How to instruct like a dad

New to being a dad, giving instructions or farm terms? Gotcha covered because I have the best examples from my farmer dad. And by the way, these make me laugh – I’m not even mad about it.

Tell me to do something by telling me what you would do
For example, “I would wait until 7 a.m. to feed the animals.” Well, since he’s so smart, I’ll do the same!
Give a command by asking a question
This sounds like, “Do you want to throw down ten bales?” Why, thanks for asking! Apparently I do want to, and I will get right on it.
Gesture in the general area of what you’re talking about
Like, “Bring me that gate over there,” and wave your arm toward an area with 15 different types of gates
And be vague about your end-point goal
…continued scenario from above. Where exactly do you intend for me to bring the gate? Because taking off 100 yards from the location of where you actually want to use the gate may be the most frustrating…and tiring…thing ever. Please don’t make me follow you around with a bulky gate.
In fact, use vague terms all the time
We all have different experiences in life. With this experience, we may end up using words differently. My favorite is, “Can you give me some directions?” And I end up with a list of north, south, east, west…instead of a detailed list of how-to’s.
Give me your whole task list for 6 months as if you want to achieve it all today…or this morning
Or, can we please just talk about your priorities?

When all else fails, just assume I will and can read your mind.
Love you, Dad!


Smoked Holiday Lamb

We’ve had a lot of lamb in my 25 years. I’m pretty sure that our freezer has always contained at least 30 pounds of meat on any given day. One of the perks of being a sheep farmer’s daughter is being able to recommend a favorite cut of meat (kabobs) or a favorite marinade for it (Italian dressing [yes it’s that simple]). But in all my years, I haven’t seen my parents prepare this recipe. I’m 90% sure my dad developed it in a 1,400-mile drive to market lambs on the East coast.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours (dependent on grill and size of roast)
Estimated servings: 10-15


  • Boned-rolled-tied roast lamb (3.5-5 pound shoulder or leg)
  • 1 medium-sized green bell pepper
  • 1 medium-sized red bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion
  • Jamaican seasoning/rub for grilling (we used a brand called Dizzy Pig, Jamaican Firewalk)


Preheat smoker/grill to 300°F using hardwood lump charcoal. Soak applewood or cherrywood smoking chips (this can be done up to 8 hours in advance to create the best smoke). Set up grill for indirect cooking/grilling (stone in place between charcoal fire and rack, or charcoal on either side of grill, not directly below rack).

Unroll roast lamb, season with grilling seasoning/rub. Cut peppers and onions into strips and lay strips on one end of meat. Re-roll roast and secure with string or skewers. Season outside of roast with grilling seasoning/rub.

raw lamb roast

My parents worked so fast to slice the peppers and onions for the center that this was the first picture I could capture. It’s that fast!

Place roast on rack in smoker/grill for indirect cooking/smoking. Add soaked wood chips to charcoal. Grill/smoke for 2 hours at 300°F or to internal meat temperature of 160°F.

Cooking lamb

The lamb roast looked especially pretty with the green, red and white veggies peeking out. The grill master is charged with responsibly tasting the meat (i.e., making sure SOME gets to the dinner table).

cooking lamb

The lamb roast should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit before removing it to be tented.

Rest roast with an aluminum foil tent for 15 minutes prior to carving, then remove string or skewers. Carve the lamb and enjoy with your favorite sides. Even the onions and peppers are fair game!

lamb meat

Carve the lamb and serve the onions and peppers as one of your meal side dishes. Notice the perfect smoke ring – yum.

Lamb meatballs: sloppy joe-style

This Christmas my mom threw together some meatballs for my aunt, uncle, cousins and their kids to enjoy at her home. Because they were gone within a half hour, I’m sharing the recipe with you:

Prep time: 35 minutes
Bake time: 12 minutes at 350°F
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 21


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
  • 1 Tblsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt, if desired
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tblsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tblsp prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • A dash of Tabasco®


  • Preheat over to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of the onion, oregano and salt. Add ground lamb and mix well. Shape into 42 meatballs about 3/4 inch in diameter. Arrange in a single layer in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until no pink remains. Drain well.
raw meatballs

Raw meatballs ready to be baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit

lamb meatballs

Meatballs that’ve browned nicely and are sizzling with flavor

  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the remaining 1/4 cup onion and sweet pepper in hot oil until tender. Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder, black pepper, garlic salt and Tabasco®. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add meatballs to sauce.
Meatball sauce

Sauce can be created while the meatballs bake

Lamb meatballs in sauce

Lamb meatballs are a hit at my mom’s house and the red sauce looked especially festive for the Christmas holiday

  • These may be frozen and reheated in a slow-cooker, covered on high for 2.5 hours.

Christmas list: wool products

A friend recently asked what I thought about someone’s reflection of why she won’t wear wool. I feel pretty fortunate to know firsthand what it takes to raise sheep with healthy lambs and wool year after year. And because of that, I will share with you what five wool items made my Christmas list this year – but first, a video from our farm so you can see for yourself the care we take for our sheep flock:

  1. Base layer tops and bottoms for doing chores in the cold
  2. Actually, add a balaclava on top – I don’t care that it is in the men’s section of this website, winter is bitter
  3. These pencil skirts for work
  4. As many sweaters as possible because, as previously mentioned, winter is bitter
  5. Socks for every occasion

“May the wool of your sheep be soft & warm,” as one of our wall hangings says.

Changing seasons

We’re coming up on Christmas and winter festivities. It seems we just had 2014’s winter lambs, spring lambs and a busy hay season. After years of being in the sheep business, it’s good to know (some of) what to expect. And while we can plan ahead for regular occurrences, the day-to-day task change-ups make farming interesting and challenging. Bring on 2015.


These snow flurries are about to be a common occurrence. Bring it on.

Back in the game

It’s time to get this blog rollin’. We have a few family updates to get out of the way: Brigette got married this fall to a nice gentleman named Ed and Elaine moved back to Michigan to begin the next step of her career.

We’re looking forward to what 2015 has to offer – and how is it that we’re talking about it already? – but truly grateful for the blessings of 2014.