Joys & Sorrows

why raise Soay sheep, fun stuff, occasional sad stuff

A good herding dog is a shepherd’s joy: Molly remembered

A good herding dog is a shepherd’s joy: Molly remembered

This is only my second eulogy in over a decade of blogging, thank goodness. Several years ago I wrote about my country veterinarian father. Doc Peterson was scary smart, hard-working, loyal, committed to safeguarding the livestock under his care, and definitely not the urban sort. Our first and only border collie, Molly, could be described […]

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Livestock Guardian Dogs For Your Flock: A Pictorial Primer

Livestock Guardian Dogs For Your Flock: A Pictorial Primer

I leave my Soay flock to their own devices today in order to talk about an essential part of any heritage sheep operation – predator control. For today’s essay, livestock guardian dogs, or LGDs. In the last 14 years, we have acquired nine LGDs: two mixed Maremma/Anatolian/Great Pyrenees and then a wonderful succession of seven […]

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Vespers on a Soay sheep farm: sweet music to our ears

Vespers on a Soay sheep farm: sweet music to our ears

Our indispensable livestock guardian dogs are an endless source of delight and amazement, and never more so than in the late afternoon when they provide a brief recital that echoes across our Little Applegate River Valley. It is so lovely and so sweet we have dubbed it “Vespers.” Let me explain. We have six Anatolian […]

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Lamb Camp Day 1: Campers arrive and so do their first lambs

Lamb Camp Day 1: Campers arrive and so do their first lambs

Our friend Ida had so much fun visiting us during lambing in 2013 that she applied to return this year. In my last post, I tried to set the stage for Lamb Camp 2015 by sharing the backstory of Ida’s first visit. By the time Ida and daughter Whitney and niece Audrey arrived on April […]

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Soay lamb gender split, 2015 edition

Soay lamb gender split, 2015 edition

Regular readers will remember that I went through lambing last year in self-absorbed agony, tracking the percentage of ewe versus ram lambs on a daily basis, reporting weekly here, and generally fussing over something entirely out of my control. Talk about unproductive fretting! Did I learn my lesson? Nope. But this year the results started […]

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Why breed heritage sheep? To share the joys of raising them

Why breed heritage sheep? To share the joys of raising them

No amount of elegant writing, clever sayings, or even high quality photographs can compare in “advertising” value to the spontaneous and heartfelt messages we sometimes get from new or repeat customers when they arrive to pick up their sheep or see their new sheep come off Ron Keener’s truck. There is no question that these […]

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