SKYLINES FARM
ON-FARM IMMERSIONS

ON-FARM IMMERSION
Short-Term or Long-Term

A customized program of individual one-on-one learning.

Immerse yourself in the daily life of a working
65 acre livestock farm in beautiful northern Idaho.


Learn first hand about the business of running
a healthy, thriving, sustainable farm!




The shepherdess with some of the newly shorn, expectant ewes.

UPDATE: My sheep farming Immersions have been on hold for a year
but now I'm back with more options!

In 2013, after 21 wonderful years raising sheep for a living it was time for a change. I sold the breeding flock of sheep and expanded my summers-only grassfed, sustainable beef and pastured pork business. (Hurrah - now I get to enjoy my animal work in the warmer months followed by a quiet winter of writing, teaching, & R&R.)

Starting Summer 2015 I'm offering new custom-designed Immersions much like my former sheep Immersion, but expanded to include sustainable management and marketing of stocker beef steers & pastured feeder pigs.

Plus, you can now schedule a short-term Immersion of 2-5 days, or a longer-term Immersion of 4 or 6 weeks. Immersions are available from May 15 to August 1.

If you're thinking about a country life that embraces organic & sustainable practices, want to learn about beef steers, pastured pigs, wool-breed sheep, or other fun things like growing an organic garden, or country living skills in general including livestock...read on and then drop me a line. Let's talk about how a SkyLines Farm customized Immersion can help you make your farm dreams come true! Melissa





Is this what you've been waiting for . . . ?

Have you dreamed of someday moving to the country to live the good life and raise some animals? To finally live your dream of being a farmer? And doing it sustainably?

Here's the perfect opportunity to step into that life and try it on. See for yourself how it feels to live and work with sheep, cattle, pigs, and other farm animals. See how rewarding life can be when the rhythms of the natural world determine your daily activities!

Are you already living the farm life, but want to move into grassfed sheep, grassfed stocker beef, or pastured feeder pigs? Want to raise them using organic and sustainable methods? Want to learn how to direct-market their products and stay off the commodity treadmill?

A Farm Immersion at SkyLines Farm will give you the firsthand knowledge and practical skills you need to start raising happy, healthy, productive animals by organic & sustainable methods. And if you want to sell your farm products - meat, fiber, or breeding stock - a SkyLines Farm Immersion can get you off to a great start. You'll gain practical knowledge plus an understanding of the mindset you need to be successful in direct marketing to consumers who share your deep concern for healthy nutritious food, animal welfare, and sustainable farming practices.



What SkyLines Farm is About

I've been raising sheep for a living using sustainable and organic methods since 1992. Over the years I slowly and carefully grew the flock to as many as 100 vibrantly healthy breeding ewes and their lambs. I sold all their products to consumers locally and nationally, directly from the farm website, selling out every year. At the same time, I slowly grew what is today's successful grassfed beef and pastured pig operation, marketing their products from the website too, still selling out every year. In 2013 I retired the year-round sheep & premium wool operation and went exclusively to finishing out grassfed beef and pastured pigs each summer.

These days, instead of keeping a breeding herd year-round I purchase young steers and pigs in the spring from trusted breeders whose organic & sustainable practices mirror mine. I feed and finish them over the summer on the farm's lush green pastures, using time-tested organic & sustainable management practices, and in the fall direct-market the meats to discriminating families in the region.


How it Began for Me

I've wanted to be a farmer since I was four years old. Instead I grew up in suburbia with never more than one dog and a succession of turtles, goldfish, and assorted rescued critters. At nearly 30, ready to put a professional career behind me, I emigrated west from Chicago to finally pursue my farm dream. It took another decade to make it happen. Because, for this former city girl/technical writer with no agriculture background, it was a real struggle to learn how to create a new life that expressed my own sustainable farming vision.

I knew I wanted to make my living raising animals, but how could I keep them happy and healthy without relying on drugs or chemicals? In the mid-80's world dominated by chemical agriculture where could I turn to learn the organic management skills I needed? Plus...Could I really handle raising animals and then slaughtering them for sale? Assuming I could get past that hurdle, how could I possibly market my farm products from this tiny community in remote northern Idaho? For years I pored over books & magazines and took every class I could find.

By 1992 I'd acquired some basic knowledge, but realized I was pretty much on my own to figure out the organic/sustainable methods I was determined would be used on my farm - as well as how to eventually make a living at it. So I took a deep breath, purchased my first five sheep and jumped in. I was now officially a farmer!

Once I actually had animals I was able to connect with some highly experienced shepherds who generously mentored me through my early years, answering my frantic phone calls when a ewe was down or a lamb wouldn't nurse...but unfortunately they were all of the chemical mindset. And none were direct-marketing their farm products using the power of the Internet. Aaah...what I would've given during those early years for a farming mentor who understood my quest for sustainability and what I was going through figuring it all out!

Fast forward 1992 to 2005. That successful, sustainable, dream farm had been a reality for well over a decade and I felt I'd finally learned enough to start sharing. Drawing on my years of hard work, mistakes, and eventual successes, in 2005 I began teaching adult-ed classes in small farming, offering on-farm workshops, tours, apprenticeships, and hosting Farm Immersions.

Over the years I've helped many, many passionate would-be farmers get closer to realizing their dreams, and I'd love to help you reach yours.


> > IS IT TIME TO CREATE YOUR DREAM FARM LIFE?





What Exactly Is a Farm Immersion?

A Farm Immersion is a short or long-term period of study at SkyLines Farm (short-term Immersions 2-5 days, long-term Immersions 4 weeks & 6 weeks.) A Farm Immersion is a unique and intensive educational experience for one or two persons at a time. Each day you learn and work one-on-one with me, on a real-deal, actual working farm, following a custom designed program of study in sustainable farm living and/or sustainable livestock production.

Caveat #1: Please note that this is a real working farm. SkyLines Farm is not a hobby farm or the romantically dreamy showcase farm you see in magazines that is actually supported by off-farm income. The SkyLines Farm animals pay their own way plus they've provided me a joyful, modest living for many years. Be prepared to see a host of practical, frugal methods as well as the disciplined mindset and actions required for managing happy healthy animals and land without relying on high-dollar equipment, chemical inputs or drugs.

What You Will Learn

You'll Learn What You Want to Learn & Need to Learn
The experience is customized to each participant's interests and needs, whether you're considering a radical life change to farm/rural living and raising livestock and need a complete overview....a more experienced farmer looking for very specific knowledge about sustainable livestock production practices...or somewhere in between.

Before you arrive I develop a program of study just for you, based on our previous conversations. We'll spend each day of your Farm Immersion working together, to ensure you learn what you want and need to learn about caring for livestock and farm by sustainable methods.

Don't know what you need to learn? No problem. Drawing on my years of successful farming I'll work with you to design an Immersion that perfectly blends your experience level, your farm vision, your resources, and the realities of making money at if if you're so inclined.


 

The shepherdess explains why & how to treat a
newborn lamb's navel with iodine.


Possible Topics of Study for your Immersion


Depending on your particular interests and the time you have to spend, your Farm Immersion can explore a wide range of farming activities, including hands-on experiences. Some of the major topics you can choose from are:

Do you want to learn about . . .
- Breeding & raising sheep for three products - wool, meat, breeding stock
- Growing and marketing premium wool for handspinners
- Feeding and finishing heritage-breed pastured pigs
- Raising & finishing feeder steers on pasture

Do you want to learn about . . .
- Managing pastures for optimal health, productivity, & parasite control
- Planning and using a rotational grazing system for multiple species
- Building & maintaining a variety of fencing styles
- Planning winter rations & options for getting hay in

Do you want to learn about . . .
- Using garlic/molasses/DE/rotational grazing for organic control of internal parasites in livestock
- Housing, water, feed requirements for sheep, cattle, pigs
- Low-stress livestock handling

Do you want to learn about . . .
- Direct marketing breeding stock and/or freezer lamb, beef, or pork to consumers
- Farm recordkeeping
- Living with, working with, and training livestock guardian animals
- OR?? Suggest other topics of interest and I'll be frank about whether I can help you





Three of the SkyLines Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dogs
(LGDS) hang out with their sheep.


Other Possible Topics for your Immersion . . . Farm Living

Your Immersion can also be customized to explore more general topics. Over my last 25+ years of rural living, mostly as a single woman, I've had to develop an amazing array of skills just to survive without calling for help every other day. If you choose, you can spend part of each day learning about useful skills for a self-sufficient life, such as:

- Living with wells and septic systems
- Acquiring and handling firewood (including buying firewood, overview of chainsaw use and safety & felling trees, splitting firewood, storing firewood)
- Using & maintaining wood stoves for heating, what to look for when buying a wood stove
- Working with basic power tools
- Organic vegetable gardening
- Composting farm waste materials
- Living with and training livestock guardian animals
- And much, much more.

Caveat #2: Obviously, you can't learn everything I've suggested here in one short-term immersion. The number of topics and the depth of learning will be balanced with the amount of time you're able to devote to your Immersion.

However much time you have for your immersion though, please know this - since 2005 I've presented workshops, lectures, webinars, and hosted Farm Immersions and appenticeships for many, many women and men who share my sustainable vision and have similar small farm dreams. I've worked hard to make sure their learning experience is transformative, and I'll do my best to ensure you're thrilled with yours too :)

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS . . .

It's your Immersion. We email and talk on the phone beforehand to define exactly what this unique experience will look like and what it can do for you.

You decide how much time you want to spend & what your budget will allow - and together we'll create a custom Farm Immersion that propels you dramatically closer to realizing your own farm dreams. Whee!




Typical Day for your Farm Immersion

Each day's activities will vary based on your specific interests, but most days will include:

- Some quiet lecture/discussion time on topics we've chosen in advance. This might happen on the deck overlooking the farm, out in the barn, or maybe lounging in the middle of a lush green pasture alongside the critters
- Some hands-on work and instruction with the animals
- Some hands-on work and instruction with farm projects of your choosing such as fence building/repair, gardening, etc.
- Morning & evening chores including feeding the pigs, visiting pastures to evaluate grass condition, moving cattle to fresh pasture as needed, checking livestock guardian dogs (LGDs)...and whatever else turns up that day!




FARM IMMERSIONS AVAILABLE MAY 15 TO AUGUST 1



Scheduling your SkyLines Farm Immersion . . . the customized, one-on-one learning experience of a lifetime!

RATES
Short-term Farm Immersions run 2 to 5 full days & include lunch.
(Typically, 3-5 days provides the best learning experience.)

First two days $400/day/person, additional days $250/person.
Second person half price.
_____________________________

Longer-Term Farm Immersions run 4 or 6 weeks, 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. This half-day schedule allows you daily time to absorb and reflect on what you've learned and begin to develop your own farm plans, which we can brainstorm and critique during our daily sessions.

If you're in the Moscow, ID area you can commute to the farm for half-days and still have the rest of the day free for work and your own activities. If you're coming from out of the area, the schedule gives you plenty of time for R&R such as getting out into thousands of acres of nearby National Forest lands for recreational opportunities (i.e. hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, panning for gems, & much more) or exploring the quaint nearby university towns of Moscow, ID and Pullman, WA.

Four-week Immersion - $3,000
Six-week Immersion - $4,500
Second person half price.

Other scheduling arrangements may be possible on an individual basis.

ALL IMMERSIONS INCLUDE one-on-one instruction, hands-on learning, access to my extensive library of reference books on organic agriculture and livestock production, take-home resource materials.

Payment Terms
50% nonrefundable deposit to hold your reservation, with the balance due on the first day of your Immersion. PayPal or personal checks are gladly accepted. Please contact me to confirm availability before sending any payment.

Housing
If you need housing during your Farm Immersion there are a few options. Choose from several private & state campgrounds, motels, and B&B's located 1/4 mile to 30 miles from the farm.

Or, we can also discuss putting you up on the farm...in the 75-year-old farmhouse's cozy, private upstairs guest room w/bath (women only, modest extra charge) or bring-your-own tent/camper (women & men welcome, small extra charge).

Getting Here
The farm is located near the tiny town of Harvard in the panhandle of beautiful northern Idaho. We're about 2 hours from Spokane WA, 90 minutes south of Coeur d'Alene ID, 45 minutes north of Moscow ID, and 15 minutes east of Potlatch ID. If you're flying into Pullman-Moscow Regional airport (the nearest airport) pickup is available.

NEXT STEP
First, email me with any questions, your preferences for topics of study, and dates you'd like to reserve. Contact me well in advance of your anticipated start date, to ensure you get the dates you want and because designing a custom program for you takes time.

If after our initial contact a Farm Immersion looks to be a good choice for both of us, we'll schedule a Skype call (or possibly a plain old phone call:) for a more in-depth conversation.





FOR MORE INFO
or to schedule your Farm Immersion
contact me at melissa@skylinesfarm.com
or 208/875-8747




View from the deck, early summer 2005 when the large flock of breeding sheep
was an integral part of SkyLines Farm (we still keep 4 well-loved pet sheep of course).
Here, the organic vegetable garden is just about ready for planting,
while some of the ewes and their lambs spend a day grazing a small paddock
on the other side of portable electric fencing.


SkyLines' Angus

SkyLines Farm employs working
Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs.
Please leave your dogs at home.




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SkyLines Farm 4551 Highway 6 Harvard, ID 83834 208.875.8747
Purebred Romney & Romney-Cross Sheep