Grace is a Siamese Manx cat. She isn't much different from a Siamese Satin rabbit except for the ears.
Critterhaven often sells excess eggs from happy chickens.
Critterhaven raises Australorp and Americauna hens. The eggs from these two breeds create a colorful display. Blue eggs are from the Americauna.
Kate is one of several lucky cats who get to live inside the house. But with a face like this, who could not want her inside?
Critterhaven grows much of its own food, including fresh veggies in the summer.
Jefferson is one of many happy cats living at Critterhaven. They all are abandoned or adopted from shelters.

About the Farm

Critterhaven is located in Pueblo, Colorado. My parents purchased the farm when I was 2 years old, and I purchased it from them in 1998 after an absence of 26 years. Pueblo has excruciatingly hot summers (100 °F and higher) and bitter cold winters (–15 °F and lower). After miller moth season in the spring, the air fills with mosquitoes, deer flies, and horse flies. I prefer to not be outside during Pueblo's summer days. Pueblo also is a very arid region, with less than 12 in. of precipitation annually.

Critterhaven is a hobby farm (which is another way of saying that I rarely make a profit at any of my farm activities). I try to practice sustainable agriculture and self-sufficiency, growing and preserving all of my own food (animals, vegetables, wine, beer—the staples of life!).

My farm is barely 8 acres, only 2 of which are irrigated for pasture. From 1998 to 2015, I raised Barbados Blackbelly sheep. Health issues prevent me from continuing to work with sheep although I remain active and involved with the breed (see below).  Although the Livestock Conservancy reports that this breed is recovering from near extinction, in the U.S. the breed remains very rare. There are fewer than 900 of these sheep here and they are a long way from being "recovered."

I also raise Australorp and Americauna chickens and have a couple of house dogs and lots and lots of cats. Cats are truly my passion.

How I Remain Involved in Sheep

Barbados Blackbelly sheep became my passion in 1998 when I fell in love with their beauty and then realized how very few true Barbados Blackbelly sheep remain in the U.S. I have made it my mission to

  • provide information and resources to shepherds to help them differentiate between Barbados Blackbelly sheep and the various cross-bred "look-alikes" that are often mistakenly called Barbados Blackbelly.
  • protect and preserve the breed's existing genetic base in the U.S.

To this end, I've accomplished the following tasks:

  • Helped direct the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Association Int'l (BBSAI) to its creation of the registered American Blackbelly as a way to bring distinction to the breed most commonly mistaken for Barbados Blackbelly.
  • Wrote a cookbook for BBSAI that provides an ongoing income to the breed registry.
  • Established a Consortium of breeders to manage our genetics collaboratively.
  • Began writing The Blackbelly Sheep Book, an online introductory book about how to raise and care for blackbelly sheep.
  • Developed and manage several Web sites to help blackbelly sheep enthusiasts: