The Gift That Keeps on Giving


Elizabeth JanoskiThank you for your responses to the question of why you garden! Vera Sue wrote “Gardening gives me peace when I go out to tend to the garden, it is just my two dogs and me.” I definitely agree that that gardening can be meditative, particularly in the early morning when all the songbirds are tuning up, or just as the sun is setting and the swallows are darting about hunting insects.

You may have noticed that my bio pic includes a rather large sheep, a Clun Forest cross named Snowdrop. We have sheep. Over the past six years, that statement has been given in response to a number of different questions, including the doctor’s visit for treatment for various orthopedic injuries. Not that sheep are inherently dangerous creatures; they are, in fact, quite gentle and much prefer to flee than fight. It is the taking care of them that increases the odds of injury – incidents that come to mind are stepping into a woodchuck hole while setting fence; wrenching my back while carrying a hay bale, and my personal favorite, tripping over my shoe laces while walking backwards in front of the sheep while training a border collie.


Snowdrop and her feline pal Zinnia prefer to hang at the barn on a hot day.

I received my first four sheep as a Christmas present and they have proved to be the gift that keeps on giving. They’ve given new life to the old horse barn, beautiful fleeces each year, and quite a lot of manure. Theoretically, the sheep were to wander the pasture and the hill above the orchard, spreading their own droppings while they grazed. In practice, they go out to graze for a bit, then return to the barn for a nap – and to poop so periodic barn cleanings are necessary. While sheep manure ranks fairly low in nutrient content, we have seen quite an improvement in the quality of the garden soil since we have begun to till in the mixture of manure and straw from the sheep pen though we’ve never applied it in a thoughtful, systematic manner.


Become a Preferred Subscriber and start enjoying the benefits today!

Fall in love with the flavor, versatility, and beauty of Mother Earth Gardener

Mother Earth GardenerDelight your taste buds, mind and eyes with beautiful photos and inspirational techniques on everything you need to know to grow, preserve and cook your own heirloom fruits and vegetables. You won’t want to miss the stories about plants passed down from generation to generation.

Don’t miss a single issue of Mother Earth Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Mother Earth Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Join today and save off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95! (USA only)

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube