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.
Since Summer 2005 I'd been offering custom-designed Farm Immersions for beginning & aspiring shepherds. After selling the sheep in 2013,
I tweaked my Immersions to include sustainable
management and marketing of stocker beef steers & pastured feeder pigs.
You can schedule a customized Immersion for as little as 2 days, up to a longer experience of 7 days.
Immersions are available from May 15 to July 15.
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!
this what you've been waiting for . . .
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?
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 wool-breed 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 to consumers
and stay off the commodity treadmill?
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
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 (keeping 2 beloved pet sheep just because:), and went exclusively to finishing out grassfed beef and pastured
pigs each summer.
These days, instead of keeping a breeding herd of sheep 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
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
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
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
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,
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
Farm Immersion is a short period of study at
SkyLines Farm (2 to 7 days.) 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
program of study custom designed for you 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
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
What You Will Learn
You'll Learn What You Want to Learn & Need to
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....or your're 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
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
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.
shepherdess explains why & how to treat a
newborn lamb's navel with
Do you want to learn
about . . .
Possible Topics of Study for your
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
- Breeding & raising sheep for three products - wool, meat, breeding stock
- Growing and marketing
premium wool for handspinners
- Feeding and finishing heritage-breed pastured pigs
- Finishing feeder steers on pasture
Do you want to learn
about . . .
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
- Direct marketing
breeding stock and/or freezer lamb, beef, or pork to consumers
- Farm recordkeeping
- Living with, working with, and training livestock guardian
- 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.
Possible Topics for your Immersion . . . Farm
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
- 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
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, checking & repairing fences
as needed, moving cattle to fresh
pasture as needed,
checking on livestock guardian dogs (LGDs)...and whatever else turns up that day!
FARM IMMERSIONS AVAILABLE MAY 15 TO JULY 15
Scheduling your SkyLines
Farm Immersion . . . the customized, one-on-one
of a lifetime!
Farm Immersions run 2 to 7 full days & include lunch.
(Typically, a minimum of 3-5 days
provides the best learning experience.)
First two days $400/day/person, additional days $250/person.
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.
50% nonrefundable deposit to hold
your reservation, with the balance due before the first day
of your Immersion. PayPal or personal checks are gladly accepted. Please contact me
to confirm availability before sending
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/1 queen bed & bath (modest extra charge for room & board) or
bring-your-own tent/camper for dry camping (small extra charge).
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
First, email me with any questions, your
preferences for topics of study, and dates you'd like to
reserve. I'll do my best to respond within 24 hours or less. 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
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
View from the
deck, when the large flock of breeding sheep
was an integral part of SkyLines Farm (we still keep 2 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