The Sheep Farm
Cathi Wilken and Lisa Barry
The Sweet Sheep farm is located on Bonnyvale Road in Guilford, Vermont. Since 1993, when Cathi Wilken decided she would like to have sheep mow her meadows instead of diesel tractors, she has employed sheep to keep her meadows open.
Thirteen ewes, 2 wethers, and a ram compose the flock. Most are descendants of Polly, who was a Lincoln Leister Romney cross, bred for her colored long staple fleece, admired by handspinners. Beauty and Beastie, purebred white Romney ewes, joined the flock this summer.
Roger and Cathi Wilken bought a house and 69 acres on Bonnyvale Road in Guilford, Vermont in 1971. Over the years since, they've added neighboring lots, nearby until they now have about 100 acres.
Most of the land is forest, and in the Vermont Forest Management program. About 15 acres are in pasture. At the time of purchase, the pastures were hayed by a nearby farmer, who stopped because the pasture needed some animals to revitalize them. Cathi tried horses for a while, not very satisfactorily. Eventually, it was growing a beautiful crop of goldenrod, and had to be brush-hogged yearly.
In 1993 Cathi decided that the cost of mowing would equal about 2 years of having sheep do the work, so she invested in Polly, and her lambs Wally and Doodle. They were swamped, so it was time to increase the flock. Now, the current flock of 12 grown ups and 14 lambs keeps Cathi busy moving fence.