We are the Hettick Family. I am Heather and my husband is Kelly and we have two kids – Jade and Alex.
We live on a small farm in NE Ohio, about an hour South of Cleveland. On our 5 acre farm, we raise a small flock of registered Icelandic sheep plus some crosses for breeding stock, handspinning quality fleeces and meat lambs. We also have a pet llama. Our llama is very sweet and gets along well with everyone, but he’s not much of a guard.
Our other livestock is poultry. We keep a few laying hens and a breeding group of heritage turkeys. Right now, we have two Narragansett toms and three hens . They have 6 large babies – 3 toms and 3 hens, plus 4 who are too small to tell gender yet. We also have a few Golden Seabright bantums, although most of them are roosters.
We used to participate in the Wooster farmers market held on Saturdays, but lately we have focused on our membership in Local Roots in Wooster. It is a cooperative of local farmers and consumers that is set up like a store that sells local food as well as art in Wooster, OH. We sell mostly produce like garlic and shallots, but also sell homemade jellies and jams, jars of garlic powder and in the past we have sold rhubarb and edamame soy beans there too. This year we have been keeping most of our berries and fruit for ourselves or for making jams/jellies. We have two gardens and plant what we like to eat and experiment with a few new things each year so it’s not really a serious production garden, but we enjoy the interaction at the markets and it’s a way to share our excess. We also grow a variety of berries, grapes and fruit trees on our property. This year we have been keeping most of our berries and fruit for ourselves or for making jams/jellies. We are not certified organic, but avoid chemicals in our gardening. I am a member of OEFFA and the local Real FOODS chapter so I understand and use organic methods when possible, but not 100%, but am always happy to discuss my methods.
Our family enjoys sharing our lives with pets. Alex, our 10 year old son, likes small animals and has his own fish tank with goldfish, but also raises tadpoles to release outside and occasionally butterfly caterpillars for the same purpose. Jade, our 13 year old daughter, is our cat lover. We have two spayed outside cats – Ginger and Pepper, who help with the rodent and bird population when they aren’t getting cuddled. We enjoy dogs as well and currently we have a Basenji named Jet (Karnak’s Painted on the Moonstruck Sky) who occasionally goes to dog shows, but prefers to be a farm dog and bed warmer. Sky, we got from from the Humane Society to be Jade’s dog, and she has trained and shown him in 4H obedience. We had a DNA test done on him and his results said he is mostly collie, then some Lab and possibly a little Wiemeraner and Jack Russell Terrier. He looks like a short coated collie with floppy Lab ears and Lab-like face. He is handsomely marked with white feet, muzzle and collar and is blue merle in color, although he’s getting a bit browner as he grows. His eyes are golden brown like a Weimeraner. So far he’s turning out to be a decent farm dog, but excellent companion dog. He likes to go on chores and eat manure, and is a little afraid of water, thunder, the sheep and our aggressive rooster who lives with the sheep. He attended a herding clinic and did not seem to have the herding instinct but could be trained. He is a very good varmint catching dog though.
This spring, we bought a new pup to be my dog for the farm and to eventually learn to help me herd the sheep. Rocket is a purebred English shepherd from a herding family. He’s still young and silly but is learning house manners, how to go on chores, getting to know our animals and basic obedience. He is not afraid of much and enjoys being with us and doing what we do. Of all our dogs, he is the best car dog and likes to go along on short trips and errands where he sits politely on his blanket in the car. He has attended 4H trainings, a puppy class which includes positive clicker training through our vet’s office and loves to do chores and hunt rodents in the yard. He is very energetic and plays with Jet until they are both exhausted, but Sky gets a little annoyed with all of Rocket’s puppy playfullness especially on hot days. I think they will enjoy each other better in winter though. It seems that as he grows, he is becoming much more confident and assertive. He is starting to challenge the sheep and harrasss the chickens in a playful way, but takes my cues when told to back off.
We are an active family and besides our farm and animals, we enjoy active sports. Alex still plays youth ice hockey, but Jade has dropped out as the games become more aggressive. Alex likes basketball and sometimes plays on an “Upward” team through a local church. Jade is planning to run cross country in the fall and ran track last spring. She is in the marching band as a color guard person this coming year – her first in High School!
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