For Karen Hostetler, wet wool smells like progress.
On washdays at Mountain Meadow Wool the air is warm, steamy, and redolent of barnyard. Employees stand before six-foot-long troughs plunging dirty fleece into soapy water. The sediment of sheep life settles into V-shaped indentations at the bottom. The fragrance is “very sheep-y. Not real awful,” Hostetler says. Not like the time when, needing money, she processed buffalo hide from a slaughterhouse. Then, she says, “it smelled so bad I thought we were going to lose all the workers. We charged them double.”