|JW Van, born in the first crop of NC lambs, 2006|
After high school, I found a list of club lamb farms and recorded their information - distance from my farm, type of cross or purbred, prices, show records. I was in my last year of 4-H, ready to sign on as a volunteer as soon as I was of age, and was under the impression my flock would continue on the path of producing market lambs for kids.
Shortly thereafter, I looked up addresses for sheep associations and began writing for information. Soon information began to arrive, anything from a membership application with no breed information to booklets and color flyers and breed standards. (By the way, every sheep association is convinced that their breed is "the best".)
I found myself gravitating away from the common meat sheep I'd always known and towards the strange realms of sheep I'd not seen before. Pictures of Romanovs trailing quads, registrations requiring more than a number for each parent, and wool that had a market caught my attention. And yet, no sheep screamed "I am yours."
Somehow when I was looking up sheep association listings, the address I was provided with for the N-CSA was not for the registrar but for Marian White of Tunbridge, VT. When I wrote to her, I didn't receive pamphlets and fee schedules; I got color photos of her lambs and photocopied articles about the breed. The sheep were charming, the touch was personal, and I was hooked. I loved their history, their array of colors, and the conservation involved in raising them.
But how to get some?
I was daunted by the idea of tracking down these sheep. They seemed too far away, too unattainable. And of course I'd fallen for a rare breed, and don't they all cost a lot of money? (How wrong was I? These are the cheapest purebreds I've ever dealt with.)
Five years after high school, I sat in my sheep supply booth at the GSSB festival listening to the sheep show announcements in the next barn. Someone from eastern PA had brought a few Navajo Churros to the show, and I could here them being announced and placed. I was at the point where I needed a break from volunteering and to refocus on what I was doing, and I came to the conclusion that I needed to make my small flock profitable or get out of sheep. To at least flirt with profits, I knew I needed purebreds, and I knew which breed I wanted, so what on earth was I waiting for?
|DLF Glossy Girl at GSSB 2010, first NC I ever met|
I can't say it any better than the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association, so to learn the finer points of the breed's standard, history, and preservation, I recommend this site.