In early March winter begins to release its grip on my New England sheep farm. I keep a flock of 76 Cormo and Border Leicesters on 220 upland acres in the Berkshire foothills of western Massachusetts. Here on Patten Hill as icy back roads thaw from glacial hardpan to mud pudding, I prepare for my annual wool clip. For me and for many other fiber farmers in the Northeast, the outcome of the next six weeks will tell the story of a year's hard work and also set the stage for the coming year.