A few months ago I visited a local sheep farm in Woolwich, Maine. I had been buying Kelly’s yarn for a while so I decided to pack my husband and kids in my Prius for the hour and a half drive. It was not a disappointing trip.
Upon a hilly driveway sat a small yarn shack, full of vibrant colors. All hand dyed, locally spun yarn direct from the creatures that invaded her back yard. Sheep everywhere. And I mustn’t forget the chickens, rabbit, and dogs. Looking at the small farm, making the most of the land, sent a feeling of inspiration through me. I believe it was that trip that finally gave me the confidence to move forward on my homesteading journey. Somehow that trip told me it was okay to have a longing for the simple way of life.
My husband must of asked a hundred different questions about raising sheep. Not only was it fun, it was educational. And I’ll never forget the look in my kids faces when they saw all the sheep out and about. Their eyes bludging out of her heads. Pure amazement. Kids today would normally scoff at the idea of having these animals around them, worried about how “dirty” they’d get. Not mine. They loved it.
And then they met Joe. Joe, the oldest sheep on the farm. Just living day to day, not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Old Joe had earned the right to roam freely throughout the farm. He followed my children everywhere. Perhaps it was the apples they carried in their hands. Joe got a huge serving of apples that day. The interaction Joe had with my children was wonderful. It was in those moments I could see how much my children would benefit from this lifestyle.
A few weeks ago I got word that Joe passed away. I was incredibly sad. When I broke the news to my children they, too, were sad. My daugther remembered the yarn she got that came from Joe, and how happy she was to share it at school. I remembered how at ease I felt at the farm, around him, around all his fellow sheep mates. It was a feeling I want to experience again, something I want to feel everyday when I wake up in the morning.
So, to you Joe, I say thank you.