SUMNER — Some of Maine’s maple syrup producers couldn’t wait for Sunday to launch the state’s annual Maple Sugar Weekend.

One such syrup operation that wanted an early start on the weekend was A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm in Sumner, which also raises its own sheep to produce dyed-wool products for knitters and artists.

“I came from Indiana and Missouri where we had woods that we wanted to thin,” said co-owner Mary Ann Haxton, “and when we came back here we wanted to do some of the same things. So we had wood that we cut out, and maple trees, so I think the very first thing we did was try to make maple syrup, on a very small scale. We wanted to keep the fields open, so we had a neighbor we had asked to do mowing, but he didn’t want to bring his equipment over here because of the rocks, so he said, ‘Sheep would be a very good thing.'”

The neighbor first loaned the farm a couple of sheep, and then encouraged Haxton and co-owner Marty Elkin to keep them, Haxton said.

“So we had sheep in the fall of 1996,” Haxton said. “We kept a few over winter, and then we had our first lambs in spring 1997.”

Now the farm is a full-time sheep operation.


The farm is about 30 acres, with about 12 acres of woods, and a roughly equal area in pastures.

The maple syrup production has expanded to a wood-fired professional evaporator in its own building. The tree sap is collected in buckets and either hand-carried or transported by horse or tractor to the evaporator house.

The farm sells kits to complete a dyed-wool fiber-art project, including a design and the appropriate selection of dyed wool. That part of the business is Elkin’s domain.

“We came from Springfield, Ill., and we wanted the rural experience,” Elkin said, “and the back-to-the-woods thing. I was working full time as a nurse. The neighbor supplied sheep, and the lambs came along in the spring. And then we brought back our knitting which we hadn’t done in a long time. Then we had more and more wool. At that time we had about 15 sheep, and we decided that wool was the way we wanted to go.”

The dyed-wool fiber-art kits came along in 2007-08, Haxton said.

“We went to the Common Ground Fair for the first time in 2008,” she said. “A couple years before that we named the farm and decided that fiber would be our major enterprise.”

“Marty’s from Maine,” Haxton said. “She grew up in Auburn, in Danville Junction, and wanted to come back here, and I loved the East when I was out here, so we came back to her family home.”

The farm can be found at its website,, and it holds a number of events throughout the year.

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