his incredibly smart brain that seems quite adept at figuring things out, like how to build a barn. The barn he is building is amazing! He has been an awesome supporter of this little dream of mine, and has even taken an interest in it himself. I do love him so!
Thanks for visiting! Hope you enjoy the site!