About the Shepherd
Ellen Nieslanik has lived and worked in productive agriculture her entire life. Born into a cattle ranching family in Meeker, Colorado, she spent her summers riding in the high country and working on the ranch.
Ellen received a BS from Colorado State University; Major in Agricultural Business; Minor equivalent in Animal Science: Paralegal degree; and she has also been licensed in property and casualty insurance in Colorado. After college she pursued work in politics where she became a legislative aide and event planner for a Member of Congress in Washington DC and later in his District Office in Tucson, AZ. She went on to become a contract paralegal and criminal investigator – working primarily on criminal defense and insurance defense cases - which remains her full time income today.
She married her childhood friend Joe Nieslanik and has three children: Meg 26, Jake 24 and Sam 18. While raising their family the Nieslaniks also raised sheep, and developed a specialty lamb business. Over the years they've always had sheep and have done catering, festivals and hosted events at the ranch. Their passion has always been agriculture and they dreamed of being full-time sheep farmers, without the day jobs.
Herding dogs have also been part of Ellen’s life since childhood on the ranch where they utilized mostly Australian Shepherds. In 1990 she bought an unregistered Border Collie pup named Molly who changed the way Ellen utilized and trained working dogs, She went on to manage the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials for 7 years and then the National Sheepdog Finals in 2011 with cousin Bridget.
In 2012, Joe and Ellen took a leap of faith in their last ditch effort to operate a full fledged sheep farm and bought a 160 acre farm in Scio, Oregon. There their youngest finished high school, as they ran 300 ewes, a CSA-type specialty lamb business and a pasture raised duck egg endeavor. Each Joe and Ellen kept their day jobs, and by 2016 Ellen's health forced them to sell the stock and put the farm for sale.
Though the future is uncertain, Ellen writes prolifically about the life lessons learned while raising sheep, ducks dogs and doves -- all the while raising her family. This blog is started for the sole purpose of sharing those lessons and recording a record for her family.