Our journey into the farming business began when my husband Anthony and I bought a small 13 acre farm near the small town of Cassville, Missouri in 2000. Our oldest daughter got involved in FFA and gardening was her project. She sold hundreds of pounds of vegetables at the local farmer's markets. Still, we always had this nagging feeling we should be using our land for a greater purpose. However, we needed to replace all of the fencing if we were to have livestock and that seemed like too great an endeavor to squeeze into our busy lives.
When my husband's cousin decided to move to New Mexico he had a rather large item in his garage he didn't really want to move. After much discussion I imagine, the family decided the logical owner of the old family winepress should be Anthony, my husband. What does one do with a one hundred year old wine press I ask. Of course we must plant grapes, he says. So, in 2007 with help from friends and family we planted 200 grapevines. The first year of production we picked and processed 5000 pounds of wine grapes, some hobby!
After watching my family haul off wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of trimmings for a couple of years I decided there had to be a better way. Anthony needed help, we all did. After doing much research I announced to my husband we shall buy Babydoll sheep to tend the vineyard, it would save us so much work! In 2012 I bought my first sheep, Laurel, a Mini Cheviot ewe and her twin lambs Lavender and Ivy who were crossed with a Babydoll. I was in love! A couple of months later I bought two registered Babydoll Southdown sheep, Frances and Cynthiana. Soon after I bought my first Babydoll Southdown ram, Harold the Flying Sheep. I have had to change rams a couple of times and bought three more ewes and in just a few short years, by 2017, we have had thirty-seven sheep on our farm. They do a wonderful job cleaning up the vineyard floor after pruning and they keep the vines nicely trimmed at the perfect height. They also fertilize the soil as they go. We have had some heartache as all farmers do, but have experienced much joy with our little farming effort. We have put miles of fencing in place, eleven gates and three sheds. With several productive ewes on the farm we finally have enough lambs to share.