Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, LAMB, GRASS-FED BEEF, and WOODLAND/PASTURE-RAISED, MILK-FED PORK. We keep our animals true to their instincts- letting our pigs dig, our chickens range, our sheep graze. We feed rotationally graze on pasture and silvo-pasture (in the woods). We work with a local dairy to feed our pigs Jersey milk. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Lambs (and Accidental Farming)

Our sheep on pasture: today.

We never meant to be farmers. We have always had a garden and always knew that we wanted to feed our own family, but our sheep turned us into farmers. We were given nine scraggly looking sheep in the Spring of 2007, and we hoped to keep the grass down from around the barns at my grandmother's (non-working) farm. It killed us to see the buildings deteriorate and the grass be mowed, rather than eaten.

We thought we had all ewes (girl sheep), but a shearing revealed that we had three rams (one of whom was named Susie). Lambs followed soon after this discovery. Our flock grew and we were soon in the business of selling lamb. Our flock has stayed small, fluctuating between five and fifteen sheep usually, though we will be expanding soon to our growing pastures. All of our animals have a job. The sheeps' job remains mowing. We move the sheep on pasture in electric netting. They mow the grass down to a suitable height for the chickens, who move in next. The chickens scratch the sheep manure (spreading fertilizer on our fields), and eating larva and bugs that are laid in the sheep manure. The sheep and chickens are a good team and we have seen pasture fertility improve greatly using this system. We can't wait to see what they'll do for the pastures here at our new farm.

Some of our first lambs...the one's who got us into farming.

We don't have a particular breed of sheep. They're a mix of many different hardy, meaty, gentle animals. We have mixed a little Merino into the mix, which makes for nice skins, and beautiful yarn. Our favorite time of year is lambing, which is like Christmas every time.
The sheep are grass-fed. They eat from the pasture during the summer, and eat hay during the winter. Because their diet does not contain grain their meat is far less gamy tasting than most lamb. Many people who don't usually care for lamb have told us that they like ours because it is so mild. It is also less fatty than conventional lamb.
Our most popular lamb product is lamb sausage. People seem to get hooked on it! We also sell chops, roasts, racks, shanks, ribblets, organs, etc, and machine washable sheep skins. Come visit us at the Lebanon Valley Farmer's Market to give our grass-fed lamb a try!

Cousin Mark comes to visit and wins a lamb catching competition.

Our son taking the world "head on."
The sheep get comfortable with us, because we move their fences often, and they are sweet, and docile. Our son knows that most of the girl lambs will stay on the farm, and that the ram lambs will be around until the fall.
We all love the sheep.
Our sheep on pasture today. Notice: their shelter is made of pallets and above ground swimming pool siding.

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