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April 14, 2010 > Sheep shearing day at Ardenwood

Sheep shearing day at Ardenwood

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By Ira Bletz

It's lamb season at Ardenwood Historic Farm and a great opportunity to welcome all the new wooly arrivals! Spring is here and summer is fast approaching; that means their thick, warm wool coats need to be sheared. So, for a load of "fuzzy" fun, come enjoy Ardenwood's Annual Sheep Shearing Day on Sunday, April 18.

Although there are many breeds of sheep, Ardenwood Historic Farms has two distinct types, both of which trace their roots back to England. Romney sheep have white or grey, coarse fleece (wool), great for spinning into wool for clothing. The other, Suffolk, have black fleece and are primarily raised for their meat as they are the largest-sized breed in the United States.

Roaming the grounds of Ardenwood are: lambs (baby sheep), ewes (female sheep) and one very busy large ram (male sheep) named Junior.

On Sheep Shearing Day, professional sheep shearer, Russel Duguid, will be hard at work displaying his skills to the crowd. Ardenwood Naturalist, Christina Garcia adds that after the sheep are sheared, and led back to the pasture, the other animals don't even recognize them at first, without their wooly covering.

"Volunteers at Ardenwood use the collected wool throughout the year for various demonstrations," Garcia explains. "One use is to show the process of 'felting,' which is another way to make cloth. By using hot water and friction (rubbing the wool), the fibers close up and the wool bonds together forming felt cloth. This is an alternative to spinning or weaving," says Garcia. "I like showing people how things were done."

Visitors to the historic farm can take part in a wide variety of special activities planned for the day as well as enjoying ongoing events in the farmyard.

Among the events scheduled are:
Noon - 2 p.m. - Sheep shearing and sheep dog demonstrations near the barn.
Noon -2:30 p.m. - Bluegrass music in the farmyard by Aimee Algier and Kim Kurtz.
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Wool crafts for kids near the granary.

Watch Country Kitchen Cookin' from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. and nibble on a tasty warm cookie or biscuit from the farm's wood burning stove or Dutch oven.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. activities in the farmyard include: spinning demonstrations with wool on a spinning wheel and drop spindle; hand carding - preparing wool for spinning and also table loom weaving.

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about sheep or wool and experience a connection to nature and farm life.


Sheep Shearing Day
Sunday, April 18
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544-2797
www.ebparks.org/parks/ardenwood

Admission: $5 Adults/$4 Seniors and kids

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