Monday, 21 July 2008

The Woolly Shepherd Recommends

Val, the Woolly Shepherd in Somerset ( has over 23 years experience as a smallholder in the West of England. Having kept most types of livestock she has just reduced the flock from over 80 to 18 sheep. She has an ethical wool and fibre business which is expanding into eco friendly felt for domestic, fashion and horticultural use. She also hosts & runs courses in everything from smallholding for beginners to dyeing for the terrified.

You can follow life on this permaculture based holding with the Woolly Shepherds Diaries

Val recommeds another blogger from Somerset in England, her friend Lavendar Jack.

Jackie has been married to Gordon for 20 years and they have two daughters, Alexandra (19) and Stephanie (16). They're dairy farmers in Somerset and you can find her at

The blog is entitled

Just Me, Really
Me and my ramblings

That about sums it up - a pure farming blog it isn't - but great photos, an easy, fun, thoughtful style and recommended by the Woolly Shepherd.

Here's a taster:

"Yesterday we went out and bought a calf, something we haven’t done for many years, but there was a good reason. We wanted a friesian bull calf that wasn’t related to any of our herd so that in eighteen months or so we could start breeding from him. We have four types of calves on our farm - British Friesian males and females (both sire and dam are Friesian) and Hereford cross males and females where the mother is a British Friesian and the father is Harry, who is a pedigree Hereford. Harry is what’s known as a sweeper-bull. Our herd are made pregnant by artificial insemination (AI) but it isn’t always successful because it’s not as reliable a method as the one nature has provided. That’s where Harry comes in. Any of our herd that aren’t pregnant by the summer are caught by him and he then takes care of that problem. The reason we don’t have a fully-grown Friesian bull is that they’re notoriously bad-tempered. This one’s two weeks old and he’s already kicked me in the shin! Gordon says it’s because he’s frightened, which he may very well be, but I didn’t take kindly to being kicked whilst trying to feed him."

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