Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sheep shearing and Amish living

Last fall, M2's preschool class went to a place called Shepherd's Cross for their pumpkin patch. It's a lovely place, even if the religious side of things does get a bit overwhelming (don't get me wrong - I'm not against a religious bent, but when you're trying to talk to 4-year-olds about how pumpkins grow, you don't also need a lecture on how this is similar to growing in Christ), and they had mentioned something about sheep shearing in the spring.

So a few weeks back, I visited the web site and saw that the Wooly Weekend was coming up. Originally I was supposed to be out of town this weekend and was hoping Oz would take the kids, but the plans fell through and I was able to go along.

I wasn't able to get any good shots of the actual shearing from the angle I was at, but here's a photo of the ewe getting her hoofs trimmed. She kept bleating for her lamb, which was REALLY loud.

She was a good sheep, though - two years old and very well-behaved.

Here are some of the other ewes they were going to shear today... with some of their lambs.
One of the lambs - aren't they adorable? These were Suffolk sheep. They're black when they're born but turn white with black points by fall. Some of these were so little they still had tails!

These looms were upstairs. I finally know how one works!!!

See the vertical yarn? That's the warp. You tie it on first. It threads through holes in the racks (they have special names that I can't remember, so I'm calling them racks). Then you put some more yarn on the shuttle (on the right where you can see the yarn heading away from the product) and it's called the weft. To weave, you push on a lever up at the top of the loom. This lifts one of the racks and lowers the rest. You put the shuttle underneath the raised warp, push the threads together to make the fabric tight, flip the next lever, and repeat the process till you're done!

And here I always figured it was a lot more complicated. Goes to show how my mind works. Or doesn't, depending on how you look at it.

They let the kids do some handweaving, too, which they enjoyed.

I had to take a picture of this weeeeeeee tiny little lamb.

The resident sheepdog didn't like that very much.

Random duck on the property as we went to check out the herb garden they had growing there. That was M1's favorite part. M2's favorite part were the resident barn cats. Go figure - didn't we go to see SHEEP??

I had to take a picture of the kids before we left.

After we left there, we went down to Chouteau to the Amish Cheese House. It's well worth the drive. I picked myself up an Amish cookbook (that's right... Amish), the kids picked up some candy, Oz got cheese (derh), and then... then we had to go get some sweet rolls.

I'd take a picture of them, but I don't want anyone storming my house in the morning. ;) I'll let you know how they taste.

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