After graduate school, it was time for new jobs and new scenery, so we packed our bags, put the dogs in the car, and shipped the horses to Maine, where we purchased a down-in-its-luck farm and set to its rehabilitation. A year later, we returned to the mid-Atlantic where we picked up our three foundation ewes—Hilda, Hilma, and Pippi—as well as a ram and a wether from our good friends at Tamarack Farm Gotlands.

Besides being well-suited to Maine's climate, Gotland sheep are curious and sociable animals our whole family enjoys interacting with. Their high-luster fleeces create soft, shimmery yarn for both the wool mill and hand spinners alike. Perhaps just as importantly, they share our Swedish heritage.

Ancestors of our sheep come from Gotland, a large island in the Baltic Sea, to the north and east of the city of Malmo, where Karl's grandfather was born. The Swedes raise Gotlands primarily for pelts and meat, and our aim here at The Gray Sheep is to breed animals that match their exacting standards for conformation and fleece quality and color.

Through upbreeding—adding animals with increasingly higher percentages of Gotland DNA—we meet the registration requirements of the American Gotland Sheep Society