We raise sheep on our farm to provide fiber and meat. We keep one ram and six breeding ewes, producing eight to 12 lambs each spring.
Lambing season – the month of March – is a time of high anticipation and joy in the barn. Semester students sign up in pairs to come to the barn at midnight and 3:00 am to check on pregnant mamas and newborns; the farmers sleep lightly with a walkie talkie at the bedside and wait for a call.
The barn is at its most sacred in these middle-of-the-night hours, but we all hope for the middle-of-the-day births, when the large bell rung centrally on campus indicates that everyone available should rush (quietly!) down to the barn to see a lamb being born. The sheep spend the pasture season (April through October) rotationally grazing with the cows until breeding and lamb slaughter in the fall.
A Maine Coast Semester alumni (known locally as the best sheep shearer in the state) shears our adult flock six weeks prior to the start of lambing season.
The fiber is then processed by a local spinnery into roving and yarn that become finished felted, woven, knitted, and crocheted masterpieces in the hands of semester students.