GORHAM — Clutching a furry living ball in her hand, Althea McNulty, 11, stood stock still in the henhouse at the Underhill Fiber Farm on Wilson Road.

It was the first time she had held a live chick.

“It’s soft but its wings are prickly,” Althea said.

The moment was exactly why Althea and her family moved back to Maine last month after a four-year stint in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, a 24-hour flight away, said her mother, Gretchen McNulty. The McNultys were spending Sunday visiting local farms as part of Open Farm Day, when more than 80 agricultural operations across the state flung open their doors to the public.

“I am blissing out. I am embracing the fresh, clean beautiful air. We are so happy to be back,” said Gretchen McNulty, who worked at an international school in Kuala Lumpur and just took a job as a curriculum director for the Falmouth public schools.

The Underhill Fiber Farm – run by Jenny Smith, 41, her parents, Cindy and Larry Smith, who bought it in 1977, and twin sisters Nancy and Chrissy, 31 – was a picture of summer bounty with the Smith family’s high-energy industriousness on full display.

The gardens surrounding the house were a tumble of flowers and vegetables. Swiss chard burst up among the yellow daisies. Tomatoes poked through the amaranth and delphinium spikes. Corn stalks towered over mounds of catnip and mint. Scarlet runner beans bloomed blood red.

Visitors patted the horses, held the Angora bunnies and nuzzled the 50 baby broilers and 30 baby turkeys.

The farm animals emitted an outdoor concert of baas, quacks and bleats.

Out in front of the 1700s-era farmhouse Jenny Smith sold skeins of wool from her animals, while several friends demonstrated how to make yarn at their spinning wheels. Betty Johnson of South Portland, who met Smith at a spinning event, sat spinning cobalt blue wool. Johnson once spent four years collecting the fur off her 120-pound Newfoundland dog, Emily.

“I combined it with sheep wool and made a capelet and shawl,” Johnson said.

The fiber operation is a labor of love. If she is lucky in a given year, Jenny Smith will cover her costs. Digging her hand into a bag of dark brown sheep wool, Smith said it takes $150 a year to feed a sheep. In return she gets about 5 pounds of wool. She will lose 30 percent of that when she washes it. Then she spins it and sometimes she knits it into sweaters and hats. She spins any fiber she can find, including cat fur.

The family eats from the garden. They slaughter and eat their chickens, sheep and pigs. They make cheese from goat milk and dine on freshly laid eggs. Smith makes wine, using rhubarb or autumn olives and other fruits and berries – “from anything I can get my hands on,” she said.

Johnson said she considers Smith amazing, and held up an orifice hook used to thread a spinning wheel that Smith fashioned out of copper wire and a wine cork.

“I don’t drink, but I hear her blueberry wine is terrific,” Johnson said.