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Our History

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HJS Studio

We find it a good thing to periodically review where we've been and where we want to go. Our customers seem to like to know a bit about us, too. So here's a summary of what we've done over the last 25 years or so:

  • We both joined the Army out of high school--Zack in 1975, Holly in 76. We met in January 78, in Augsburg, Germany, where we were stationed and worked together. We got married in October that year. Christopher was born in 1979 and Holly finished her 3-year enlistment that year. Zack graduated from the University of Maryland in 1980 with a BS in Business Management.
  • In 81 we moved to Ft Meade, Maryland, and Jonathan was born that year. In 84 we moved to Heidelberg, Germany; 1987 back to the US, to Ft Devens, Massachusetts.
  • Holly taught herself to spin in 86, learned to weave at a local yarn store in 87.
  • In 1990 we began homeschooling. We also visited Michigan, fell in love with the Boyne City area, and bought 25 acres for our future farm.
  • In mid 1991 we moved to a town just north of Stuttgart, Germany, and Bethany was born while we lived there. Seven weeks later we moved to Patch Barracks, near Stuttgart, then in 92 to Frankfurt, Germany, before Bethany's 1st birthday. In 93 we moved back to Ft Devens, MA, and in 94 to Ft Hood, Texas--far more moves in a short period than we recommend!
  • Zack retired from the Army at Ft Hood, in 97, the same year Chris joined the Army, training as a Spanish linguist. Both Chris and Jon won awards while at Ft Hood for their volunteerism.

In 1997 we moved to our land in Michigan. Now a history of the farm itself:

  • moved into our house at the end of October
  • built a small storage shed near the house
  • started HJS Studio
  • planted dozens of trees around the house and in the orchard
  • started beds for vegetables west of the house
  • built a shed for the chickens and rabbits
  • bought the chickens and rabbits
  • built a shed for the chickens and moved them there
  • fenced a 53 x 53 foot paddock for sheep
  • bought 6 registered Shetland ewes, a wether, and a ram
  • built a 12 x 16 foot gambrel barn with loft for the sheep and hay storage
  • Christopher stationed in Bosnia for 9 months
  • started FiberFlock, Internet mailing list for people who raise fiber animals
  • lambed the first time, having 6 lambs
  • created a garden bed closer to the house to close the deer salad bar
  • planted a 300 foot windbreak of red pine and white spruce
  • added more trees to the orchard
  • fenced 2 acres of pasture for the sheep
  • started teaching spinning classes
  • fenced a 80 x 100 foot paddock for rams
  • bought a Border Leicester ewe and acquired another Shetland ram
  • added electricity to sheep barn
  • began testing for genetic resistance to scrapie in our sheep
  • did our first whole flock testing for OPP in the sheep--results negative
  • started selling chicken eggs and handspun angora yarns from the rabbits
  • bought the first sheep for our crossbreeding program
  • added a snow fence to protect the driveway from drifting snow
  • Jonathan, tired of shoveling snow, moves to Austin, Texas
  • built a 20 x 36 foot three sided pole barn for hay storage
  • added trees to the orchard
  • added two piglets to our menagerie
  • began shearing our own and other sheep
  • had 14 lambs
  • increased the vegetable gardens to three 16 x 24 foot beds
  • built the interior fencing to divide the east pasture into 4 parts
  • purchased Ameraucana chickens for colored eggs
  • decided to begin decreasing the rabbit herd
  • continued testing sheep for OPP and scrapie resistance
  • hosted the first northern Michigan Shetland Breeders' Day
  • began terraced herb beds in front of the house
  • began selling pork and Shetland Lamb meat
  • built the perimeter fencing for the 3 acre west pasture
  • bought our domain names and started our websites
  • continued teaching spinning classes
  • added electricity to hay barn, rabbit shed, and chicken shed
  • added a pig pen to the end of the ram pasture
  • created an outdoor chicken run to keep the chickens from eating the garden
  • learned web programming and redesigned both sites
  • began our first cold frame
  • 20 lambs were born
  • increased vegetable beds to nine 16 x 24 foot beds, almost 3500 square feet
  • began improving soil for 30 x 40 foot cut flower garden
  • bought 3 feeder piglets
  • added more trees to the orchard
  • planted 18 blueberry bushes
  • continued teaching spinning classes
  • built the interior fencing to divide the west pasture into 8 sections and began rotational grazing the sheep
  • Zack became a member of the Michigan Scrapie Risk Reduction Program Advisory Board
  • and sold vegetables and meat at the Boyne City Farmers Market
  • commissioned a plan for terracing the slope in front of the house for perennial fruits and vegetables

What does the future hold?

  • continue testing sheep for OPP and scrapie resistance
  • have our first crossbred lambs
  • begin work on terracing slope around house for perennial vegetables and fruit
  • go back to free ranging chickens
  • fence additional paddocks between ram pasture and orchard
  • root cellar
  • greenhouse (mobile hoop house)
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