(Click to view 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 , 2007, 2009 photos)






Photo of the

Links &



December 17, 2008
It's winter!

Fall was long and gorgeous this year which meant lots of horseback riding and outdoor projects. Since winter arrived though, yikes it's been cold! Today we had a break from single-digit temperatures and got snow instead. In this view from the house deck, horses Rosie and Jewel, Lightning the black ram, and Sparky the Buff Orpington rooster hang out amiably at their hay feeder.


October 5, 2008
Breeding Season Arrives


These days, almost every time I glance out the kitchen window I see the rams frozen in this position - staring intently at the ewes in a distant pasture. Normally the rams couldn't care less about anything but food, water, and a comfortable place to while away their days, but fall is another story. Breeding season is nearly upon us and the boys are eager to get to work making babies! (left to right: Lightning, Andy, Jack, and Bruno.)



In preparation for breeding, I always treat the sheep for internal parasites. Here, my friend Andrea doses the ewe Nora with a drench of garlic and molasses. I've been using nature's miracle herb garlic instead of chemical wormers since 1992 with great success (and some of the sheep have even come to like it!) See this website's Management Practices pages for full details on my organic approach to sheep health care.



When the rams and ewes get together for breeding, the lambs have to move to their own pasture. In this pic, some of the 2008 ewe lambs hang out with their Great Pyreenees guardian dog Stella. Most of these beautiful girls will join the SkyLines breeding group next fall.



Beloved Farmcollie Dixie, my right hand man (er, girl) is never far away when I'm outside working. Here she keeps an eye on the four-wheeler while we're busy garlicking sheep.


May 30, 2008
Two of my favorite things - the sheep and the garden!

The ewes and lambs have just moved into last year's lambing yard for a few days of grazing down the lush green grass.

So near and yet so far. In the foreground is my veggie garden, newly tilled and partially planted. Though it's barely visible, a 5-strand portable electric fence keeps the sheep securely in their pasture while the garden flourishes right across the fenceline.

This seemingly wimpy little fence has been totally effective for the past 10 gardening seasons, as I continue to expand the garden every year and move the fence back a few feet each time. One of these years I may come to my senses, quit expanding the garden, and build a real fence but in the meantime - yay for portable electric fencing!


May 22, 2008
Summer's Here . . . Finally!


It was an incredibly long and snowy winter this year, followed by a long, cold, late spring. Everybody's happy to get out and feast on fresh green grass at last. Here, a mom and her twin black lambs relax in the midst of plenty while a chubby white lamb gets a good scratch on a tree trunk.




New Romney ewe Sweetie and her first lamb - a colorful boy.




This young ewe is also enjoying a tree trunk scratch.




 (Left to right) Sabrina and her white twins and Sweetie and her lamb have just returned from a trip to the water tank. Each SkyLines pasture opens onto this central runway, which the sheep use daily to access water and free-choice minerals.



 As on many sheep farms, the four SkyLines rams live apart from the ewes for most of the year, joining the girls only for the 4-6 week fall breeding season. Here, well-fed Romney ram Andy is wallowing in the knee-high rich grass that flourishes in the yard surrounding the old red barn. Sheep heaven!


March 5, 2008
Lambing season continues . . .


This cutie has just enjoyed a morning snack.




SkyLines lambing season apprentice Addie Rose enjoys a moment
with two of her charges.



Virginia and her look-alike ram lamb.




March 1, 2008
SkyLines Annual Hands-On Lambing School


Participants in this year's Lambing School started the day
out with lamb cuddling . . .



. . . and some more cuddling . . .



Then we moved on to hands-on experience with inserting ear tags and banding tails.
Here the shepherdess demonstrates ear tagging techniques to the group
before everyone gave it a try themselves.



Vera the Great Pyrenees guardian dog graciously allowed us to spend the morning
in the barn with her babies, but she wasn't particularly happy about it
(good dog!)



Later in the day the shepherdess prepares to demonstrate
tube feeding on a volunteer lamb.




February 22, 2008
Lambs in the house . . .


Last night, a first-time ewe delivered a pair of slightly premature twin lambs and then promptly forgot about them. We found the black and white twins in the barn cold, wet, and in dire need of mothering.

So into the house they came, for a bath, a hot meal, and a night beside the wood stove . . .


Great Pyrenees Angus (the only one of the Pyr dogs ever allowed in the house) isn't much for mothering lambs, but he certainly enjoys their attentions.



Farmcollie Dixie, on the other hand, loves the opportunity to play surrogate mom. Here she meticulously cleans each lamb, which removes the birth fluids and also helps stimulate the lamb's nervous system.

After cleaning, each lamb will be bottle fed 4 ounces of warm colostrum. This is the ewe's rich first milk, loaded with nutrients and the all-important antibodies that protect the lambs in their first few weeks of life.

After a little shepherdess cuddle time, the lambs will spend the night in a big cardboard box next to the wood stove. The cushy life is only temporary though. Lest they grow up thinking they're house pets, these kids will go back out to the barn as soon as possible, probably within a day or so.



The next morning, clean, warm, dry and rested, the lambs get another drink from apprentice Addie Rose in their temporary home, the barricaded kitchen. Dixie supervises to make sure "her kids" are well fed . . .



February 19, 2008
Lambing Season Begins


Mary Jane is one of the first ewes to deliver a lamb this year. Her 3-day-old lamb isn't venturing too far from mom for now, but that'll change soon!



February 2, 2008
SkyLines Annual Shearing Day


Professional shearers Martin Dibble (foreground) and his son Arman (background) shear the white sheep first, then the natural-colored sheep. Though we always sweep the shearing platform after each sheep is shorn, this is just extra insurance that little bits of stray white wool don't contaminate the natural-colored fleeces, and vice-versa.

Here, a white ewe lamb isn't too happy about getting her first haircut. (It gets easier, dear, next year will be much better!)


Some of the freshly shorn ewes relax in the holding area as another group takes their turn in the shearing pen. These girls aren't in a big hurry to get outside. We're still in serious winter mode and it's not even 30 degrees today. For a newly-naked sheep that's pretty cold!

To help the freshly shorn sheep deal with the cold weather, I give them free access to the warm, well-bedded barn 24/7. I also supplement their daily hay and barley ration with rolled corn for a few weeks. They don't receive corn any other time of year but corn is an excellent source of calories and helps keep the ewes toasty warm after shearing.

Then, and this always amazes me . . . within just a couple of weeks of shearing the sheep have regrown 1/2" or so of wool and, with winter coats on again, they're perfectly comfortable being outside.


The shearing crew came well-dressed for the cold, and were glad they did! We were short-handed this year due to major snow and terrible road conditions, but these intrepid folks made their way out to the farm for shearing day anyhow. Good job, folks, and thanks again for your hard work!

Left to right, back: Shearers Arman and Martin, Dragger Lon, front: Skirters Karen, Mary Frances, Addie, and Greg. (Not shown is skirter Andrea).



Home - Back to Top
About SkyLines Farm - Handspinning Fleeces - Prepared Fibers - SkyLines Philosophy -
Management Practices - Photo of the Day-Week-Month - Links & Resources - Contact SkyLines

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