Archive for Friends of the Farm

Geoffrey the Ram goes to Tintagel Farm

Geoffrey the Ram goes to Tintagel Farm

Geoffrey, a Border Leicester ram which I had used for two years, found a wonderful new home and breeding assignment when he was purchased this summer by Leslie Orndorff of Tintagel Farm in south central Pennsylvania.

At left: Leslie Orndorff of Tintagel Farm with her new breeding ram, Geoffrey, who was bred by Nancy Weik of Overlook Manor Farm.

Leslie is a renowned fiber artist who combines Border Leicester wool with mohair from her angora goats to produce lustrous, hand-dyed spinning fibers and yarn.  She liked Geoffrey for his dense fleece, thanks to some infusion of English AI bloodlines.  Besides his desirable fiber, I found him to be an outstanding ewe sire.

Geoffrey should feel right at home at her picturesque farm with historic stone barns and grassy hillocks; the original Tintagel in England is where King Arthur was born.


Mike Reifsnyder Visits Baltimore Shock-Trauma as a Consumer

The financial challenges that Mike and Sue Reifsnyder have faced since his work lay-off last fall took a back seat last week when Mike miraculously survived a late-night automobile accident that left a telephone pole in three pieces and earned him a chopper ride to the famous Bal’mer emergency care facility.

Mike has been working nights to make ends meet, and as he drove home in the early morning, he rounded the bend of a two-lane Carroll County road to find high beams blinding his vision.  Unable to see the lines on the road, he steered so that he would be to the right of the oncoming car.  The problem was the car was in his lane, so he unknowingly drove off the pavement and hit seven mailboxes and then got personal with a telephone pole.

Thanks to the airbag deployment and the fact that he was wearing his seatbelt, Mike survived the crash.  In fact, he never lost consciousness, and he soon was on the phone with Sue.  She in turn contacted Carroll County 911 calltakers who relayed Mike’s medical history to incoming units.  The first-arriving county sheriff utilized his emergency medical technician training to quickly decide that Mike needed first-class care and fast.  Within minutes, Mike was in the air with some of his new paramedic best friends en route to Baltimore.

Sue called me the next day and suggested that I sit down before she told me the news.  Mike had several broken ribs, and the docs were working on his collapsed lung.  Sue has been working at a local grocery store, and the joint burden of long work hours and almost losing a husband had her worn out.  I immediately made plans to visit them.

Mike was released home last Tuesday, and he is recuperating on a rented hospital bed set up in the couple’s guest room.  Sue sleeps on a studio bed beside him, using her nurse’s training to check him every three hours or so during the night.  Mike gets up during the day to eat and to feed the two therapy sheep that they had gotten to soothe troubled kids.  Now, the sheep pull double duty soothing Mike, too.

What’s the future for them?  Mike and Sue are living one day at a time, hoping they can keep their house.  They get help caring for the animals, and have cut expenses as far as they can.  Oh, did I mention that Mike lost his health insurance when he was laid off, and he was deemed ‘uninsurable’ when they searched for replacement coverage?    They hope the new health care legislation will give them some relief.

In the meantime, please pray for them and add Mike Reifsnyder to your prayer list.  If you would like to help them in other ways, e-mail me at  Sue has written a book for children about raising sheep.  I’ll be selling it out of my pens at Maryland Sheep and Fool Festival.  We can also do mail order.  In addition,  Sue sells Tupperware, so a purchase from her is another way to help. Here’s a link to her Tupperware website:   Sue’s Tupperware website.

Mountain Laurel Montessori Farm School

We were recently honored to supply the three Border Leicester foundations ewes that will establish the fiber and meat sheep flock at the Mountain Laurel Montessori Farm School, located in Flint Hill, VA. The photo shows the two white and one natural-colored ewes surrounded by the excited students who enthusiastically greeted the girls when they arrived.We look forward to assisting the students as they learn to tend their sheep. Meanwhile, the two white and one natural colored ewes are living in an ‘ovine heaven on earth’ as they tackle belly-high grass in their pasture. To learn more about the farm school’s innovative curriculum for 7th to 9th graders, visit their website at    Susan Holmes, director of the Farm School, has also begun a fun and informative blog.


Congratulations to John & Trudy Cuoghi for the purchase of the yearling Bluefaced Leicester ewe, Wits End 823, the highest placing Bluefaced Leicester in the White Long Wool Yearling Ewe Class at this year’s Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.She is off to Powhatan, VA, to join their flock of purebred and crossbred Bluefaced Leicesters at Laingcroft Farm. Check out their website at

The beautiful white ewe in the right foreground is now at Laingcroft Farm in Powhatan, VA.


Sunny Pond Farms

We are so pleased that Melissa Heneghan of Sunny Pond Farms has purchased three venerable girls from our brood ewe flock in order to establish her own Border Leicester flock here in Rappahannock County, VA. ‘New York Red’ was bred by JoAnne Tuncey of Twin Birches Farm in New York and is the full sister of a past Supreme Champion Ewe at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. She has produced beautiful lambs for us for seven years, and still going strong.  Making the trip with her are two natural-colored brood ewes, one also from New York and the other a Pennsylvania gal.  Both have fruiitful production histories, and they are ready for their next adventure with the Heneghan’s.  Thanks so much, Missy!

‘New York Red’ (her friends call her Ana) looks ready to go to her new home in Boston, VA.  (She does have four legs — she’s hidden her fourth one just to mess with us!)