The Beginning of a Jacob Flock
My interest in Jacob sheep began some 20+ years ago, on a small farm in Kitsap County. My late husband, a Farrier by trade, Show Jumper by choice, came home one evening… scuffing his toe in the dirt and asking, “Can we have a lamb, he’s free, he won’t eat much and I’ll take care of him”. Well, I’d heard that one before (a “free” rabbit, the subsequent $1000.00 fence to keep him in and other critters out and a lot of rearranging to accommodate a house rabbit). After about an hour of pleading, we were off to his client’s farm and on our way back home with a 3 week old Jacob ram lamb. The steep learning curve started that very night, things like how to bottle feed a bummer lamb, what to feed a lamb, where to keep the baby that night and the discovery that “you can’t have just one”. The next morning, I was up early and on my way back to the farm, to BUY another one, a 4 week old Jacob ewe. So Jacob (my husband’s choice) and Ferry Tails Loraine (Rainey for short) were the start of our flock. At one time we had over 15 sheep, 6 horses, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 house rabbits to round out the crew.
Many things have transpired since that summer day, way back when…a move from Kitsap Co. to the Olympic Peninsula in 2000. We purchased 40 acres of raw land, with a river running through it and an unfinished house, which we were able to transform into the farm of our dreams, for us and our four- legged family. After four years and the untimely passing of my husband, my will to continue this way of life intensified. Being able to stay on the land, gave me the opportunity to provide a place for all of the animals to live out their lives peacefully. It was during that time, I found the opening to fulfill my own dream, starting a Fiber business, and so, Jacobs’ Fleece Farm was born. Those years were full of adventures, honing my spinning skills, learning to weave, growing my business while participating in Fiber shows, Farmers Markets and Jefferson Co Farm Tours. All the while building a reputation for prize winning fleeces, wonderful fiber for spinning, hand spun yarn and lots of hand knit creations. I am now on a much smaller farm just a mile north of my old one, my flock numbers 10 and am continuing to ever spread my wings and do the things I love. To date all those decisions I’ve made, have turned out to be some of the best ones of my life. I’m in a position, now, to say to myself…. This life I’ve chosen indeed feeds my soul.
Please use the following links to find out more about Jan and Jacob’s Fleece.
Shave ’em to Save ’em!
The Livestock Conservancy has long said that the way to save endangered breeds of livestock is to give them a job. In the case of wool sheep, we need to start using their wool again. In addition to encouraging fiber artists to try using rare wools, the program also educates shepherds about how to prepare their wool for sale and how to reach customers and fiber artists, thereby making it more profitable to raise heritage breeds.
The Jacob Sheep Breeder’s Association (JSBA)
Despite a steady increase in numbers, the American Jacob is still listed as a rare breed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. This organization is dedicated to the continuance and conservation of the breed.