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When I moved to the farm in 2014, the farm house came with a small flock of sheep. They were the remnants of what had been a thriving pastured lamb business. Our little flock was the result of over 50 years of breeding sheep to thrive on our land. Having that history along with the resilient genetics is extremely special. Growing our farm from these sheep feels like the best way to honor our land's past and to have a strong future.

Our sheep are all mixes of meat and wool breeds - Dorset, Suffolk, and Corriedale. They produce great lambs for our pastured meat market and their wool is sturdy, surprisingly soft, and reflects the resilience of their genetics. We have the sheep shorn once a year and process the wool on site. We wash, card, dye, felt, and spin all of our product. Eventually I hope to have someone else do the washing and carding but for now, it is all done on the farm.

The wool is washed using grey-water safe detergent - the wash water is used to irrigate our dye plant garden. We use non-toxic mordants to prepare our wool for dye and all of our colors come from plants grown on our farm and other local farmers. The only exception is cochineal - a small insect that grows on prickly pear and who produces a gorgeous deep red. It is just too cold here for the prickly pear or cochineal to thrive.

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We chose to focus on home goods and children's toys as a way to highlight the diversity of wool and how widely useful it is.

Our wooly home goods replace many one-time use plastics and are 100% compostable when their useful life comes to an end. Our felted toys are colored with 100% nontoxic dyes to ensure a safe and long lasting life time with their playmates. All of our rag dolls are filled with wool instead of polyfil or cotton. We use the off cuts of wool that are too short to be used for yarn and felt. In this way we can produce a high quality toy while reducing farm waste. Another bonus of using wool for our toys is its natural tendency to be odor resistant. Letting a toy hang out in the breeze for a day is often enough to help it smell fresh.

I hope that the growth of our wool flock will help encourage the growth of sustainable and healthy living.