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Thursday, November 9, 2006

The fur flies -- and turns into fiber -- at Sherborn farm

SHERBORN

llamas.jpg

(Debbie Smith with one of her fine, furry friends, Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)

The morning routine at Iron Horse Farm starts with 32 llamas, 56 sheep, 50 chickens, 20 angora goats, eight angora rabbits, seven cats, and five dogs. That's how many mouths Deborah and Skip Smith have to feed before they head off to their "real" jobs -- or turn to other tasks, like the Fiber/Art Festival Deborah will host in Sherborn this weekend.

"We didn't really plan on this," said Smith, 51, explaining that she and her husband purchased their 3-acre -- and at the time animal-free -- farm in Sherborn in 1989 as a home at which Skip could base his landscaping business.

But Deborah Smith, a neonatal nurse, had been an avid knitter since she was a child. So, when Skip brought home two Angora rabbits for her in 1993, she figured she could find the time to raise the little critters for wool.

"So, we started with two rabbits and somehow it just multiplied from there," she said. "Now we have the sheep and goats and llamas and, oh yeah, the chickens -- can't forget the chickens."

But it doesn't stop there. ...

Read more of correspondent Denise Taylor's story in today's Globe West.

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