There is a trend in the homesteading world toward raising sheep. There are so many great reasons to consider adding sheep to your homestead, and Grace the Shepherdess is here to share with us all about her small-scale regenerative sheep farming operation.
Grace talks through some of the different breeds of sheep and what they are useful for, the ins and outs of rotational grazing with sheep, and the profitability of raising sheep in today’s market. If you are working with a small piece of land or you are simply interested in adding a smaller-scale ruminant to your homestead, join in on this conversation with the Shepherdess!
In this episode, we cover:
- Revitalizing the health of a flock of sheep through grazing management
- A description of hair sheep and their primary purpose
- What research Grace did to determine that sheep were a far more profitable endeavor for her than cattle
- The difference between how sheep interact with pasture versus cattle
- Addressing parasite issues effectively in sheep
- Being prepared to care for various health concerns that may affect your sheep
- What size property do you need to raise sheep?
- The unique temperament of sheep and how to develop a trusting relationship with them
E19: Getting Started with Sheep + Starting a Farm Business | Grace the Shepherdess – Homesteaders of America
Thank you to our sponsor!
McMurray Hatchery offers a wide selection of poultry breeds and supplies to assist you with raising your flock. Find what you need at McMurrayHatchery.com!
Grace is an entrepreneur, Shepherdess, and rotational grazing enthusiast. This eclectic mix converges as she shares her small scale sheep farming operation. Through YouTube Grace shares about regenerative farming for profit, raising Dorper sheep, and daily life as a small-scale, regenerative farmer!
Salad Bar Beef Joel Salatin
Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep
Be sure to follow Grace’s website and Instagram for updates about her upcoming book The Basics of Raising Sheep on Pasture
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Getting Started with Sheep + Starting a Farm Business Transcript
Amy Fewell Welcome to the Homesteaders of America Podcast, where we encourage simple living, hard work, natural healthcare, real food, and building an agrarian society. If you’re pioneering your way through modern noise and conveniences, and you’re an advocate for living a more sustainable and quiet life, this podcast is for you. Welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m your host, Amy Fewell, and I’m the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. If you’re not familiar with us, we are a resource for homesteading education and online support. And we even host a couple of in-person events each year with our biggest annual event happening right outside the nation’s capital here in Virginia every October. Check us out online at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. Follow us on all of our social media platforms and subscribe to our newsletter so that you can be the first to know about all things HOA (that’s short for Homesteaders of America). Don’t forget that we have an online membership that gives you access to thousands—yes, literally thousands—of hours worth of information and videos. It also gets you discount codes, an HOA decal sticker when you sign up, and access to event tickets before anyone else. All right. Let’s dive into this week’s episode.
Amy Fewell Welcome back to the Homesteaders of America podcast. This week we have Grace with us. Welcome to the podcast, Grace.
Grace Leake Hey, thank you so much for having me.
Amy Fewell Yeah. You guys might know her as The Shepherdess. A few months back, maybe even a year ago now, my husband and I actually found her online and we were watching some of her videos, maybe like some of you. And I was just like, hey, I like this girl. She’s my kind of people. I’m going to keep watching her. So welcome, Grace. How about you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Grace Leake Absolutely. So I’ll give you a 1000 foot view of my farm here. So I’m in northeast Texas on 30 acres, currently leasing the land from my family. I am running Dorper sheep as a primary enterprise for my farm business, and sheep are really ideal for my small acreage setup. Alongside them we run beef cattle as a complimentary as well as the laying hens. Those aren’t really a for-profit operation, you know, unless we’re speaking in terms of the land. But yeah, that’s a little bit of 1000 foot.
Amy Fewell Yeah. Awesome. So how did you get started in sheep? A lot of people are getting sheep. I feel like they’re kind of the next… We went through the chicken decade. Now we’ve moved into milk cows. Now I kind of feel like sheep are the next thing, which is one of the reasons I’m kind of having a few people about sheep on the podcast. So why don’t you talk a little bit about how you got started with them?
Grace Leake Absolutely. So I got into sheep out of a pursuit of beef cattle. So I’ll go back to when we sort of launched the farm as it was in 2018. We moved to the country and by “we” I say my family. And we moved to the country from suburban America back in 2018. We had an agricultural exemption on the land and we wanted sort of a low maintenance mini cow, so to speak, to put on the land and maintain that exemption. We had never owned any four-footed livestock before. We had done chickens, but we jumped in with all feet with the sheep. We bought a flock of 35 and we struggled a lot up front. And when I say “we”, I was not involved in the agricultural process at this time. I wanted to ignore it with all of my heart. So for the first two years, I just sat on the sidelines and watched these sheep struggle and struggle and struggle. And in 2020 I realized probably what a lot of your listeners have realized themselves, and that’s just the fragility of a food system we all rely on for three meals a day. And I said, I can’t sit on the sidelines. I’ve got to participate in some solution, even if it’s not huge. I’ve got to do something, and I do have a resource here in this family land. But I wanted to do beef because we had struggled with sheep. They have a few nuances about them that just make them difficult to raise. And so I jumped in to researching the process of raising beef cattle and stumbled upon a book called Salad Bar Beef by Joel Salatin. And that was a book that blew my mind wide open to this concept of regenerative grazing. How with this grazing management, you can see two times forage yield in your first year. You can see just a rapid revitalization of soil health. And then the third element was your animals are healthier because you are moving them away from their parasites before they can graze back over them and become sick again. And that was our primary struggle with sheep was the parasite management. I’m a firm believer that with knowledge comes accountability, and I had the knowledge to put a system in place that would save those dying sheep in front of me. And so I was like, okay, now I have to do something with sheep. And so I said, okay, it’s going to take six months before my beef cattle land anyway, so I’ll just practice with the sheep and see if this grazing thing really works and they get any healthier or they just keep dying and they all die by the time my beef arrives. So I put the grazing management in place with the sheep and just within a matter of 60 days, I mean, their health did a complete 180. We expected to… an entire flock, really, we expected to die over summer. Just entered a season of new life as the autumn came. And as I was watching this, it was my passion, the grazing management was my passion. And as much as my family was supporting me, I realized this was my thing. And also from a professional standpoint, business is my background, business is my my thing. And I began to see the profit in grass-based agriculture. And the reality is that sheep… If you can manage them and get their nuances under control, they are about—for me, in my context—they were about four times more profitable than my grass-fed beef plan.
Amy Fewell Wow.
Grace Leake As far as revenues go. And so I said to my family at that point in time, I said, “I want to buy this flock and I want to pursue it as a for-profit business opportunity for myself.” So they sold me the flock. The flock I wanted to drown in the river, I bought. And I hit the ground running. I worked out a lease agreement for that 30 acres that I’m working on now, and the rest is, well, kind of history. I guess three years isn’t really history yet, but a work in progress.
Amy Fewell Yeah. You’ve done a lot in three years. My goodness. That’s amazing. And I think it shows people that it’s totally doable. Especially new homesteaders who just get started. I mean, it took you no time to get those sheep going. And obviously you’ve learned a lot during that time, too. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about the sheep that you have and what their purpose is and how you kind of use them for your business?
Grace Leake Absolutely. So they are a Dorper sheep. They’re a hair sheep and not a wool sheep, and they are a meat sheep. So their primary product is meat. And hair sheep… A lot of your listeners probably are familiar with, but being that wool is unfortunately, I mean, in the mainstream, it doesn’t hold a lot of value. So the hair element… The sheep shed their coat instead of having to be shorn. And that just minimizes a lot of the financial liability that comes with raising sheep. And then the meat quality is different on a hair sheep versus a wool sheep. A lot of people will say, “I’ve tasted sheep before. It just got this really gamey flavor. It’s really gross.” Hair sheep are different in that the meat is a little more palatable, especially to an American consumer who it’s not part of their daily life. And so the meat from a Dorper sheep just tastes like a really high quality beef as far as my family has tasted it.
Amy Fewell Wow, that’s awesome. So, okay, I didn’t ask this in the beginning, but where are you located?
Grace Leake Mhm. Oh, I’m sorry. We are in Dallas. We are northeast of Dallas, so about an hour east.
Amy Fewell Right. And so that might… So a lot of times we have people ask if they don’t know if we haven’t said it in a podcast episode. So that kind of helps people generalize like regenerative agriculture. So that actually… See this opens up a new question. How does that work in Texas? So what is your climate like there? In your YouTube videos, I wouldn’t have guessed Texas because your pastures look amazing. And so can you break that down a little bit, what that looks like for your area? And if it works… Does it work like Joel Salatin’s method? Or have you had to use some different methods?
Grace Leake So every farm is different and I’ve really had to adapt to… in a sense, farm for myself. I’ve had to think for myself in a lot of ways. But as far as the climate question, just getting straight down to it, we’re about an hour away from the Louisiana border, so we are very wet in comparison to the rest of Texas. We’re about 47 inches of average annual rainfall. So we’re not really typical Texas weather at all or what people think of.
Amy Fewell Yeah. So you’re pretty good with regenerative type things. All right. Let’s talk a little bit about your… You mentioned you have a business background. So what was the point that you realized… Where did you kind of figure out that your sheep were going to make more than your beef cattle? Because there are a lot of people going into sheep. We’re getting into sheep for dairy, but most people get into sheep for meat. So kind of break that down a little bit.
Grace Leake Right? So from a business background, I just sort of did some preliminary… I set a business plan and I did market research, which it’s a bit humbling because a local rancher actually encouraged me to do something that I should have done first as a business person. But market research is essentially thinking backwards in the process and finding your customer first. In marketing, there is the four original principles of marketing, which is product, price, place, and promotion. You need to think of place and promotion first if you’re going into things for profit. So for me, that process looked like of realizing I could make more from sheep than beef was the first and most fundamental thing I did was I just toured the farmers markets in a one-and-a-half hour radius surrounding my farm. And as I was doing that, I was just scouting it out. Okay, how many people are selling grass-fed beef? Well, the market was saturated. There was about two or three vendors at every farmers market that were selling really good quality grass-fed beef. And they had a clientele. And you know farmers markets, I mean, people are loyal. And as I was doing that, I was also looking at the people that were selling sheep or lamb, and it was kind of touch and go. There was one or two here and there, but I was also looking at the price per pound on that lamb. And for example, ground lamb was at $13 a pound, standard baseline average. Ground beef was at $8 a pound. And so I kind of thought to myself, okay, on a local level, there may be an opening here. Also, because of my digital marketing background, I started to do things like surf Facebook pages where I knew I could plug my farm or what I had to offer and realized that there was not only a demand for meat, but there was also a demand for sheep. Period. There is a lot of demand in the small-scale farming arena, and people are just realizing, hey, I can do a lot more with sheep on two or three acres than I can with beef. You know, you have to have a breeding pair and then, you know, with the breeding pair, you’re already maxed out on two acres. But if you have sheep on two acres, I mean you can get a breeding pair and then run three additional moms aside from it. So all of that was culminating in this market research process. And I had lined out for myself probably about three different platforms that I could run sheep through all while realizing simultaneously beef was going to be a harder push. Not impossible by any means, but if I was looking for profitability and I was looking for a viable income, sheep was going to be a faster track to that. Oh, one more thing. I’m sorry. One more thing about market research was the conventional market pricing. Now I advocate direct to consumer 100%, but I did, just as a matter of business, go take a look at the conventional markets for beef and sheep. And in doing that, I realized on the hoof, sheep were bringing twice per pound what beef were bringing. And then I delved a little deeper. If people watch my YouTube channel, I delved a little deeper into sort of the dirty politics that surrounds the beef industry and realized, okay, the sheep industry doesn’t necessarily have that stranglehold. And while I advocate for fighting back, I mean, there’s a little bit of opportunity in the small ruminant sector.
Amy Fewell Yeah, absolutely. You know, the other thing that someone told me once, which made our decision… Because we were thinking about, do we get another dairy cow or do we go try dairy sheep? This episode is not about dairy, but one of the things that made me make my decision was a lot of sheep have twins where most cows don’t. And so some people were saying to me like, well, you have two babies you can sell or two babies you can butcher versus… You know. And so that was a big deciding factor for us, too, in getting sheep that I’ve really kind of enjoyed exploring. Well, let’s talk a little bit about your pasture setup. So you’re running your farm like a regenerative farm. How does that work with sheep? Are sheep harsher on your pasture than a cow, or is it the opposite? Are they better on your pasture than a cow? That kind of helps people make a decision, too.
Grace Leake Absolutely. So I would say it is equal, and it just comes down to management, period, and getting an understanding. So cow people will complain about sheep, that they’ll tear up the grass by its root systems and all of that. That typically only happens if you let them eat the grass down to the root systems. But just from a general standpoint, sheep make use of the opposite of what cows will make use of. And so if you’re running in a regenerative setting where you are monitoring, managing, and moving those animals, I really can’t speak a lot to the amount of damage. The only damage would be caused by me simply not moving those animals off of a patch of grass fast enough.
Amy Fewell Yeah. Now, in regards to their feces. So one of the reasons we love sheep is because they obviously have smaller feces. And so can you talk a little bit about that and the difference and how that works with your ground?
Grace Leake Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, the cows, you’ll have a big cow pie right in the middle of the pasture there. And the sheep have, like, these little… It’s really gross, but what are those caramel candies that are covered in chocolate?
Amy Fewell Oh yeah, the little Milk Duds or whatever they’re called.
Grace Leake Yeah, kind of like Milk Duds or—
Amy Fewell Whoppers. Is it Whoppers? Is that what you’re thinking about?
Grace Leake Yeah. I think yes.
Amy Fewell Yeah, that one. It’s that one.
Grace Leake Okay. I’m sorry. That was gross. But that’s what they look like. For people who are new to sheep than cows, that’s the difference. Pumpkin pie versus Whoppers. And so it’s a cleaner experience for small acreage. You’re stepping out into your backyard, and it’s your backyard. So when you’ve got those sheep droppings, it’s a cleaner experience. As far as the breakdown goes, this is an interesting thing. A lot of people complain about flies and cows simultaneously. You don’t have that problem with the sheep droppings at all. And so that is a big pro. As far as monitoring the breakdown, I have not monitored side-by-side like which one breaks down faster at all. But there are a lot of pros with respect to the sheep over cows in that respect.
Amy Fewell For sure. For sure. Especially on small acreage. I think a lot of people are waking up to the fact that, you know, they wanted a steer or they wanted a milk cow or whichever option they wanted to go with. And they’re realizing, okay, well, maybe that’s a little bit too much for my property, but hello, sheep. You know, it’s something people never thought about. So I wonder if you’ll talk a little bit… Now, there are different size sheeps, which I found out on my own when I got sheep. And so can you talk a little bit about the differences in sheep and their sizes and what’s good for what size property?
Grace Leake Yeah, absolutely. So in the hair sheep realm, I’m working with the Dorper, which is the largest sheep. I’m doing that because in a for-profit situation, I’m monitoring carcass size and its potential to put on a little bit of meat that I can sell at market. But then you’ve got the Katahdin sheep, which is the mid-sized in the hair breeds. And the St. Croix, which is the smallest of the hair breeds. And so those are your three on the hair sheep spectrum. I have a limited amount of experience with the wool sheep. I can’t speak a lot to those, but that is the size spectrum within the hair sheep breed.
Amy Fewell Yeah. So typically how big do your Dorpers get in weight?
Grace Leake So the rams are about 250 and the ewes are about 150. Some of my big girls are a little bit bigger than that, but that’s generally where they’re at.
Amy Fewell Okay, awesome. So I’m going to rewind a little bit. You were talking in the beginning about your sheep dying of this flock that your family got. And I’m sure you said it was for parasites. So can you talk a little bit about that? How parasites… You know, sheep are very fragile to parasites and how we can kind of overcome that.
Grace Leake Yeah, absolutely. So the parasite life cycle, the one that you’re going to deal with probably the most intensely is the Barber’s pole worm. And how it happens is basically it comes out through their feces, it lands on the pasture and within—if it’s that cool breezy weather—within about three to five days, those parasites have crawled up the grass and have the capacity to be re-ingested by the grazing animal and re-infected. So with the grazing, moving within a day or two in those peak seasons removes a lot of the risk of re-infestation. And that was really what broke it for us in the cycle. Now, I do have to be sensitive. I do still use conventional deworming methods, so I’ll be sensitive about speaking to that. But I want to also be honest about that. We do still use conventional dewormer on a small acreage, but the grazing management was what really did it. Because what happens is once you leave that pasture paddock, within 45 days, about half of the parasite load, half to three quarters has just died naturally. So if you give that paddock 45 days of rest, you have basically minimized your exposure right then and there, and that’s really what broke it. I said within about a 60 day time frame, our flock had done a 180 and that was really it.
Amy Fewell That’s amazing. Yeah.
Amy Fewell Hey, guys. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode. We’re going to take a quick break and bring you a word from one of our amazing sponsors. McMurray Hatchery officially started in 1917. Murray McMurray had always been interested in poultry as a young man and particularly enjoyed showing birds at the local and state fairs. Nowadays, the hatchery is still completely through mail order, but they offer way more than ever before. From meat chicks and layer hens to waterfowl, ducklings, goslings, turkeys, game birds, juvenile birds, they even have hatching eggs and a whole lot of chicken equipment. Make sure you check out our Homesteader of America sponsor McMurray Hatchery at McMurrayHatchery.com and get your orders in today. And don’t forget to stop by their booth at the 2023 HOA event.
Amy Fewell Now you have some stuff on your website, like you have starter packages, right? That people can kind of go to and see what you use. We’ll link all that information obviously in the show notes. But I know for me it was helpful because there’s not a whole lot of sheep information online. And so when we’re looking for… I like to prepare ahead of time with certain products because you never know what you’re going to get into with any kind of livestock. I did this with our cow as well. So what are some tools and some vitamins or minerals or wormers or antibiotics that you like to keep on hand for your sheep?
Grace Leake Yes. Right. So I keep a general dewormer on hand for the Barber’s pole worm and a general dewormer on hand for coccidia. And then I also keep what’s called a vitamin B on hand. This is just a vitamin that you can give. It’s very fast acting, and it just deals with any stressful situation that the sheep has come through. I have this on standby 100%. And then I also keep an iron supplement on hand for sheep. Being that parasites and depending on the season and life stage are very difficult on sheep, if you give them an anemia supplement, an iron supplement, it can really put them back on their feet really, really fast. So those are my top four that I keep on hand at all times. And for lambing, you’re going to want to keep something on hand. It’s a supplemental colostrum and that’s something that has just saved a lot of lambs on my farm. I have a 15 piece essentials kit that’s really something. I call it my first aid kit for sheep, and those are the 15 pieces I’m jumping for or the 15 pieces that have historically on my farm saved life when it’s on the brink. But those are my top four.
Amy Fewell Yeah. And those are things that a lot of people don’t think about. You know, a lot of people jump into sheep or cows or whatever, and they have nothing. So I know for us when we first got our sheep, I had so many questions because suddenly they had like this respiratory stuff from being shipped even just a short distance. And I had zero idea what to do, which I’m sure most livestock owners… you know, I knew how to treat a cow just because I grew up around it, but I wasn’t quite sure about sheep. And so we’ve done a lot of research, a lot of reading to kind of figure out the health of sheep. So are there any books or anything that you recommend to new sheep owners or future sheep owners that they can kind of look through?
Grace Leake Yeah, absolutely. So I would recommend the Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep, and that’s going to give you an overview of everything. It’s kind of a scary book to look at because you start to get paranoid, but if anything weird is happening to your sheep, that’s just going to be the baseline. The baseline. The interesting thing about my journey personally is that I did not read any sheep books until maybe about last year. I read pasture management books and that really… And I want to stress that because that was something that really improved the health of our animals on whole. As far as the conventional stuff, we just touched base with local ranchers, local people who were raising the same thing as us in the same climate. And there were so many generous and gracious people who said, “Okay, we raise sheep in this climate, we raise goats in this climate, this is what you’re going to expect, and this is really what we do to handle them.” So if you can in any way touch base on a local level, somebody who’s going to help you locally, it’s just going to be your lifeline.
Amy Fewell Yeah. Now you’re working on a book too, right?
Grace Leake I am. For people watching, it’s The Basics of Raising Sheep. This is a paper copy of the front side. This is going to be basically the kindergarten and first grade for sheep owners. And I think in that terms because, you know, in kindergarten and first grade, the most important thing that you can do for an education is get a visual idea of what problems are and get advice on how to fix them. So basically in that book, it’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of our first five years with sheep. All of the problems we encountered, how we treated them, how we brought a lot of sheep out of some difficult situations that were caused. And I have to be honest, they were caused simply because we were beginners. We didn’t know how to watch for problems. We didn’t know how to treat them in their early stages. But this book gives a lot of real good pictures of sick sheep, healthy sheep, and what to watch for in between and how to treat them should you choose to do that.
Amy Fewell Yeah, that’s awesome. And that’s super necessary for right now. So that’s super cool you have a cover on it. When will that be published? When will it be out for people to buy?
Grace Leake Lord willing, we’re looking at the middle of August. And it’s going to be hopefully a ready-to-ship product, so you’ll have it in hands shortly after you purchase.
Amy Fewell Okay. And do people have the option to preorder it yet?
Grace Leake No preorders yet. I’m still waiting on a printing date, probably by the end of this month. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I’ll send out more updates.
Amy Fewell Yeah. So what we’ll do, guys, is we’ll link her website below and you can kind of get updates there if you don’t already follow her online, depending on when this recording comes out. If it’s come out after the book comes out, then we’ll obviously grab that link below and share it. All right. I’ve got a couple more questions for you and then I will let you go. You’ve already been like a wealth of information in such a short amount of time. So you said you have 30 acres. Are you running your sheep on all of those 30 acres or you only have certain spaces of that acreage for your sheep?
Grace Leake So I only have about 23 acres available for the sheep. The remaining seven is front yard, back yard. We’ll use it in emergencies like drought or where we just need to stretch pasture in low rainfall. Last year was a bit of a difficult year, so we used the full 30, but cross-fenced pasture for sheep is 23.
Amy Fewell Okay. All right. And so somebody’s getting started with the sheep… What’s the acreage necessary for sheep? A lot of people have one acre, two acre, three acres. Kind of talk to the one to five acre range and what they can kind of expect, obviously, depending on what kind of property they have.
Grace Leake Yeah, absolutely. So this is neat because I actually received a comment from a viewer the other day. She’s running an acre and a half and she has six dairy sheep that she does all grazing on that acre and a half. Now she manages it and she does do some plantings and she really works it. But that’s just the potential that you have if you have your rotation and some good pasture management. So per acre… I’m always asked sheep per acre. If you’re working on one to five acres, you can do about two sheep per acre if you have good grass. And that is something you can grow. You can grow your flock from there. But I’d start with two per acre. And the reason I say this is because if somebody is on three or four acres, you know, that is six ewes and a ram. Well, what happens in nine months? They twin or they lamb at a rate of one and a half and all of a sudden you have a flock of ten or 15. So the capacity to grow really fast is there. But starting small will allow you to really manage those problems on a small scale before those babies start dropping and you have large scale flock.
Amy Fewell Yeah, and that’s really encouraging, hopefully for you guys to hear, because a lot of our homesteaders that follow us, they have small acreage and they think, “I will never be able to have my own meat source outside of rabbits,” right? “I will never be able to have my own dairy source outside of a dairy cow or goats.” And a lot of people shy away from goats because they can be a little bit crazy. Which brings me to my next question. Sheep can be a little bit crazy, too, right?
Grace Leake Yeah, but they’re not as bad as goats.
Amy Fewell No, they’re not as bad as goats. And so when we… so let me tell you my quick story. When we brought our sheep home… Now, these were very well handled sheep. They were very loved and they respected polywire and everything. But when we got them here and we put them in polywire, they jumped the polywire every single day because they had no idea where they were or what they were doing. So I wonder if you could tell our listeners, what is the temperament of a sheep? What should you not do? What should you do? Kind of like that.
Grace Leake Right. So when people purchase sheep from me, I’m always like, just don’t get too intensive with your rotation right up front. Let them get used to you and let them get used to where they’re at. Whether that means you let them graze the whole thing for a little bit. Just let them do that. Bucket train them. Put some alfalfa pellets in a bucket and make them understand the sound of your voice and just calm down. And then put them in a paddock. Then put them in a paddock. So the sheep’s temperament is when they trust you, they will trust you. And when they don’t, they absolutely won’t. But it’s like with anything. And the neat thing with sheep is that the relationship builds over time. Just give them some time to get to know you and adjust.
Amy Fewell Yeah. And we just got our sheep just a couple of months ago. Like it hasn’t even been six months. I think it’s only been three months maybe, and totally different than the first week that we brought them home. Now they don’t even need to be haltered to be taken anywhere. They just follow you and they’re the sweetest things. And it’s true what you said. You nailed it. You said, “When they trust you, they trust you.” And they really do all-in trust you if you are trustworthy. And so my husband prides himself now. He just shakes the little jar and they just come and he’s fine. And I’m like, “Oh, look at you.” Because I’m always with the baby, right? Like, I’m always with the baby. And they’re supposed to be my sleep and they haven’t gotten to know me very well yet. And so it’s funny. He’s really cute about it. Well, anything else you want to share with us today before we get off of here?
Grace Leake You can find me at Shepherdess.com and as well on YouTube and Instagram. I will be releasing that book, Lord willing, at the end of this month. But I just really want to encourage people out there who are starting. You can start with a bit of an inferiority complex, but the reality is whether you’ve been in this for two years, two months, two weeks, or two decades, you’re always going to feel the same way. I mean, the more you learn, the more you realize you have to learn. So don’t really let the fact that you don’t know anything yet hold you back. We are at a place where we need more people to do this on a small scale. I mean, small food is going to be the backbone of our nation. And we’ve seen a taste of that, what happens when big food fails us. But just on a personal level, I’m going to say God’s grace is 100% sufficient. He can use somebody who has no experience in agriculture, but if you rely on him for wisdom, I mean, you’re going to get it. He promises to give it, and you can go places that naturally you would never have the ability to go in yourself.
Amy Fewell Yeah, that’s one of the thing I love about sheep is they’ve taught us the imagery of the Bible. Like, it’s just so interesting to just sit back and watch these sheep and your relationship with them. And it’s truly been an incredible experience, not just on the physical aspect and farming aspect, but just as a believer on the spiritual aspect as well. It kind of brings the Bible to life when you own sheep, and it’s super special.
Grace Leake It does. And it’s interesting because as a shepherd or a shepherdess, when your sheep feel good, you feel good. And when your sheep feel bad, you feel horrible. And it’s just neat to think about that in respect to our relationship with the Lord, that he is so deeply connected to us that he hurts when we hurt and he’s happy when we’re happy. And that’s just… You hit it. You just learn so much.
Amy Fewell That’s awesome. I’m super happy that you feel that way, too, because not all shepherds and shepherdesses feel that way. They’re like, “Oh, it’s sheep. It’s mutton.” You know? It’s like, whatever. But it’s awesome. All right, Grace, thank you for joining me today. This was a lot of good information. We hope that you guys listened, and I’m sure you were taking notes. Every podcast episode, everybody’s like, “Oh, I learned so much.” So check her out on YouTube, like she said, on her website. We’ll link all of that information below. If you have any questions, I’m sure, you know, you can certainly ask them. One more thing.
Grace Leake Yeah, I’m going to be at Homesteaders of America, Lord willing, in October. So if anybody is going to be there, I would love to say hi.
Amy Fewell Okay, awesome. So you guys heard that. She’s going to be at HOA too, which is funny because you were actually on my short list for speakers to reach out to this year, but I filled up before I ever got to you. So maybe next year, right?
Grace Leake Maybe next year.
Amy Fewell All right. Until next time, guys, have a great one and happy homesteading.
Amy Fewell Hey, thanks for taking the time to listen to this week’s Homesteaders of America episode. We really enjoyed having you here. We welcome questions and you can find the transcript and all the show notes below or on our Homesteaders of America blog post that we have up for this podcast episode. Don’t forget to join us online with a membership or just to read blog posts and find out more information about our events at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. We also have a YouTube channel and follow us on all of our social media accounts to find out more about homesteading during this time in American history. All right, have a great day and happy homesteading.