Michelle calls out to each of her animals by name. Similar to all small farmers I’ve met, it sounds less like they’re telling you which ones have been fighting and more like who has been fighting. I’ve been confused before for thinking the farmer was talking about people.
Even though there are much more of the Icelandic breed of sheep on the farm, Black Sheep Meadows gets its name from the Black Welsh Mountain breed. Part of the reason Michelle and Nick have fewer Black Welsh sheep is because the breeds’ global population barely counts to 5000, which the Livestock Conservancy considers threatened. They have huge spiraling black horns that make you feel like you’re looking at the face of something from an alien movie. They’re worth having Michelle told us. They produce a nearly black, dark brown yarn which is sought out by knitters looking for a naturally dark yarn.
But non-dyed yarns and threatened sheep breeds aren’t the only unique thing about Black Sheep Meadows. Michelle liked to joke that Nick, her husband, is the one who, “makes the coffee around here.” They have had neighbors ask why she was riding his tractor. “Excuse me,” Nick responded, “That’s not my tractor, it’s hers.” Michelle and Nick surely would have had us stay if it weren’t for our tight schedule the following days. We sadly had to skip what would have been a delightful breakfast at their place the next morning to wake up closer to New York City. I never thought that I would like visiting the Scranton, PA area, but I loved it. Michelle and Nick are my favorite farming couple and I can’t wait to return some day.