Icy Acres shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Even though Scotty grew up in a California suburb, he spent much of his childhood on his father’s tractor working vast fields of everything from grapes to celery (above right). Alisa grew up in a planned community outside of Houston where she was able to to take advantage of the token stable (clearly a neighborhood selling feature) that was tucked between the basketball courts and the softball field (above left). Neither of us outgrew our childhoods.
Even so, almost everyone loves to visit a farm. There is something comforting about being among the pastoral rhythm of growing things. But most people like to go home, too. Let’s face it, farms are a lot of work and many of them don’t smell too good. At Icy Acres, our goal is to combine the reasons we love visiting petting zoos, fairs, farmers’ markets & dude ranches with the comfortable qualities of today’s suburbs.
We plan to do this by carefully selecting livestock that will thrive on our resources (grass, grass, & more grass) and that are rewarding to raise. We also have learned that function & form are inseparable. When it comes to caring for livestock, & we are working hard to create a homestead that is both practical and beautiful. Portable shelters, temporary fencing & simple things like gate-latches-that-work go a long way toward taking the physical struggle and muck out of daily life.
So as we enter 2016, Scotty’s in charge of anything that runs on gas & Alisa takes care of those who run on grass. We have a long way to go but are confident that we are going in the right direction!
Icelandic sheep were a clear choice for our farm. It is a breed of sheep that thrives on a pasture/hay diet & is well suited to withstand Upstate New York winters. We learned years ago, that given the choice, our Icelandic horses would spend their winters outdoors regardless of weather & their summers in the barn in front of their fan. Icelandic sheep seem to be much the same. It always amazes us that on the coldest mornings of the year (like -20 degrees!) the rams are wrestling, the ewes are trotting around & the lambs are literally bouncing while they wait for their breakfast.
At Icy Acres we do our best to give our sheep what they need to keep themselves healthy. They have access to shelter, shade, warm or cool water (depending on the season), salt, minerals & kelp at all times. During the growing season they are on pasture & during the winter they are fed hay grown here on our fields. We only feed our ewes & rams grain on a “treat” basis. Without a working sheepdog it is critical to have cooperative sheep who will follow a bucket! .
There is a wealth of information on Icelandic sheep on the web & you can always visit www.isbona.com for more information. They are truly amazing!