February is the month of LOVE. This month’s Women of Wool feature is definitely one that we all love and appreciate. Brenda Mickel shares her story with us.
“I wasn't an original in this wonderful lifestyle we call the sheep industry, or rather, I was raised around a cattle farm in Sanpete County. I spent many wonderful summers with my grandparents and always loved helping on the farm. I gained an appreciation for hard work and also enjoying simple pleasures like the smell of fresh cut hay and baby calves running around and playing. I always loved those baby calves, but that was before I was introduced to my first bummer lamb. I married Matt Mickel in the fall of 1998. He, along with his brother, Dan, had started up their own sheep operation ten years prior to that. Five short months after being married, we went through our first lambing season together. He made the mistake of bringing home a lamb to me and put me in charge of keeping it alive. As anyone who has raised bummer lambs knows, that is no easy task and my first lamb died. After seeing my red eyes and distraught nature over the next couple days, Matt said, "Uh, maybe we shouldn't raise any more bummer lambs." Well, I am happy to say that wasn't my last bummer lamb. I grew a thick skin, or at least thicker (as the occasional tear is still shed when my favorite lamb dies after weeks of hard work and TLC) and have raised hundreds of bummer lambs since then. With a little medical background, mother's intuition, and a commitment to find new and improved ways to treat their many plethora of problems, I am happy to say that I can now keep even the deadest of bummer lambs alive.
Besides my love for bummer lambs, I also do the book keeping for our company, Mickel Brothers, and I make a really mean breakfast casserole at shipping time. Those are my only claims to fame, and I feel a little unqualified standing next to some of the great women I have had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with over the years. And also those women whose stories I have read about in previous articles. But I will always have a love and appreciation for this industry. I feel like it has given our children many unique opportunities such as spending countless hours working together in the lambing barn, enjoying the mountain together, and staying out on the desert in the sheep camp. Some things that make me happy are camping in my trailer (that I bought with bummer lamb proceeds), hot chocolate, visiting new places, cozy fires in sheep camps, playing cards, hanging out with may dogs and goats, a warm spring evening in my barn filled with straw and bummer lambs, and doing ANYTHING with my family. As I wasn't a native among the sheep industry, I feel like I have had a little catch up work to do. I have asked lots of questions along the way and have learned a great deal. I love that there are amazing opportunities for growth. Being involved in the sheep industry has given us the opportunity of making lasting friendships all across the country. We will be forever grateful for the opportunities we have had to serve and also to learn from others in this wonderful way of life!”
Brenda, you are a committed women with LOVE and passion for the sheep industry - Thank You!