Located 35 miles East of Cincinnati in Brown County, Ohio, The Black Sheep Fiber Farm is a small flock of sheep and Angora goats selected for their high quality fleeces. Outstanding Lincoln and Lincoln/Corriedale crossbred sheep, with a few recently added Romneys, provide clean, strong and luxuriously soft fibers in exciting NATURAL WOOL COLORS.
An equal number of Angora goats inhabit the pastures, including a black Mohair fleece, all of which provide the raw materials for a wide array of processed natural fiber products: Natural colored wool, Lincoln long wool, Romney wool, Mohair, Custom Carding, Blending, Spinning, Knitting, Doll Wigs and Santa Beards, Dyed Fibers, and Felting.
We are ecologically responsible, the Farm has been our home and way of life for 39 years, and we expect to continue. Therefore, long-term sustainability in what we do is important. We celebrate the changing seasons in turn, and accept the weather as it comes. And Mom Nature guides us when we listen.
Kathy is The Black Sheep shepherdess. She tends, coddles, and cleans up after the animals, processes the fibers, does the spinning and carding, shears the goats, cooks, cans, and makes things. Ian is the builder and maintainer. He mends fences, keeps up the roofs, greases the wheels, chops wood, mows a lot of grass, pulls weeds, grows other stuff, and fixes things.
Snug, ever expanding Barns house everything; animals, fiber processing, several workshops, equipment of all kinds, extraneous hobby activities, tours and show and tell.
Wool and Mohair fibers are cleaned, washed, picked, carded, blended, dyed, plied, spun, woven and felted, some by hand, some by power, resulting in the finest of materials for Spinners and Artisans, and products for fiber Enthusiasts.
The Herb House lights are solar powered, and the loft holds herbs and gourds to dry and sort. There is a scenic view of the Pond and Bridge from the upper window. Downstairs there is room for Beekeeping stuff, small group gatherings around the wood stove, spinning lessons, spin-ins, and over-nights on the floor.
The Pond grows fish and frogs, fills the animal watering tanks, and supplies the garden. It is a focal point in the back yard when the spring lambs are turned loose amongst the daffodils covering the banks. And no, the sheep won't eat the daffodils.
The herb and vegetable garden has had great quantities of composted sheep and goat manure and straw mulch stirred into the soil. Compost to feed roots, and mulch to add humus, hold moisture, reduce weeds, and provide a healthy soil habitat. Minimum soil tillage is practiced, so as not to disturb worms (or moles) unnecessarily. Naturally grown herbs are used in Wool and Mohair dye.
The solar heated greenhouse and family garden provide an abundance of healthy fresh food throughout most of the year, with enough to share with neighbors and fill the freezer with berries, and stock the root cellar for winter.
The Gazebo is a favorite place to spin or eat or to just sit, watching the sheep and lambs go about doing what they do naturally. And watch where you step.
We are flag wavers, too, and support local organizations which are important to neighborhood and community values. When we moved to the farm, we lived in the barn while restoring the 1841 Farm House, a worthy Ohio example of rural Virginia Federal. And the old fashioned woodstove still heats it all just fine.
The two Woodsheds have a full capacity of 14 cords of split stove wood, more than ample for at least three long cruel Ohio winters, giving off the best kind of comfy heat.
The Tea Hut at pond-edge is too cold in winter, but can harbor several spinners in the summer time, to the sounds of the frogs. And when work overtakes us, we hide there with Tea, as was the Oriental custom, a thousand years ago.