Our farm at Bear Creek is quite the menagerie. We started with just a few sheep as my daughter Libbie wanted a lamb. This led me to discover the fiber arts, as well as the joys of shepherding!
But as it turns out, sheep are like chips. You can’t stop at just one! As we learned more and more about shepherding, we continued adding to our flock. And of course, every lambing season grows our numbers.
We’re now at 275 sheep, and our flock includes Romneys, California Variegated Mutants, Corriedales, and our own breed mixes. They provide us with plenty of fleece for Bear Creek Felting. As passionate animal lovers, we work long hours to keep them healthy. Our guardian dogs, Angus and Tex, help keep them in check.
We also keep cows that we raise for beef. As a lifelong farm girl, I grew up around cows. My dad bred cattle and showed them at livestock exhibitions. It was quite an adventure, from bathing and blow-drying our best heifer or steer, then training it to follow you on a halter. I learned how to lead cows around the ring, showing them off for the judges. In time, I taught my kids how to do the same. It’s not easy — the cows are much bigger than children! Still, it’s a fun experience.
As a shepherd, I’ve also taken my best-looking sheep to these livestock shows. You lead sheep around the show ring holding their head, not a halter. Otherwise, the process is similar: give them a nice bath and send them out in all their fluffy glory!
I’ve spent a lot of time with both cows and sheep, so it makes sense that I’d end up needle-felting miniature versions of them! Cows are actually one of my favorite animals to felt.
In fact, judging and picking out animals for livestock shows really helped me with my craft. It taught how the animals should ideally look. This enabled me to include features other people may overlook in their needle felting. Being a farm-grown artist helps me make my creations more realistic.
Our barnyard buddies also include 12 chickens. In short, we have quite the menagerie that rivals our exotic needle-felted animals!
After needle-felting so many sheep and cows, I launched courses and kits for both as part of my Needle Felting Academy. You can find the cow course here and get an adorable black sheep kit here. I’ve also assembled a chicken kit inspired by our adorable coop.
So, you don’t need to have a farm to enjoy your own barnyard friends! You can needle-felt your own. If you ever want to meet our sheep, cows, dogs, and chickens, come out and visit Bear Creek and the Nome Schoolhouse. We’re happy to give you a tour.