If you have ever hiked the woods of Vermont you know that stone walls lace the hillsides just about everywhere you turn. And while the trees that surround these walls may make you think otherwise, most of Vermont was clear cut to make room for those walls and for the sheep they fenced in. Sheep were big business. By 1840 there were about 1.7 million sheep — six for each human — in the state.
With sheep came all the related business from carding mills to fabric manufacturers with nearly every town dependent on what could be done with wool. Hartford, Vermont had two woolen mills. Good things don’t last forever. By the late 1860’s the market had collapsed, the sheep moved west, and the farms shifted to dairy or grazing land was abandoned.
Today, sheep are back. From small farms interested in raising a handful of sheep to fiber farms dedicated to raising sheep to support a fiber business, the sheep population is on the rise.
And we love it.
In addition to being a web developer Amanda has always loved fiber. And in addition to a television career spanning decades, Peggy has always loved fiber. They just needed to meet each other.
Sometimes the best way to really get to know someone is in a crisis.
Peggy and her husband Todd run Savage Hart Farm in White River Junction, VT. Peggy was selling yarn at the local farmers market made from the fleece of her colored Corriedale sheep and Amanda, living nearby in Norwich VT, was on the hunt for quality hyperlocal fiber when their paths crossed. There was a sale. A sweater was made which Amanda showed to Peggy a few months later while visiting the market. “If you like fiber, you’ll love shearing day. Come on by.”
Amanda and her husband Cody came to the farm in March 2019 for shearing day while Peggy lay in a hospital bed in St. Petersburg, Russia recovering from a traumatic brain injury. They offered to help Todd out in any way they could. When she returned, Peggy worked on healing while Amanda and Cody became sheep farm hands extraordinaire — moving onto the farm for a lambing season full of midnight barn checks and Manhattans over Game of Thrones.
Their help with all things sheep has never stopped. While they expanded their own farm that now includes chickens, bees and of course sheep, they continue to lend Peggy and Todd their talents and muscle. Amanda and Cody, Todd and Peggy have become friends and neighbors you can always count on.
In the spring of 2020 Amanda started to really feel the itch to plant her professional roots offline and into the vibe of Vermont. And Peggy started to wonder if there wasn't a better way to control her fiber's outcome. On a road trip to drop off wool at a mill during the height of the pandemic, sitting side by side in the farm truck, Peggy and Amanda talked and listened to each other about wool mills, partnerships, and something that resembled work ethic. The seeds of a partnership were sown.