This has been one historical winter here in Western NY! Over 110 inches of snow, too many (>15) days below 0, and storms galore. While most people would probably agree that spring is coming in like a lion, on our farm, spring always comes in like lambs... Literally!
We finished lambing in early February (I know, I'm slow on the updates!) and ended with 12 purebred Lincoln lambs: 6 ewes and 6 rams. We also had 3 Lincoln/Hampshire crosses that still descendants from my very first sheep, Juliet. We have already sold many if the lambs, and a few cull ewes and are working in adding some more ewes to our flock this summer. Dad is determined to breed 15 Lincolns next year, so it looks like we will be expanding a bit. Those of you who have been following us for a while know that last year was a terrible year with regards to lambing, and thankfully this year was much more successful. I think we aired out all our bad luck (hopefully for a while!).
March ended with a storm dropping almost a foot of new snow (see photos below), but now that April is here, we are hoping spring is here for good. Dad and I trimmed some hooves last week, sheared a ewe that got missed in December, and started to clean up the barn. Spring is never a fun time on a farm with the amount of mud everywhere. I really cannot wait for it to dry out!
The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is right around the corner and in a couple weeks it will be time to start washing the lambs and ewes who are going this year. It's hard to believe it's almost that time of year.
We have also been very busy continuing to wash our winter fleeces for more blankets and yarn. We got a beautiful shipment of blankets and yarn in a couple weeks ago and I'm hoping to send more soon to keep up with the demand.
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People always ask me how I got interested in Lincolns, and "why sheep" in general. The first question is a much easier one to answer, and a story for another day. For the second question, the answer is not so clear. The easy answer is that I was born loving sheep. Seriously. My first stuffed animals were sheep, which was obviously not my choice, but my favorite animal has always been sheep. When my mom was seven months pregnant with me, my parents visited the Empire Spring Classic Sheep Show, and we think that's where it happened...
Anyway, for my entire life, I have loved and wanted sheep, and apparently was up for doing anything to convince my parents that we should get them. My dad reminded me of a persuasive essay I wrote in Mrs. Wallace's forth grade class and thought I would share it with you all.
It must have been a good essay, because three years later I got my first sheep!
Emmaline Long, main owner of Orchard View Farm, is currently a graduate student in the Animal Science dept. at Cornell University. She has a passion for Lincoln sheep, and loves educating others about her breed and farm, as serves as the Vice President of the National Lincoln Breeders Association.
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