Lavender HIll Farm of Niles, MI

  (Niles, Michigan)
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The End of an Era

This past Wednesday marked the end of an era at our farm.  Our Black Welsh Mountain Ram, Rambo died of natural causes.  He is pictured on the first page of our web site at We got Rambo and three purebred ewes from Wye Plantation in Maryland in 2000.  Tom Wyman, the owner, imported this breed of sheep from Great Britain in about 1972.  Black Welsh Mountain sheep are small animals, and notable because of their very black wool. Though the wool surface will bleach to brown in the sun, it is very black beneath.  But what we love the most is the docile, gentle nature of this breed. Even though Rambo had a mean looking set of horns, we knew he would never hurt anyone.  A nicer ram we have never had.  

We will always remember the trip back from Maryland in October of 2000 with Rambo and the ewes in the back of our capped Ford F150.  We parked for the night in the driveway of my sister's house in a Philadelphia suburb.  Many of the neighbors probably wondered what the loud drumming noise was that they heard throughout the night. It was in fact Rambo's horns hitting the cap of the pickup as he got friendly with the ewes.  We heard the same noise as we drove down the highway all the way home.  It took a few generations before these new, east coast sheep really integrated with the rest of our flock of mostly Suffolk sheep. Now we raise almost excusively Black Welsh and are phasing out the Suffolk because of their easier care and gentle nature.


Christmas is Coming

December 7, 2008

I'm resting today after being at the Chesterton, Indiana Mistletoe Market yesterday. It was good seeing lots of folks I know from previous years selling at the Chesterton European market.  This week will be a busy one, full of preparations for Christmas; packing gifts for out of town relatives, writing Christmas cards, and making special holiday decorations from paper, wool, evergreens and lavender.  I am also preparing for our last scheduled open day this year for the shop on the farm this Saturday, December 13.  I hope that folks will make the trek out here to see the natural beauty we enjoy every day.

The fresh 10 inches of snow that has fallen over the last two days paints a Christmaslike setting on our farm.  The evergreen boughs are frosted white, and the lavender is blanketed with snow, a good protection from our cold winters.  Even today it is snowing lightly but in big, discrete flakes, reminiscent of the Christmas-eve snow in "A Charlie Brown Christmas".  Like Linus I hope that people will keep in mind the real reason for the season this year.

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