Community: ‘Growing Maine’
We’re at Stoneheart Farm in South Paris, in the foothills of Western, Maine, on Streaked Mountain. When we got out of the military and we were looking for a place to settle down we were looking for a place where you could still afford to have some land and to have some farm and wound up in Maine and we’ve never looked back.
We started with pigs then a friend of mine was spinning wool and I had an interest in that, so I took some classes and I was buying my wool and we just decided let’s raise some sheep.
We could not do what we do on this farm without these dogs. They make all the difference.
So this is Bea she’s 2 years old. This is Gwenny she’s 7. Gwenny is a more calm, intense dog when she moves the sheep. Bea, how would you describe her…
Bea is a lot of fun to work. She has a lot of energy a lot of enthusiasm. One thing that she won’t stand for is the status quo. The older dog is as steady as it goes. I can send her out in a 10 acre field and I know she will come back with the sheep.
Sometimes they get in a little stalemate but when there is a stalemate we send in Bea and you know something is going to happen. Then sometimes we have to regroup after that.
And it’s not always good.
But it’s not going to be the status quo anymore. Gwen is very laid back, Bea’s ready to rock and roll.
With border collies their reward is to be able to work. We do a lot of rotational grazing so there is constantly being sheep moved from pasture to pasture, from field to field. It would be very cumbersome without the dogs. It’s not a big deal. We can walk over there with the sheep and the dogs and it’s basically as easy as taking a walk.
One of the important things to train a border collie is when to work and when not to work or they will be working 24/7. So there is a command that we do that means work is done. And when I say that it’s like flipping a switch and they are just dogs.
I think it’s the best of both worlds, really. It’s really great to have a dog that is a super pet, but can work side by side with you all day long. At the end of the day they are tired and they wind up on our bed and the four of us pass out and get up and do it all again the next day. How much better can it get? They are family.