|A little about our farm and about us...
Our farm is a family adventure. We finally realized our dream of living in the country in March of 1999. Once we were here on our farm, the rest just fell into place.
|I am an artist educator turned shepherdess and gardener/farmer, but I still feel like I am surrounded by art every single day - I see it in the eyes of my growing children and in the beauty of my Icelandic & Leicester Longwool sheep, our lavender gardens and our farm. I am so blessed to have my family and my farm. My artist's inspiration and palette is a field of Icelandic sheep or the lavender and herb gardens I tend, all in an asymmetrical balance of color and pattern. My life here on the farm is a work of art in progress, which I hope will never be "finished."
Although I no longer teach "formally," I find still that I am still educating people - about the joys and rewards of raising sheep and working with their incredibly versatile fiber; or teaching about lavender plants - how to grow and use them and how to take advantage of the myriad uses of this wondrous plant and its oil. I teach still, through my writing, and as I meet people from all walks of life who are drawn to this lifestyle of farming.
I wish I could tell you that our farm is totally self-sufficient and that we are supporting ourselves off the land, but that would not be true. My husband Daryl is a chemist for Dow Chemical. I am a full time mother, shepherdess, gardener, and business owner, but our farm dream is a reality and it is sustaining itself - which we think is pretty remarkable for our small acreage and without hiring help. What our farm does best is to allow us this lifestyle, which is what we were striving for. Our oldest daughter Amy is 28 and our youngest daughters, who are Fiona (14) and Mikaela (13), have been able to have mom home with them since infancy. I used to be a full time art educator and the years of Amy's childhood seemed to fly by while I worked full time and spent many hours commuting to and from work and to and from graduate school. When our little ones came along, I wanted to be home with them and thus our farm became a way of life that allowed me to be home. It allows our family to share a common goal, grounded, here together on the farm. Our animals give us much joy, and the lifestyle - the health style - of working outdoors is reward enough. But that said, on our small acreage, we are able to raise animals and plants that are paying for themselves and paying for the upgrades of our farm. We rebuilt our barn, we've upgraded our breeding stock;, we've remodeled an old chicken coop into the studio/shop and added a greenhouse - all from the farm business. Another joy of our lives are our Icelandic sheep dogs. These are the best dogs we have ever had in terms of intelligence, friendliness, eagerness-to-learn and to please others. They are wonderful family dogs, but also help us to move the sheep. We also raise fancy chickens (including Icelandic chickens) for their eggs and they free-range, helping keep the bug population down. We built an aviary in the fall of 2003 and over the years it has housed fancy pheasants, peacocks and a Bourbon Red turkey - just for the fun and beauty of them.
In October of 2004 we were delighted to add "Papa" to our lives full time. Daryl's father, Willie Gisch, left his farm of 160 acres in southern Minnesota and we bought him a small farm across the road from us. He was a priceless partner in shepherding and he tended part of the flock at his farm. The children get to finally have papa a full time part of their lives. This has turned our farm dream into a true 3-generation farming venture. Unfortunately in the fall of 2012, Papa broke a hip and at the age of 88+ he is very fragile now. It breaks his heart to not be able to work outside, but so far, he manages to stay in his small home and cook his own meals with some assistance.
One lovely addition to our lives were the horses, when the girls were old enough to learn how to ride. Once we were able to purchase more land, hence more space - we were ready to let the girls grow up with the best of living on a farm - a horse of their own! Their first horse was a gentle mixed breed mare named "Pepper." Then we added an Icelandic mare named "Skessa" to our lives also in 2006; she and Fiona are best friends and now both girls can go riding at the same time.
We added dairy goats to the farm and have really enjoyed the milk, the cheese, and the personalities of these tame and useful working girls. My only regret is that we didn't start out with at least one dairy goat when the girls were younger. Our Fiona absolutely adores the goats and helps me milk them and care for them.
In 2009 I finally realized a lifelong dream of having my own pottery studio! When I am able to get the time to work in the studio, I feel like I have truly died and gone to heaven. Having spent 10 years building the farm led to an infusion of my love of our farm, the gardens and the wonderful animals we share our life with, into my pottery - pots are available with the themes of sheep, goats, dogs, lavender, sunflowers and even honey bees, as well as other pieces as I have time to develop new ideas.
We feel blessed to live on our farm and encourage others to pursue their own dreams of obtaining a simpler life style.
Thank you for visiting our website!
In 1998 we adopted our daughter Fiona
(center photo above) from
The Republic of Moldova.
For more information on adoption, visit