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Circling the Barn


Dupuis Barn, Ronan, MT Photo by Julie Conrad

Circling the Barn: A gathering together to share in community, connection, and story because of life within the barn.

The lambs are telling secrets!

Through the years I have experienced a beautiful gathering together with the center spoke being the barn. This barn has brought new friends together to discover, share and converse. Because of the life within the barn there is a remembering of days of old when he was a ranch hand for a summer or a special exchange with a local dairy, receiving the golden cream from the morning's milking. In the remembering there is new conversation and a renewed excitement for what the barn holds. The barn also allows working together, shoulder to shoulder. Helping new life emerge and sharing in the wonder of once again the miracle of life. Or it could be the time of mourning over the animal that did not make it. Working through the rhythm of the season, birthing, shearing, weaning and health checks, planting and sowing with lots of weeding, watering and thinning.



With the season shifting from preparing to all hands on deck, spring and summer on the farm are fast and furious. We completed a successful lambing season at the end of April and then it was time for the biannual shearing. Shearing time is met with great anticipation. It reveals the true condition of the sheep. Seeing their body condition is so important to know if nutritional tweaks need to be made. Dreaming of ways to turn the beautiful locks of wool into useful items- will it be a woven rug or a knit sweater and matching gloves, or maybe a fun pair of socks! Everyone needs a warm winter Icelandic wool cap, right?


Our barn was built by tearing down an old shed in town. The family loaded up in our old Willys truck one Saturday morning, took our hammers and crowbars and got to work! Taking each board apart, we stacked and reassembled the old timber into a new dream and shelter for the sheep, chickens, pigs and cows. There were old wooden crates that were reused for siding and metal roofing gifted to us. We built this new barn with hopes and a big dream to raise and nurture livestock for years to come.


Blooming Joy Farm with some of our Icelandic sheep!

We now share with our darling grandchildren the fun of building hay forts and swinging from a rope swing hung from the rafters. One of the first questions I am asked by my grandson is if we will be farming today? The answer is always the same, we farm every day farmer Z!! This barn just keeps giving us memories and moments to cherish for a lifetime.



My parents have recently joined us here on the farm. As a young man, my dad dreamed of being a shepherd. He worked on a sheep ranch in high school and then went on to college, where he got his biochemistry degree and then furthered his education with a doctoral degree. I feel so blessed to ask him questions about nutrition, genetics and biochemistry pertaining to livestock and humans alike. He is becoming fast friends with all the critters here as he works alongside me every day!! My mom is a talented gardener. She has amazing design ideas and creative solutions for the landscape of our farm. Both of them come with an appreciation for what the farm represents and what it can give to the community and world. It is with great joy we can work together every day developing and reaching farm goals for a better tomorrow and a wonderful today!



Blooming Joy Icelandic Wool is days away from picking up our first batch of worsted weight yarn. We will have 3 - 4 natural colors to choose from. This has been years in the making! I am so excited to see the finished yarn product. We will offer the yarn and wool products on our website soon! Our wool pelts for this year sold out quickly, but we look forward to offering some beautiful pelts this next spring.

Thank you for your continued support and interested in Blooming Joy Farm!

Love from Julie and the flock!





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