Mutiny Bay Farm

 

Mutiny Bay Farm History

Eleven years ago the sheep chapter of the Mutiny Bay Farm began with my thoughts of how to better manage such a maritime and hardy landscape. Over the years, windmills had gone up and come down, wells of pure water were dug and abandoned, and trees planted which later blocked views and were chopped down. The fields had become overgrown with such foreign invaders as Canadian thistle, English holly and Himalayan blackberries not to mention the local alders, wetland grasses, and nettles. I began reading about the behavior and dynamics of rare and endangered species of sheep. I was very impressed with three breeds of sheep, Soay, Olde English Babydoll Southdown, and the Black Welsh Mountain, primarily because of their small size and hardiness. I thought these small sheep would have the least harmful impact on the grasslands and low growing, stress tolerant perennials. Each of these breeds survival has either been challenged by the modern changing world or the harshness of their native habitat. Each of the three breeds I chose natively came from an island environment. (I consider Great Britain an island).

Over the next years I acquired the best breeding stock and the most diverse lineages. Each year I bred better genetic groups with the goals of finer fleece and better conformation to the best standard of the breed. I paid close attention to breeding activity and behavior during rut, noticing temperament differences. In turn, the sheep brought their own character and beauty to the land. They also brought harshness of some of their habits and persistence of grazing. I realized that in some ways these sheep are precious remnants of a rich past, and I have learned to treat them with respect. It is with deep affection that I offer a select few of my best lambs and sheep of the Babydoll Southdown, Black Welsh Mountain, and Soay for sale each year.

Mutiny Bay's history is saturated with stories of Indian potlatches, Chinese smugglers and rum runners, and lost poker games. At one time the land belonged to the Snohomish Indians. One of their three permanent villages was located at the northern boundary of Mutiny Bay not far from the farm. There were three long houses, potlatch house, private dwellings and a cemetery. But by 1925, when my grandfather purchased the land in the heart of the bay, Mutiny Bay was more known for its fishing villages and beautiful beaches. The soil was described as rich glacial till, and one of his motivations in the purchase was to plant and manage forest land. Although he never raised sheep, I believe my goals in having sheep on the farm today are very similar in essence to what my grandfather's were in 1925 when he purchased the 87 acres to be known as Mutiny Bay Farm. We both recognized in ourselves a strong desire to manage lands while promoting a sustainable system of living. In doing this I think our lives have the potential as well as the goal of illustrating how we have always been part of and continue to benefit from the living landscape.

Black and white photo by Bre Pettis

© 2012 Anne Gerdes Web Design