Star Thrower Farm

Well Summer is in full swing and while I should be posting more, these long days of summer of full.  Finally, the long awaited Part 2 of our Nursery Tour. 

From the previous post, you can see that we went to Tangletown Farm in Plato,
MN.  The next stop on our Nursery Tour was Star Thrower Farm, located outside of
Glencoe, MN.  Star Thrower Farm is a pastural sheep farm and a farmstead cheese
business.  They sell their cheese, fleece, and pelts at the Mill City Farmers
Market, so make sure to frequent and support this beautiful farm.  The raise
purebred Icelandic sheep and strive to make a difference through responsible
land stewardship, humans and respectful animal husbandry, and the production of
high quality, nutritious food.  While the weather looked a little threatening,
we dodged any rain and had a wonderful time with Deborah Pikovsky.

This is a corn crib built in 1900.  Corn cribs have been torn down over the years and this is one a the few remaining in MN.  The farms would store corn in these cribs to dry for winter feed.

Star Thrower Farms had approximately 150 lambs this spring.  It is quite normal
for the sheep to have twins, but this year they had 4 sets of triplets as well.
 These twins that Deborah is holding are just 8 days old.  The ewes spend 40-60
days with the babies before they are spilt up.

Star Thrower Farm raises a few beautiful heirloom ducks and also have a few
llamas.  This is Kirwan, the guard llama. He had a reputation for being a little
ornery.  And one thing I learned that wasn’t in Llama. Llama, Red Pajama was
that a person should never look a llama directly in the eyes.  Hmm, especially
given Kirwan’s disposition, I don’t think one should ever make fun of a llama in red pajamas.

Star Thrower Farms milk the sheep from about June 1st thru October 15, although
the ewes start drying off in September and they are milked less frequently.  The
milking parlor holds 18 ewes per side and it takes about 90 seconds for the
actual milking of a ewe. Generally each milking produces 1 1/2 pounds of milk.

These male sheep were just shorn the weekend before.  The ewes typical life span
is 13-14 years.  The rams are 7-8 years.  They graze on 160 acres of grass,
alfalfa, & chicory.

The Icelandic sheep come in 17 colors and patterns.  The Black Mufflon sheep has
a brown belly.  The sheep get shorn twice a year and the Farm gets wool in an
8-12″ staple length of fiber from the shirring.  While they don’t make roving
from the fleece, they do produce some gorgeous natural yarns and products made
from the yarn.  They had 304 bags of wool from the last shearing. They also sell
some pelts.  Deborah told us that an old easy way to clean the rugs is to put
the rugs on the snow and walk on them.   That sounds like an inexpensive way to
keep them beautiful and might even be a fun winter activity.