What goes in must come out
Three years ago, I did not think I would be raising sheep, let alone talking about what goes in and comes out of sheep! Honestly, I cannot believe I am writing this post; my life and the life of my family has shifted so much in the past 18 months. And we wouldn’t change a thing!
We currently have 24 sheep on our farm. We will soon be breeding, which means we hope to have 20 additional lambs in May. Sheep eat corn and hay and drink a lot of water. As my daughter Hannah would say, “here are some fun facts”:
1) Our sheep eat 2-3 five-gallon buckets of corn and two bales of hay and drink approximately 60 gallons of water per day. In the summer, water intake goes up to as much as 100 gallons of water per day. That’s a lot of water hauling!
2) A five-gallon bucket of water weighs approximately 40lbs. Last summer, my 14-year-old daughter Autumn was on water duty most days. Honestly, she enjoyed it and rarely complained because she knew she was getting a work out. On a normal day, Autumn would fill and pour 24 five-gallon buckets of water into the water troughs for the sheep, which is 40 pounds at a time! No wonder she can now bench over 100 pounds and dead lift 250 pounds!
3) For those of you who don’t live in Minnesota/North Dakota, you may not realize what a challenge it is to keep water as water in the winter! It is only November 17 and we have already put heaters in our water troughs to keep the water from freezing. The heaters may stay there up to 6 months! The winter weather we get truly makes feeding and watering our animals a challenge. During the summer months, we haul water from our well pump to our barn using our lawn tractor with a trailer on it. During the winter months, that proves to be very interesting as the boys fish-tail across the ice and snow in the tractor. The boys like it, but it is hard for them to keep the water in the buckets all the way to the barn!
The reason I share all of this, is because we need your help! At Harvest Hope Farm, we have an immediate need for a Ranger for hauling feed, hay and water in the winter. A local company has generously offered to donate a portion of the cost, and for that, we are very grateful! Harvest Hope Farm now needs to come up with the rest of the cost.
If you are so inclined, we would greatly appreciate your donation to help defray the cost of this equipment. A donation of $500.00 would make one payment toward the equipment that is vital in keeping our sheep healthy and strong as we strive to carry out our mission to harvest hope in others by enhancing their emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial health through a hands-on farm experience and education concerning sustainable food resources and environmental stewardship!
How true it is that what goes in must also come out. A barn of 24 sheep creates a lot of output. Last weekend, on a cold Saturday afternoon and evening, we were blessed to have the help of two adults and two children from the Fargo Diocese’s Communion and Liberation Group help us clean the sheep pen in our barn in preparation for the winter months. These joyful helpers learned quickly how much comes out of sheep over a 3-month period, and believe me, it is not pretty!
I cannot imagine what it will be like when we have 100 sheep. We typically clean the sheep pen every 3 months. After 90 days of “output”, that is a lot of shovelfuls of Hope. The manure pile is growing and as you know, that is very good for spring gardening. For all you gardeners out there, please know we will be having a “Hope Party” this coming spring. You will be able to come and fill your five-gallon buckets with Hope! Watch our website for a date to come and bring a piece of Harvest Hope Farm back to your garden.
If you are thinking about a New Year’s Resolution that includes increased exercise, maybe you want to come and carry some five-gallon buckets of water to the sheep until we get a Ranger. Just ask Autumn, it’s a great workout at no cost!
As always, blessings and prayers of hope for all of you! As Thanksgiving approaches, we are thankful for you and your support of Harvest Hope Farm. Don’t forget to take some time to give thanks for all the blessings in your lives.