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.
Our On Farm Entertainment
Zach, aka “Chef Kaldi”, our youngest, takes care of our small herd of Lamancha dairy goats. Together, they provide us with ample amounts of milk and non-stop entertainment. Maya our oldest dam, named after poet Maya Angelou, is our heaviest milk producer (Lamanchas can produce up to 3 liters of milk a day with a butterfat content of 3% to 4%.). At roughly 135lb, she is gentle, easy to handle, thinks of Zach as one of her kids, and loves treats and affection. Zélie, named after our favorite character in Tomi Adeyemi’s “Children of Blood and Bone”, provides the most comedic acts out of the four. She is one of the first ones to walk up to you when you go outside to tend to them. Definitely the one who wants the most attention. Rosa (Parks) and Simone (Manuel) are our 2020 doelings, high energy, vocal (especially around feeding time) and fun-loving but gentle. On the farm, we produce natural soap. Our soap is gentle, it can improve skin health and is rich in nutrients. Our soaps contain goat milk, which is rich in both saturated and unsaturated fats. Some of our batches contain essential oils, herbs, loofas, and love. You can find out more information by visiting our shop.
American Chinchilla Rabbits*
American Chinchilla’s are a prominent breed of meat rabbit that were a specific breed developed in the U.S.. When fully grown out, the return on production can feed your family and make a profit at market. Chinchillas have a soft fur that is similar in texture to guard hair, but given that, their fur isn’t one you would use for spinning. They are a relatively docile breed, not a pet type of animal, but good animals to raise up on your farm. They, like other rabbits, have poop that can be easily composted. These rabbits can aid your pasture control in their colonies, or simply be raised for a good amount of meat in a relatively short amount of time. Our Chinchillas are all very sweet and very energetic. The babies dash around the hoop houses looking for any type of trouble they can get into, or any grasses they can nibble on. Our momma rabbit is a tremendous mother and has herself a colony of healthy babies, and the babies all bring a lovely energy to our farm family.
French Angora Rabbits
The Sweetest Things Come In Small, Fluffy Packages
French Angora rabbits are possibly the cutest, most glamorous bunnies on Earth. Angora rabbits are a breed of rabbit that have large coats of fiber that come in various colors and textures, and with some care and craft, can make some wonderful, multi-purpose fiber art. French Angora rabbits are a docile breed; with love and gentle attention, they make nice household pets. Their coats shed out seasonally, but you can groom them on a constant schedule and reap a constant supply of fiber for spinning. Check out our online shop for fiber supply and fiber tools. On our farm, we have a diverse range of wool colors and shades. Our bunnies are sweet and love to be groomed and attended to. Full of personality, they each give us a different energy to enjoy.
Silver Gray Dorkings & Heritage Poultry Breeds*
We raise sassy working gals: our flock of happy, pampered divas consist of Dorkings, Buckeyes, Delawares, Cornish, Sussex & Langshans. These heritage birds are part of our three year plan to create “the perfect dual bird”. They produce a pretty “Easter basket” assortment of nutrient dense eggs, which you can find in our shop. These historical birds are also natural foragers, which makes them excellent helpers for pest control. They have free range to our pastures along with free- choice food and water. They are also treated to left over kitchen scraps as well as excess produce from our garden. Pasture and bird health are our top priority, and fortunately their relationship is symbiotic. This provides lush, healthy pastures and plump birds for meat, and breeding stock for our future flocks.