When I write a blog post my intention is to educate, inform or offer a new perspective on a topic regarding the Valais Blacknose Sheep breed. I do my best to research the topic I'm presenting to get facts and to be objective. I realize there are a lot of breeders and new ones joining every day and when someone takes their valuable time to read my blog I want them to get value from it. What should the topic of my blog be this week? The wool? How to create a contract? How about the Blacknose Beauties Show and Sale coming in August in the UK? I started going through photos and then it hit me. This blog isn't one I need to research, it's coming from emotions and it's simply a story.
The emotional journey of raising Valais is best described as a roller coaster ride. Some of the ups; are successful embryo transfers, breed-ups with great markings, the first full-blood Valais born in the barn, having ewe lambs, and meeting people with the same passion. And some of the downs; are embryo's not taking, having ten lambs and seven are rams, learning about diseases you weren't aware of before like flystrike or full bloods with poor markings. The list goes on and on.
I believe when you're on a journey like this, one that you're passionate about and it takes money, time, and commitment, it's important to have an open mind. Research is key. With the technology available today, it's a simple task to find credible information. Take the time to do this! When we first discovered the Valais we did our homework. Fred made phone calls, we visited the Blacknose Beauties show in Carlisle, UK. We leaned into people who had knowledge and experience. We asked questions and because of our years of experience in livestock, we were able to figure out the path we wanted to go, on our own without somebody telling us we have to do this or we have to do that. We used our common sense, realizing the Valais were still new to the US so nobody really had a set path and we had weed through advice from others.
The high majority of the people in this industry have good intentions. What I've discovered is, they have different philosophies. This is absolutely fine, you just have to discover what philosophy fits you best. We've always encouraged anybody that calls and asks about this breed to call around, do your research, and follow your gut. No one person has all the answers and there is always something new to learn.
This journey of ours allows this husband and wife team to complement each other's skillsets and passions. Fred with his love of breeding animals, exploring genetics, creating nutritional programs, and judging livestock, and me with photography, writing, and creating blogs, a website, and social media posts. All the while supporting each other. The sheep are an investment we made as a couple and therefore the failure or success of our sheep is in our hands, as a team. We are beyond grateful to be able to do something we are passionate about.
When you strapped in that ride you're supposed to feel excited and maybe a little scared, worried, and thrilled, and when it's time to get off, you're darn proud of yourself for getting on in the first place and living through the ups and downs and that pretty much describes this roller coaster of a journey we're on.