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Joined Apr 11 2012
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15 years old
Mathews, Virginia
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Bentwaters Farm

About Me

Sheep are the life force of Larry and Rosalie Brown’s Bentwaters Farm in Bavon.


The gentle creatures graze quietly in their fenced pastures, welcoming Rosalie by sidling up closely and waiting for a head scratch or two. She obliges, enjoying the feel and smell of the sheep and the peaceful aura created by their presence.


For nearly 40 years, fiber animals, especially sheep, have helped sustain the Browns. Their dozen or so Shetland sheep provide enough fiber annually for all of the wool products the farm sells, from raw wool and quilting bats to roving wool, yarn, and finished products such as scarves, rugs and felted hats.


The couple’s all-natural products come in a variety of earth-toned colors, including off-white, grey, sable, dark brown, and black. Rosalie hand-paints and dyes some of the wools to create all the colors of the rainbow, then re-skeins the yarns for soft, multi-colored blends.


For a while, llamas were a regular part of the scene at Bentwaters Farm, said Rosalie, but when three of them died during Hurricane Isabel, the couple decided not to replace the large animals, and the remaining members of their small herd, except for one, eventually died of old age. Their one llama and a couple of Angora rabbits yield enough wool for fiber blends, said Rosalie, adding that Angora wool is especially dense and warm and proves useful for the fingers of gloves and the toes of socks.


The Browns don’t eat any of their fiber animals. They sell some and keep the rest until they naturally pass away. Many live as long as 12 or 13 years.


The Browns also raise chickens and goats, the former for their eggs and the latter to keep the underbrush cleared from under their trees, and the farm sells pecans, chestnuts and blueberries. In addition, Rosalie teaches classes in spinning, felting, and weaving wool.


Rosalie and Larry attend a number of fiber arts shows all across Virginia each year, meeting other fiber arts specialists and staying up to date on the latest trends and techniques.  they  participate in festivals such as Mathews Market Days, Monpellier Fall Festival, Powatan Fibber Fest and others. Check calendar


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