About Ewes & Me

In 2016, my husband and I moved to Newport Co Mayo, where we purchased a beautiful, historic Georgian house and 62-acre farm. The farm came "fully loaded" with a small holding of Suffolk sheep (25) – complete with barns, sheds, and all the equipment to manage them. Having never farmed before, we figured we'd have a go at it, mostly because the property looked fabulous with ewes milling around in the paddocks. The concept of managing rushes, controlling worms and parasites, and trimming feet was foreign to me – but with the help of our wonderful neighbor, Martin, I quickly learned that a sheep farm requires a good bit of management, planning and organization. I guess I didn't really care – I loved my sheep and they were excellent at showing their appreciation and affection for their "shepherd" – especially when a bucket full of molasses-laced sheep nuts was involved.

The day-to-day was an interesting journey navigating through sheep feeding, grass and pasture management and reading and interpreting the various behaviors of the flock – while on the lookout for symptoms of any of the more than 100 ailments they seem to be able to develop. I found the whole thing incredibly interesting. Solving the mystery of the latest sheep malady brought out the inner "detective" in me.  I was thoroughly amazed at the response of a ewe to treatment if you were diligent and able to diagnose correctly. Every day on the farm became kind of a cross between an episode of the diagnostic medical show "House" and "Shaun the Sheep". 

The mystery of raising sheep for me was minimized by friends and neighbors that were generous with their advice – and always spot-on to boot. And, just in case you were wondering, sheep are far from stupid – as some seem to think. They are, in fact, quite smart. Cheeky at times. And that makes this whole thing that much more fun as I get to know all of their various individual habits, shenanigans and tendencies.

So, we tend to our flock – living through tupping, lambing, markets, vaccinations, dag clipping, shearing and dipping throughout the calendar year – simply to repeat the same the following year – and loving every (well most of) minute of it. By 2020, our flock grew to 101 ewes and a going concern was established.

We enjoy the farm, and the fascinating life that rural Ireland offers to us – feeling as if we've really landed on our feet here. And, thankfully, as a dual Irish / American citizen, we can stay in Ireland indefinitely (thank you, Granddaddy). With salmon and trout just down the road in Lough Beltra and rough shooting on our own property or nearby, our leisure time activities leave us pinching ourselves before and after the noise-free, sound sleep one can only enjoy in a bedroom insulated by two-foot thick stone walls. 

Ewes and me was established after several of our friends continually nudged me to "write down" all the nutty stories of this farm adventure. A story, I guess, filled with characters – big, small, furry and fuzzy and not so. Some of the stories might help someone new to "sheeping" and others hopefully will provide some light entertainment following us along through the good, the sad and the funny life of a blow-in sheep farmer in the west of Ireland. Enjoy.