GLENBURN, N.D. (KXNET) — In North Dakota, it’s not rare to find someone who’s a farmer or rancher.

Nearly 90% of North Dakota land is farms and ranches, according to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Esther’s Acres has a history that started 123 years ago, and in 2020, Forrest and Desiree Carlson brought it out of retirement.

At Esther’s Acres, you can find all sorts of animals like chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, a cow, and even a llama.

North Dakota is known for its cold winters, which pose a threat to livestock, especially when it snows.

Last year’s historic Spring blizzard presented a challenge for many farmers and ranchers, but Carlson says that’s when she decided to expand her operation.

“We moved back in 2020, but the April blizzard last year was when we sat down and we opened up Youtube and got really into watching the videos. And that’s actually when we decided to get the sheep. So we haven’t even had them for a year,” said Carlson.

But now that it’s winter again, and the farm has a growing number of livestock, she is seeing some of the issues that come with freezing temperatures.

She says that compared to some other farms across the U.S., her sheep spend more time in a corralled area.

“We can’t have them out on pasture all year long. They’re really fragile. They’d have a hard time with the wind especially. So we do have to keep them in a smaller area. We have to have hay for them. They can’t graze through the snow and get grass, like a cow might. Another challenge is water, keeping water thawed. Earlier in the year when we had that big cold spell with the negative temperatures, even though we have heaters in our water, we were still having to break and hair dry water,” said Carlson.

She says owning livestock in the winter is hard work, but in the end, it’s worth it.

“It’s not easy, it’s gonna be difficult. But it’s fun and it’s rewarding. You get to, you know you get to bring these products to your consumers. You get to see it go like from field to plate. It’s just a rewarding feeling. So knowing that it like inspires you to get out there do the work,” said Carlson.

And something else unique about Esther’s Acres is that instead of a cattle dog, there is a guard llama.

“We decided to go the llama route because while they’re out on the pasture, all she needs to eat is hay, so it actually saves us money instead of buying dog food. And she does a really good job, she has a mean call. Kinda sounds like a horse,” said Carlson.

Carlson says the llama will stomp her feet if a coyote comes around.

Carlson says there are also two rams on the farm.

She says they wear marking harnesses, so they know which ewes will be having babies in the Spring.