Extreme Shepherding: The most incredible sheep herding in the world!

This is my all time favorite video of what a man and his dog can do...prepare to be amazed, stunned and filled with wonder! The Baa-Studs presents: Extreme Shepherding...

Celebration Of Breed Specific Yarns & Fibers!

Stark Hollow Farm Natural Colored Icelandic Yarn

Northeast Fiber Arts Center in Williston, VT will be hosting a Celebration of Breed Specific Yarns & Fibers at their center on Route 2 in the village of Williston on Saturday, January 12th, 1- 3 p.m.

There is a growing interest in single-breed yarns and Stark Hollow Farm's Icelandic wool will be featured prominently in the this hand's on exploration of the unique qualities of the fiber that is available from the diversity of local breeds here in Vermont.

There will be a presentation introducing the farms and some of the individual sheep that the fiber comes from as well as the history of some of the breeds. There will be an opportunity to handle the product and knit some of the yarns during a "fiber tasting" session following the presentation.

Purchase one of Northeast Fiber Arts Center's white local Vermont yarns or fibers at this event and bring it back (all spun up or felted, if you got fiber) and they'll have some dyepots going for you on January 26th so you can custom dye your project!

This is a great opportunity to learn about the specific breeds of sheep, their wool characteristics, the farms that they were raised on and the interesting history of sheep in Vermont!

Here is a link to the event page for Northeast Fiber Arts Center. Scroll down to see the event and to register:

Stark Hollow Farm Supports Local On-Line Farm Stand

Folks in the communities of Jericho, Richmond, Jonesville, Huntington, Westford, eastern part of the town of Essex, did you know that you can one-stop shop local farmers and artisans on the Jericho-Underhill Your Farm Stand?

You can find our delicious meat products available there for order along with wonderful locally grown vegetables, artisan cheeses, soaps and lotions and other wonder art and gift items. This is a weekly market with two convenient local pick up locations. Please support this wonderful new addition to our community. It is volunteer run and brings the whole idea of the CSA to a new level. We need your support today to make this market a viable and successful option for those who appreciate "zero mile" foods and the care that your local farmers and artisans take in bringing their products to market.

Enter the market through this site: http://www.underhill-jericho.com/. Place your order by midnight on Wednesdays for delivery on Thursdays.

A leg of lamb would be perfect for the holidays!

Icelandic Sheep Horns

"Ember's" Horns: 2 year old Stark Hollow Farm Icelandic Ram

The Icelandic sheep breed comes both horned and polled, with the horned animals tracing their ancestry back to ancient times. The male's horns curl similar to those of wild North American mountain sheep such as the Big Horn or Dall sheep. Icelandic ram horns will begin their second "curl" by three years of age.

Sheep have always been in important relationship with human beings. This can be seen throughout history in the mythologies and religious symbolism that the sheep held in most cultures. Horned deities are prevalent throughout many of the ancient cultures. Historically, the ram has been revered in many cultures as representing creative energy, fertility and strength. In astrology, the ram is associated with the constellation Aries, the first sign from 0 to 30 degrees in the zodiac. The is the birthing energy, the springing forth, the emergence of new forms and potentiality.

Today, folks use the horns of the ram for display, creative purposes and for Renaissance helmets and accouterments, such as drinking horns. Modern crafters use Icelandic horns to make particularly beautiful horn buttons for sweaters, coats and bags.

Ember's horns are for sale at $45.00 each or $85.00 for the pair. E-mail us at farmer@starkhollowfarm.com if interested.

Samples of other uses for sheep horns:

Sheep Horns used for costume

Horn Votive

Horn Candle Holders

Horn Hair Pieces

Decorative Horn Drinking Vessel

Decorative Horn Buttons

A Farmer's Field Journal

A farmer's field journal...filled with exotic and subtler nuances of farm life, it can contain everything from notes about the weather, natural remedies for animal care, feed resources, and the mood of a particular animal on a given day. The well thumbed pages and chicken scratched observations of Vanessa's field journal will serve as the memory of days past and seasons gone by in the endless cycle of life on the farm.

Vanessa's Field Journal

Vanessa's Chicken Scratch

On the left, notes about hay resources. On the right, ear notch designations and names of this year's Tamworth piggies.

Icelandic Breeding Ram Off to New Home

The final Icelandic breeding ram of our 2012 season traveled to his new home in Jaffrey, NH last week. Driscoll, a handsome, well built ram with and strong AI lines, and of excellent lineage, including Tongue River Farm and Jager Farm, will be used for breeding.

Driscoll with his new harem!

Fall Shearing at Stark Hollow Farm

Fall shearing is an exciting time on any sheep farm. It's a chance to see how everyone is looking. Are the sheep looking healthy? Are they thin? How have the lambs grown out?

With our wonderful Icelandic breed, it's a chance to assess their fleece color/pattern more fully. We love the opportunity for real handling of the animals. Laying hands on each animal is a way to be in deep connection with them as well as assess their overall health.

We have lovely raw Icelandic fleeces for sale from this fall's shearing. If you are interested in a fleece, feel free to contact us or visit our website: http://starkhollowfarm.com/id70.html for more information. (see photos below.)

Jim & Liz work their magic!

Codina Before Shearing

Codina After Shearing (on left)
Dipper Before Shearing
Dipper After Shearing

Notice the interesting "dappling" pattern under Dipper's white fleece...very cool...

Black Grey Fleece

Moorit Badger-Face Fleece

Another Icelandic Ram Lamb Off to New Home

Stark Hollow Farm Icelandic ram lamb heads off to his new home in Potsdam, NY. Congratulations to Vanessa Bittner of Old Market Farm on this wonderful guy.. Drake is a handsome ram with great conformation, wide horns, nice broad chest, round, well form rump and an overall nice stature. His base color is moorit, though he appears white (he has a "hole" in his white pattern through which you can see the moorit color!). He may carry the badger face pattern.  Good luck, big boy! To see more of our gorgeous Icelandic rams for sale at Stark Hollow Farm,Vermont, go to www.starkhollowfarm.com.

Icelandic Ram "Drake"

How to Move a Pig

Happy Tamworth Pig in Vermont
"Actually, the most difficult and time-consuming task on a great many farms with hogs is getting them from point A to point B while maintaining a modicum of dignity and your religion." Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs

During our first couple of years raising pigs, we experience many moments of losing our religion trying to move pigs from point A to point B. Especially since we employ rotational foraging practices which may require moving hogs across long distances. We finally discovered a method that seems to work and we would encourage all of you to try this method when moving your piggies.

Vanessa constructed a small cage, open at the top and bottom, out of a heavy duty welded wire hog panel. Fashioned in a horse-shoe shape with a straight sided opening. This can easily be placed down over the pigs. If there is separating of pigs required, we first coral them into a smaller paddock, then using a piece of ply wood, we push and direct the hogs we want to move into the cage.

Hogs corralled in moving pen
Making sure the hogs are sufficiently hungry helps. Throwing down handfuls of sweet potatoes or apples seems to keep various groups satisfied whilst the moving occurs. Our pigs are trained to a specific "call", which is delivered at each feeding so that, in the event a pig gets loose, the "call" can inspire a Pavlovian response in the pig! Two to three people can then move the pigs by dragging the cage along the ground as the piggies walk along wondering where they are going. We have moved pigs up to a 1/2 mile this way with no problem.

As always in farming, it takes patience and stamina.

Registered Icelandic Breed Stock in Vermont

Stark Hollow Farm provides superior Icelandic breed stock to small farms and breeders throughout New England. In recent months, several start flocks as well as ewe lambs and ram lambs were sold to farms in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

We strive to produce superior animals with excellent conformation, meaty builds, luxurious fleeces and good parasite resistance.

Icelandic lamb is considered a gourmet tasting lamb, mild yet flavorful. Our lamb typically sells out in a matter of weeks! Contact us if interested. Lamb will be available in mid November. Check our website for more information at www.starkhollowfarm.com.

The dual coated fleece, natural colored fleece of these animals is prized by handspinners and felters.

Daphne, a gorgeous moorit  ewe lamb headed off to her new home in Waitsfield, Vermont today.

For more information on Stark Hollow Farm Icelandic sheep for sale, visit us at Stark Hollow Farm.

Vermont Forage Based Rabbits Kindling* Hutches

Vanessa at work!

Vanessa's custom designed, modular rabbit hutches accommodate new mamas with their newly kindled bunnies. The mothers must be separated and provided their own space during the crucial days leading up to kindling and in the days and weeks following the birth of their bunnies.

The Finished Hutch

During their time in the kindling hutches, mamas are fed grasses, clover, parsnip leaves, carrots and other garden greens as well as grain supplements while their young ones are nursing. As the bunnies grow older, they too, begin to consume forage before they are placed back into rotational field hutches.

The New Mama's Rabbit Village

Watch for us at the Burlington Winter Farmer's Market this year for delicious forage based rabbit meats.

* The definition of Kindle as used in animal husbandry is: (of animals, especially rabbits) to bear (young); produce (offspring).

Stark Hollow Farm Consults with Sue Morse

Vanessa Riva, Sue Morse and Laura Smith

Sue Morse, founder of Keeping Tracks and a recognized expert in natural history and wildlife tracking, came to HOWL recently and consulted with Stark Hollow Farm owner, Vanessa Riva, about her farm management and stewardship of HOWL lands.

Sue applauded Stark Hollow Farm's rotational grazing methods, absence of permanent fencing that would obstruct wildlife passage, abatement of non-native invasive plants, encouragement of plant diversity which supports diversity of wildlife, and the maintenance of "rough" meadow areas along field borders.

Stark Hollow Farm continues to amend fields, maintain core wildlife habitat and corridors, and provide rigorous stewardship of the HOWL lands. This work has been recognized and is highly valued by HOWL, A Vermont Women's Land Trust with whom the farm has a wonderful and mutually beneficial partnership with.

Vanessa Riva & Sue Morse

Vanessa Riva & Sue Morse at the top of the South Meadow

Icelandic Sheep on South Meadow

Forest/Pasture Raised Tamworth Pigs

Buttercup Kindled!

Buttercup, one of our foundation breeding doe rabbits, has kindled another litter. Photos to come soon as the little critters are all cozied up in a large nest of hay and mama's fur.

Stark Hollow Farm Rabbit Pelts - Lost Arts

Stark Hollow Farm luxurious rabbit pelts will be used to teach children and adults during Lost Arts Week at Common Ground Center in Starksboro, Vermont.

The preparation and tanning of pelts is an ancient practice with practical roots. Rabbit pelts now are mostly used in decorative or craft applications, but at one time this important skill contributed to our survival.

The Common Ground Center promotes the preservation of these rapidly disappearing skills through its Lost Arts programming which offers an amazing hands-on opportunity for kids and adults to experience many traditional and primitive skills.

We love doing business local! You can check them out on the web at: Common Ground Center.

Icelandic Fleeces to be used for Lost Arts Week

Thanks go out to Sandra and the Common Ground Center in Starksboro, Vermont for their purchase of raw Icelandic Fleeces from Stark Hollow Farm to support their Lost Arts programming this summer. The dual-coated Icelandic fleece is a great choice for hand spinning. By using Icelandic fleeces, this non-profit organization helps to support the continuance of the genetics of this magnificent primitive breed. Common Ground programming for both kids and adults teaches a variety of lost arts. We thank Common Ground Center for supporting the continuance of these intriguing and useful skills.

Raw Icelandic Fleece

Common Ground Center is located in Starksboro, Vermont. From their website:

Mission: Common Ground Center is a cooperatively run non-profit arts, education, and outdoor recreation and retreat center. We are dedicated to bringing together and strengthening diverse families and communities through unique program offerings and facility rentals. Our beautiful site demonstrates our commitment to environmental sustainability.

Vermont Forage Based Rabbit Meat

Farm fresh, forage based rabbit meat available now from Stark Hollow Farm. We raise meat rabbits on pasture where they have access to lots of tasty pasture grasses & weeds. They also receive a variety of garden gleanings and cash & carry vegetables and supplemental grains. We are a small homestead style farm and only raise a few dozen rabbits each season, so you can be assured that these animals are given individual attention as members of our farm.

Rabbit is considered the healthiest of all meats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated that rabbit is the most nutritious meat known to man. It is the lowest in both calories and cholesterol than most meat products including beef, pork, lamb, and chicken and yet it has the highest percentage of protein. It is often a meat recommended to folks with special needs diets or those who sometimes have trouble digesting other meats. It is the most sustainable, lowest impact, highest production meat available.


Whole carcasses available at $8.50/lb, vacuum packed, frozen.
For more information: Stark Hollow Farm Forage Based Rabbit Meat

Icelandic Starter Flock Sold

Stark Hollow Farm sold another starter flock of gorgeous registered Icelandic sheep to a Edge Fuentes and Katie Spring, resident farmers at Applecheek Farm in northern Vermont. They will be raising the sheep for meat and wool and as part of their intensive grazing strategy of land management. They were drawn to the primitive Icelandic breed as a multi-use breed that is both thrifty and rugged. Their natural colored, dual coated fleeces are prized by handspinners and they thrive in the snowy, mountainous winter terrain of northern Vermont.

Two proven ewes and four 2012 Icelandic ewe lambs of diverse genetics will have Edge and Katie off to a great start with their new flock. Congratulation Edge & Katie!

Dove - a bright white ewe lamb

Laura with the sheep corralled and ready to go!

Edge with Dover - gorgeous black badgerfaced ewe lamb

The flock at their new home...

Icelandic Sheep Travel to New Home

Congratulations to Kate Maclean for her purchase of three of our beautiful Icelandic ewe lambs. Here is a photo of the lambs in the back of her Subaru on their way to their new home...check out Kate's blog at the longest acre.

Delphie, Dubrah & Dax

2012 Icelandic Lambs for Sale

2012 Icelandic lambs for sale at Stark Hollow Farm in Vermont. Something for everyone: stocky, meaty builds, great conformation, wonderful fleeces, great AI lines, good temperaments. These are registered Icelandic sheep from good blood lines.

Follow this link to see our 2012 Icelandic ram lambs: http://starkhollowfarm.com/icelandicramlambs.html

and click on the tab "Icelandic Sheep & Lambs for sale, or follow this link to see ewe lambs: http://starkhollowfarm.com/id71.html

Inquire about adult ewes for sale and bred ewes for sale in the fall. Two rams to choose from: a black grey or a solid moorit both with excellent AI genetics.

contact us at farmer@starkhollowfarm.com or call 802-434-3953 (farm), 802-734-0180 (cell).

Laura & Vanessa
Stark Hollow Farm
Huntington, VT