The first thought upon arriving at ChickGooEwe Farm in Jefferson was, “Oh, am I going to be treated to a meal?” But no, Sandra Redemske had just finished preparing squash, beets, onions, garlic and herbs to feed to her Coopworth and Border Leicester cross sheep. With a passion for both replicating natural cultures and a passion for soil microorganisms, Sandy works on naturally balancing her flock’s nutrition with a meal like this every two to three days –or more – depending on environmental stressors that could be affecting her sheep. Her business card quotes Henry C. Wallace, “Nations endure only as long as their topsoil.”
Sandy does not hesitate to share her knowledge with those interested. On the day I visited, she was showing a soon-to-be first time shepherd how to put a coat on and off a sheep as well as how to trim hooves. With 41 years of experience as an organic farmer and nine years as a shepherdess so far, I have a feeling there is nothing Sandy hasn’t researched or experienced in trying to create harmony between Mother Nature and farming. Later this spring, Sandy is hoping to launch her website. The website will not be set up for selling products, but rather, she hopes it will be a resource that is thoughtful and informative.
I first decided to contact ChickGooEwe Farm – a farm I hadn’t heard of before - after reading a post on Facebook from a respected fiber artist known fairly statewide in Maine because of her handspun cashmere. The post said, “Look what I found in the fleece tent at the Maine Fiber Frolic. Best fleece ever, just look at the color variation!! Purchased it from ChickGooEwe Farm.” Since Sandy and the soon-to-be first time shepherd were so busy, I didn’t ask to look closely at the fleeces still on the sheep. I imagine that between the care given to the sheep and the meticulous notes Sandy takes on them, the fleeces just have to be lovely!
I had hope that I would see some lambs on this visit, but I was too early on this day, March 30th. These ewes will begin lambing the second week of April. ChickGooEwe Farm's fleeces will be available for sale in the fiber tent at the Fiber Frolic in Windsor in early June. If you are wondering about the name of this farm, Sandy raises chickens and geese (goose eggs) as well..
Oh, and ChickGooEwe Farm just happens to be a few miles away from Sheepscot General Store. If you read Shepherd's Craft Farm, December 2016 blog, you're probably not surprised that I figured out a way to coordinate this farm visit and have lunch there again!
After lunch, I traveled through Palermo on my way home. I decided to stop at Galloping Crow Farm to say hello to the Angora Goats. Rebecca Loveland was kind enough to accommodate my last minute call. I got to pet the goats as Rebecca gave them a favorite treats: peanuts. These goats are so personable!
We have Galloping Crow Farm's rolags and curly locks on our website. If you are planning to go to the Fiber Frolic in Windsor in June, Rebecca will be there with her fiber. If you are a fiber lover, the Maine Fiber Frolic is worth the trip there!
Leave a comment and next month we will will use a random number generator to determine who will receive a fiber sample from these farms!