I always thought my first sheep would come after months of planning, researching, and careful consideration. Raising a flock was going to be a huge undertaking — complete with a specific time line and registered heritage livestock. By the time the hooves landed, I’d have taken enough workshops and visited enough lamb and wool operations to feel comfortable putting on those muck boots.
Life, however, had other plans for me. Instead of my cautious wade into the ovine world, I was thrown headfirst into the pool. My sheep came into my life suddenly, and all those plans rotted on the vine. A fiddle student offered to trade me three wool sheep for lessons, and all of a sudden I had to scurry to build a shelter and fences and to second cut hay. It was quite the learning curve.
Being such a greenhorn, I needed all the help I could get. My traction kit included all the essentials: Pro-Pen injections, hoof-trimming shears, nylon halters, and a copy of Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep. It was my go-to for everything from evaluating their weight to finding a local sheepdog club. It was my mentor on the shelf, ready and waiting when I needed to plan winter feeding and spring shearing. It came recommended by local shepherds, all of whom told me it would be the one-stop resource for a new crook holder. They were right. Now that I’m in my second year in the wool, I still pull my dog-eared copy off the shelf when I need advice. It’s nice to have a professional on hand.
Jenna Woginrich is the author of Made from Scratch. A Knoxville, Tennessee, native who's made her home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, in northern Idaho, and, most recently, in rural Vermont. She is on the blogging staff of the Huffington Post, in addition to keeping her own blog, Cold Antler Farm. Jenna shares a home and garden with her gregarious sled dogs, chickens, a hive of bees, and some amicable rabbits.