Note: We are an unschooling family. In keeping with our efforts to integrate learning into all aspects of everyday living, our animal naming tradition began when the kids were young, as a means to introduce them (whenever possible) to iconic and influential BIPOC figures. This tradition continues still. Meet our animal family.
Spotted Saddle Horse
Although not a heritage breed, Hercules is a big part of our farm family. He is not here just for his good looks (although he is very good looking)! He likes to think he runs the show around here and plays an integral role on our farm. He makes it his business to receive treats and affection on farm days – or whenever possible (Agrotourism & Hospitality Specialist). He also helps with grazing when forages get ahead of what the goats or sheep can handle (Pasture Specialist). Lastly, he contributes copious amounts of manure to our compost system, making him one of our top (On-Farm Suppliers). Most of all, however, he brings joy to our hearts and keeps an eye out over “his domain.” We’re blessed to have him.
Gulf Coast Native Sheep*
Gulf Coast sheep, also known as Gulf Coast Native sheep, Woods sheep, and Native sheep, descend from the Spanish flocks brought by colonialist settlers beginning in the 1500s. Their coloring typically ranges from white to tan but due to their wonderful genetic diversity, brown and black sheep may also be found. We love their small to medium size and their easy-to-manage temperaments. Comically, we liken them to pre-schoolers in their overall demeanor and approach to life. Naturally leery at first and always alert, these curious and insatiable characters are pure joy to be around. Fortunately, their high parasite and foot-rot resistance, exceptional heat and humidity tolerance, year round breeding, easy lambing, early maturity and good mothering ability, among many other traits. Gulf Coast Natives are the ideal, sustainable choice for our low input grass-based program.
Fleeces are open, low grease, wavy to crimpy with a 3″ – 5″ staple length and average between 4-6 lbs. The wool felts well and can be blended and dyed easily. 100% hand spun yarn makes great fabric, blankets or knitted projects on its own and is soft enough to wear next to the skin. Visit our shop to view our current products.
In addition to providing wonderful wool, Gulf Coast sheep produce a lean and succulent carcass. Carcass weights are usually light with little waste and the meat is delightfully mild and can be prepared in many ways.
In addition to Gulf Coasts, Keisha’s “spinner’s flock” includes two gorgeous Jacob sheep, a spotted old-world breed. Unlike many other old-world breeds, they have not undergone improved breeding and heavy commercialization.
Fun fact: sheep with spots have been described in many cultures throughout history, appearing in works of art from the Far East, Middle East, and Mediterranean regions, and among these accounts is the Biblical story of Jacob, who bred spotted sheep and for whom this breed is named. Many romantic stories exist about them being direct descendants of the flock he acquired while working for his father-in-law: as mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 30). Their actual origins are not known. However, documentation theorizes their origin to be what is now Syria some three thousand years ago.
Also easy keepers, they have a good resistance to parasites and foot problems and their fleece is soft, open and light in grease – a handspinner’s dream! Visit the online shop to view our products.