Several years ago, my dream of owning a small piece of property for sheep and a garden came true. My family moved just eight miles from a busy suburb to a little pocket community nestled between several suburbs. We found a run-down house and outbuildings on 4.5 acres with a creek running through it. The tiny house sat smack in the floodplain, so we had to decide if we could live that close to the creek, and within its 1000 square feet—we wouldn’t be allowed to change the footprint. It would mean some severe downsizing.
It took us nearly two months to make the decision to buy the place, knowing that it would be a radical change in lifestyle. What we didn’t know at the time was that it would take us a year to remodel the house so that it was habitable. It was a very long year. But in the end, our little house on Maxwell Creek is like a cozy vacation cabin—not enough storage inside, not fancy on the outside, but the acreage outside the house was priceless.
Slowly we are working on remodeling the outbuildings. We now have a nice animal barn, and the once-greasy car shop has become the Little Red Barn, our fiber studio and gathering place. The run down storage shed has become a roomy sheep shed. DH built a cool shelter from the huge trunks of a tree that fell down on the property, and it houses most of our chickens. Eventually we’ll redo the carport. We look around and see nothing but unfulfilled potential
The name “Jacob’s Reward” comes from the breed of sheep that started our shepherding adventure. Jacob sheep got their name, presumably, from the story in the Bible (Genesis, chapter 30) of the patriarch Jacob who worked very hard for his father-in-law to win his beloved wife, Rachel. In the course of that work, he became very wealthy, breeding spotted sheep and taking over more and more of his father-in-law’s flocks. His years and years of hard labor were not in vain. He eventually received his Reward.
Like Jacob, we’ve put in years of slowly building the fiber herd and egg-laying flocks. You can read about each species on its own page: sheep, alpacas, guard dogs, and chickens.
The most amazing part of our whole farm experience has been the evolution of the shepherding and fiber dream. At first I thought this farm was for our own enjoyment; a quiet, idyllic life far from suburban noise. But it became clear very soon, that the farm was a gift given to me to share with others. One day, a friend spent the day with me pulling weeds and digging in the garden. We had the most beautiful time turning the earth and preparing the beds for vegetables. She called me that evening to thank me for the joy and peace and healing that she had experienced here. Over time, more and more people came and visited the farm and enjoyed its treasures… fresh air, wide-open spaces, furry critter kisses, fiber-craft camaraderie, and more. Soon, people I didn’t even know were drawn to the good things to be found within our boundaries. The gift of Jacob’s Reward was too big for just me. It was meant to be shared.
We’ve begun to feel our age, now, so the farm is down to a handful of pet sheep and some sweet dogs and cats. Maybe we’ll have more time to dig in the dirt and grow a few vegetables. We do keep our friends updated fairly regularly on our Facebook page, so drop by when you can!