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March 24, 2016

Farmer John's flock finds an unlikely new home in Brooksville

PHOTO COURTESY / JOHN ALTMAN
PHOTO COURTESY / JOHN ALTMAN
Left to right Scott Swett, David Contreras, and Anthony Contreras of the Ellsworth-based party rental company Wallace Events. The events company erected a tent to protect ewes and their newborn lambs.
Photo Courtesy / John Altman
A storm tore through farmer John Altman's greenhouse in Brooksville recently at the height of lambing season. Ellsworth-based rental party company Wallace Events quickly came to the rescue of the 40 newborn lambs and 50 ewes with a temporary tent to keep them snuggly warm during the inclement weather.

Some 40 newborn lambs, 50 ewes, a Brooksville farmer and a party supply company — no, this isn't a "guy walks into a bar" joke setup, it's a story of how one business relationship may have saved a Brooksville farmer's flock of lambs.

On a blustery March day, as southerly gale force winds whipped across David's Folly Farm, the plastic covering of a greenhouse that was housing the newborn lambs and ewes ripped-off — leaving farmer John Altman's flock without a shelter as snow and rain headed in.

And so, without any shelters large enough to fit his 90 sheep, Altman did exactly what any other farmer without a suitable shelter would do: Call an Ellsworth-based party rental company.

"We said, 'This crazy thing happened,'" Altman recalled about his phone conversation with Wallace Events to the Ellsworth American. At no cost, the party company quickly offered a large 20-by-30-foot party tent to be used indefinitely as a shelter for the cast-out flock.

The call and subsequent act of kindness weren't completely from out-of-the-blue. Altman frequently rents out his farm during the summer for weddings and other events, and the party supply company often provides all of the necessary accoutrements.

"John's a local guy who's working hard trying to make a living," Wallace Events co-owner Jake Taylor told the American. "The farming industry is hard enough to try to make it in, let alone when an unforeseen thing like this happens."

And so, the next morning the vinyl tent was erected. With a little hay and bedding, it would prove to be a suitable home for the flock that would soon be growing even larger in size as not all of the ewes had given birth.

"I think Wallace [Events] saved us in a big way," Altman told the American. "They don't just have a crew around to set up tents, but they were here the next morning. I think they went above and beyond."

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