- Author: Hannah Bird
Have you ever wondered where your wool sweater came from? Or just how to keep a 160lb sheep still enough to shear it? Join the Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) team and friends on Saturday, May 28th, 10am-2pm to get the answers to these and many more questions.
Expert shearer Matt Gilbert and owner of the new Ukiah wool mill will be offering demonstrations with a few of HREC's flock of over 800 western whiteface sheep working as his models! Visitors will also have the chance to see different kinds of wool from the fine, soft merino to the long, coarse Navajo-churros and to learn how they are graded.
Throughout the day Cathy Hessom, Beth Keiffer, Tim Easterbrook and Aleshanee Akin will introduce visitors to felting, spinning, weaving and knitting projects. California Conservation Corps members will also be giving us a new use for Kool-Aid, using it to dye wool! Stories of sheep ranching in Mendocino will be offered by Jean Near, who at 101 years old has plenty of experiences to recount.
If you'd like to get a little closer to a sheep, meet "Willy and Mitten", 2 of the extension centers sheep and you will even get the chance to see some of their friends being kept in line by Nancy Todd (Redwood Empire Sheepdog Association) and her sheepdog at 12pm for the sheepdog demonstration.
The day will provide opportunities for sheep farmers, fiber enthusiasts and families to get involved and learn more about every step of the process from sheep to sweater! Visitors will be welcomed to the HREC new conference hall, The Rod Shippey Building, and will have chance to picnic on the patio. “We can't wait to welcome the community to our beautiful site and to raise awareness of just one of the areas of research and education that we conduct up here. Our sheep are not only vital for the UC Cooperative Extension sheep shearing school but also for research into best management practices for rangelands and animal science,” commented Hannah Bird, HREC community educator.
Admission is $5 for adults, children under 12 are welcomed for free (online registration or checks preferred). HREC asks visitors to leave their pets at home to protect the site and the sheep resident there. Bring your own picnic and all utensils; some light food will be available. Visit http://ow.ly/4mSr1g to find out more and purchase your ticket. Barn to Yarn will be held at the Rod Shippey Hall, 4070 University Road, Hopland, CA 95449 from 10am-2pm on May 28th. For more information contact Hannah Bird, (707) 744-1424, Ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org.