This week: Sawyer Creek Farm! I had the opportunity to correspond with Sheila who started working with sheep in the 1980s. Her farm is located in Gouverneur, NY just north of my home town. Beautiful country up there! Sheila was kind enough to share a bit about her flock, which is primarily Finnsheep now–a breed we haven’t heard much about on the blog! Her sheep sound wonderfully cuddly and I have Finnsheep on my list of breeds I’d like to try spinning. Sawyer Creek Farm used to have several other breeds, but Sheila finally settled on the Finns. Sheila also sent along some pictures and I pulled some additional photos (with her permission) from her Facebook page. I hope you enjoy hearing a little more about Sawyer Creek Farm!
Photos from top left to bottom right:
- Sheep in the pasture
- ‘Clyde’s’ yearling Fleece
- Hand dyed Dorsett Wool
- 55 gallon barrels make great warming chambers
- Lamb creep pen
- Hand dyed, handspun Dorsett wool
How did your farm/operation get its start?
I started with sheep in the early 80’s with a few ewes. Just enough of a tease to get me started. Learned to spin then too and have been hooked ever since. Only had them a few years as we moved to NH. Not enough room there so I continued spinning. As luck would have it we moved to Northern NY in late ‘97. We purchased a 94 acre abandoned farm at a very good price. After many years renovating the house, building a barn etc. I was ready for sheep again. In ‘06, I started with a rescue, a huge Hampshire ewe and over the years I have had Dorset’s and Katahdin’s and now my final choice of registered Finnsheep. I also raise other animals for meat. Chickens (broilers), Turkeys, pigs and eggs. All raised as humanely as possible for the health conscious consumer. I drive a school bus to support my farming habit. My husband helps with the bog projects, but I do the rest.
What kinds of fiber animals do you raise and why?
I have had my Finnsheep for 2 years and I absolutely love them! They are very tame, friendly, not skittish as some breeds are. They are a medium build animal that are easy to handle. Their fleece is very soft and easy to spin if washed very gently. The fiber does felt easily which I found out the hard way! Thus they are also good for the needle felting crowd! With the Finn’s it is easy to build up the herd as they are very prolific. My 4 yr. old ewe gave me quintuplets this year. I have starter flocks (FBA registered) available and individual lambs as well. $300 each with free local transport.
What is your favorite part of raising fiber animals?
Going into the barn and having them come to me for cuddles! What a difference from the other sheep I have had in the past! They all want cuddles so it is hard to take photos! I had to walk away, have them follow then turn and snap!
What is on your wheel/needles/loom?
I am currently spinning a Finn lambs’ fleece, but for the most part that will wait until fall as my gardens take lots of my time. I have lots of veggie and flower gardens. Knitting a stuffed bear with a basket full of stuffed strawberries for my granddaughter. and making lots of small knit/crocheted items to sell at the farmers/artisan’s market this summer.
What would you like hand spinners to know about your fiber?
That it is very easy to spin, soft on the hands and takes dye easily.
How can interested buyers get in touch with you?
I am listed on Facebook as Sheila Warden; we host a FB farm page at Sawyer Creek Farm; our email is firstname.lastname@example.org and our cell # is 315-286-1606
I am also listed as a breeder on the Finnsheep Breeder’s Association page: http://www.finnsheep.org/
Someday I want a web page but need a designer and more time!! Volunteers??
Thanks so much, Sheila!
I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above)