“Goats are like dogs, sheep are like cats,” said Farmer John when I told him of our plans to add to the Beekman menagerie

It’s true.  As much as you would like the  sheep to give you kisses like the goats do, they are, in fact, a bit… sheepish.

There are very few flocks of Black Welsh Mountain sheep in North America.  There are only about 800 of them on the entire continent, and two of those reside at The Beekman Farm (and two more at Cantitoe Corners, Martha Stewart’s farm in Bedford, NY).

Lady and Ba Ba are completely black (yes, they were named after the rhyme ‘Ba, Ba Black Sheep’ after Lady GaGa because we must have heard her songs over a thousand times during the road trip we took to pick them up.)  Their eyes are black, their fleece, and even their gums and tongue.   They have no wool on their faces or on the legs below the knee.

Lady was born on March 9, 2010

BaBa was born on April 30, 2010

The soft black wool of the Black Welsh Sheep is often used to produce checked tweeds.  Who knows what new ideas we’ll come up with once Lady and Ba Ba receive their first haircut.

Any suggestions?  Leave them in the comment section below.

See how Lady and Ba Ba inspired one of the artisans in our B. 1802 Rural Artist Collective. Click here

 

 

 

 

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  • By: Caleb

    I’m guessing you don’t have the sheep anymore… :(

  • By: Stephanie Muff

    Suggestion- when you have the sheep sheared, sell the wool to handspinners (like me!).
    You probably know someone locally who spins, & can advise you on skirting & grading the wool. You’ll also want to use a shearer who is familiar with clipping the wool for handspinning, (not just someone who shears off the wool to make the sheep comfortable in hot weather).
    If you decide to start selling fleeces, let me know. -Stephanie

    • By: Nick

      Stephanie
      We have a huge flock of these Black Welsh Mountain Sheep. Come visit us at BlackSheepMeadows.com

  • By: Janice

    Love the black sheep. Just wondering since there are so few of these cuties, do you think you should breed them and get some of the beautiful black wool. I am sure you could find someone who would want to spin and make gift shop items out of it. Call Martha and see about breeding them.

  • By: Jane

    I love sheep!, I love wool and knitting too. What do you think about alpaca? I bought a beautiful alpaca blanket at the springtime festival and fell in love with the alpaca on display. The owner was such a nice man and shared his love of alpacas with everyone who passed by. Your sheep are fabulous! I would love to see them. I would love to tour the farm someday but I can’t plan too far in advance. I wish there was a way to get a ticket ” day of” Instead of in advance. Think about we people who are not free to plan early for future events. I really want to see the farm…..I really do!

  • By: Cindy

    I have to agree about sheep being “Sheepish”
    We added two Babydoll sheep to our family last year.
    Florence is totally sheepish, but Miss Violet loves attention especially when food is involved and their favorite treat a baby carrot :)

  • By: Emma

    Hi Brent and Josh I was wondering you have so many animals like a cow sheep Polka spot chickens turkeys but why dont you have horses?

    There great animals I can speak from personal experience I have horses myself but have you ever considered them?

    Thank you,

    Emma

    P.S I loved you book the bucolic plaugue

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi, Emma. We love horses but because we have limited space on the farm, each of the animals have to have a purpose and play a role. We don't have a use for a horse right now, but have plenty of neighbors with horses that we can visit from time to time

  • By: Amy Tivy

    I have a small herd of 8 Shetland Sheep, I love them. I spin my wool and my 2 sisters knit and felt. This past Spring I had all of my wool processed into batting and made beautiful wool comforters. 3 king size, a crib size and a throw size. The 3 king size are Christmas gifts I kept the throw and the crib size went to my new granddaughter. Next Spring I plan on using my wool for braiding wool rugs, chair pads and runners. Your projects are endless with your own wool.

  • By: CiCi

    We are hosting a friend's sheep for "summer camp". They are enjoying our field grass and we don't have to mow. It is a win – win. These ladies are so sweet and friendly that I will have to get a couple of my own. And after watching your trip to Martha's you've inspired my husband to go get his own "tiny ass"…LOL.

    http://www.whitehousefarmoh.blogspot.com

  • By: greta

    Thrummed mittens for the knitters, crocheted ear muffs for the crocheters, and a Beekman sampler for the cross stitchers…

  • By: David du Val

    Dear,Dr.Ridge and Mr.Kilmer-purcell.

    I Have watched your program, and I am enchanted by your enterprise.I love the photo of Lady and Ba Ba. The proper spelling from the nursery rhyme is Baa Baa he is too handsome and proper a sheep for this to be left unsaid, especially since your cheese is called blaak. Enough with the unsolicited comments and on to those that were invited in the text under the photo. Imagine if you will an elegant bond paper or stationery with blaak wool fibers runing through it and perhaps, no not perhaps, definetly with a Beekman water mark. You may also consider felted figures of the sheep them selves.

    yours truly,

    David du Val

  • By: Sue Coleman

    I would disagree with Farmer John – my two sheep are definitely like dogs – one is a wethered Jacob (Garbriel aka Gabe the babe) and the other a Navajo Churro ewe (Genevieve aka Gen). They follow me around the yard and

    if I go into the house, climb up on the back deck, stand at the door and call me. I got them when I worked in a small living history museum and did spinning, hearth cooking, etc. They love to be petted and loved and yes, even given a kiss at the end of the day. They demand my attention and I just love them. One of our dogs adores them and he hangs around with them in the yard. They are my never ending supply of fiber to spin. I hope to make it to Sharon Springs some day. And the idea of mixing the alpaca fleece with the sheep wool sounds wonderful. It could be combed together or spun separately and then plyed together. The possibilities are endless. Have you attended the sheep and wool festival in Rhinebeck – it's in October. Our NH sheep and wool festival is this weekend. Love watching the show and admire your work ethic.

  • By: Andre Jones

    Every day, twice a day, I take my sheep out into the meadow. They follow me and come when they are called…I love my sheep!

  • By: Margaret

    Natural black wouldn't bleed. I love the idea of using it for the 1802 logo. On a white silk scarf or a throw – stunning!

  • By: Julie Meyerle

    The sheep are great! Love the names. I didn't read all the other comments yet, but ever thought of have the wool spun with that of polka spot? You might be able to come up with something very nice and an interesting color.

  • By: Sue Gaynor

    An update on previous comments…Thanks so much for the information I got. I've done a bit of research and found a breed that I am very excited about getting. I, too, hope to learn to spin so I'm watching you, Brent.

  • By: Oogie McGuire

    You're just not looking hard enough for BWM wool. I have hundreds of pounds, from raw fleeces to roving to combed tops to finished yarns to quilt batts, socks etc. and I am not the only US breeder producing BWM wool for sale.

    I got some form International Fleeces but the UK stuff is quite a bit different from ours, mostly it has more grey fibers and is not as dark a black. I'll be posting details of the comparison spinning over on Ravelry.

    Lots of rare breed wools are available from small famers all over the US, you just need to contact them directly.

  • By: Dolphin

    Maybe you should hold a contest for spinners as we all want to spin your wool. I am currently in a state of panic because the only place I know to get BWM fiber as well as many other rare and even ancient breeds is http://www.internationalfleeces.com and she is closing down this month to spend more time with her little girl. I will no longer have a source for these wonderful wonderful wools unless someone buys the business. There is a big need for more of these beautiful wool.

  • By: Sue Gaynor

    Oogie,

    Thanks. I know auctions aren't what I need but I've been having trouble figuring out other ways to get some information. Thanks to you and the other suggestions. I've looked at some great sites and think I will be able to buy some healthy sheep.

    Sue

  • By: Oogie McGuire

    Auctions are usually the worst place to buy sheep. You can buy in disease, parasites and behavior problems that way. I'd suggest reading descriptions of the breeds that interest you, then arranging to get breeders lists and then go visit people with that breed. Apprentice to a farmer for a while to make sure you like them if you can. Then purchase meat quality animals of that breed from a reputable farmer/breeder before committing to top quality animals.

    Start first by asking yourself what you want the sheep for, meat, wool, pets only, milk, some combination of traits? If wool is one thing you want you better know what you plan to do with the wool, it's helpful if you already spin, knit or weave so you know what wools will work for your chosen crafts.

    That alone will eliminate many breeds. Then look at where you are, lots of breed I personally would love to have are not in the US at all so I can eliminate them as well.

    Here is another great site to go learn about breeds in addition to the ALBC site.

    http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/

  • By: tammy

    I'd love a throw blanket in Beekman colors-cream and black. That would be awesome!

  • By: Sue Gaynor

    Oogie,

    Thanks for the suggestion. It is a bit difficult just starting out and picking the breed. I'm going to a sheep auction next weekend to check what's there. I also found some other info on the sites recommended. I figured I'd contact them with questions, too.

    Sue

  • By: Oogie McGuire

    Figure out what breeds and products interest you, then get some sheep that are culls of those breeds. Don't go out and buy top quality sheep until you know you will like raising them, have appropriate fences and predator protection.

    Be sure all sheep you get have the required federal scrapie ID tags and if they are registered join the Association and transfer those sheep, esp. if they are a rare breed.

    ALBC has info on rare breeds, and almost all Associations will send you data if you ask for it.

  • By: Sue

    Thanks, Sue. I looked and found some good information already!!

    Sue

  • By: Sue

    Brent and Kelli,

    Thanks for the information. They both sound useful. I really appreciate the help!

    Sue

  • By: Kelli

    SUE: I have a small flock of Gulf Coast (Louisiana Native) Sheep in Louisiana. If you were closer, I'd sell you some. But,to find breeders of sheep in your area, here's what you may try: 1. Decide on what breed you are interested in, preferably one well adapted to your part of the country (some sheep are better designed for some regions than others, due to temperature and parasite conditions). The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is good for this at http://albc-usa.org/. Sometimes this site can even connect you with breeders of a certain breed. ALBC represents endangered heritage breeds that need to be brought back from extiction. They are hardy breeds that are endangered because they are not used for industrial food, so few of us breed them any more. They grow hardy and are multipurpose, ideal for family farms, but they don't grow fast like industrial foods demands. 2. Do a Google search on a particular sheep breed, and find the organization for that breed. Many breeds have national organizations promoting them, to which breeders of those sheep belong; they have websites and post contact information of their breeders in various parts of the country to help people find them. 3. Often independent farms will have their own websites. Have you tried Googling "Wisconsin sheep farm" or something similar? 4. I've had good luck getting sheep, goats, livestock guardian dogs from Craigslist.com, too.

    Good Luck!

    Kelli

    Restoration Farm

  • By: Sue

    I am planning to start/gather a sheep herd. I am having trouble finding information on where to buy sheep/lambs. Does anyone have any advice on where to look to purchase about 40 sheep? My boyfriend used to have sheep so I'm not starting with nothing but we don't have any friends that raise sheep. I'm in Wisconsin.

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi, Sue

      Try looking for sheep farms on localharvest.org. You can search by zip code

  • By: Cheryl Dwyer

    we are currently raising Icelandic sheep, and spinning our wool for retail sales and personal use. It has been an eye opening experience to say the least, so I'm sure your sheep are 'educating' you as well. We just welcomed two little girl sheep late last month, and are slowly growing our flock, as well as Nubian goats who also blessed us with two pretty little doelings…isn't life on the farm amazing? In the end, the hard work is worth it!

    • By: Dr. Brent

      You are so right, Cheryl. We'll have our first sheering later this month

  • By: Sarah Goldfarb

    I second Anniebananie's comment re: the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival! It's a wonderful county-fair-like festival with sheep and goat livestock on site, herding dog demonstrations, spinning and knitting demonstrations, and of course, lots of yarn and roving to buy. It is extremely fun – I've been twice so far, and it's a wonderful fall festival. Farmer John would like it, too.

  • By: penny

    since I heard the names last evening on the show (Lady & Ba Ba, ) I have been LMAO all day.

    You two make my week , every week.

    And of course, Dive Polkie and her prancing do as well.

  • By: Mark

    mittens,hats,sock's, you name it. you can do a lot with wool.

  • By: jacqui pomeranski

    hi boys! i'm going to volunteer some friends (ok, mostly one) to maybe help teach you to spin… or at least get you started… we'll be at the glimmerglass opera festival costuming loads of llovely divas and divos, and if you would like to come by the campus in mid/late may, maybe we can get you started! (esp. if we can come by the farm and meet the farmily!)

  • By: Anniebananie

    Dr. Brent,

    Might I suggest a trip to the NY Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck NY, during the 3rd weekend in October (http://www.sheepandwool.com/)? You can try out so many wheels and spindles, and learn from some of the best spinners out there. Who knows you may even come home with more sheep for the herd?

    That way you would have more wool to process and spin, and perhaps sell to us knitters who can then make socks, gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, and sweaters with it!

  • By: Andre Jones

    Wow so excited to see so many wool enthusiast!

    I would needle felt a black sheep….let me know, and I will buy some wool-seriously.

    And my sheep give me kisses.

  • By: Delia DD

    Make little tiny stuffed animals & sell them to the highest bidder. Of course Polkie will want hers to win, so I hope you saved some of her fur, too? Polkie will start the bidding at $1,000,000. Cause Josh needs to come home.

  • By: suzanne spina

    I knit and would just purchase the beautiful wool by itself in a skein. They are just darling your little Baba and Lady, I see lots and lots of photo ops coming their way. Best of luck with them. Isn't it so fun getting a new animal on the farm!? There are some great ideas mentioned here. The felted wool soap particularly caught my eye though…lol. I love the pillow at the link, I have a lot of black and white decor in my home and that pillow would fit right in so I might just have to purchase one for a birthday present to myself! ;)

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