Green Bow Educational Partnership: Sheep Shearing Day!

By Jenna Richter | February 23, 2016 | Farming, Science, Sustainablility

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These trips bring learning about sustainability, animals, and how to care for them into technicolor.  Everything we do in the Discovery Lab is meant to be hands-on, three dimensional and meaningful by way of experience.  When we go to the farm, one lesson is planned and unexpected lessons unfold before our very eyes.

We started our day on the farm touring the pastures and marking the changes since our last visit.  The snow has melted, the fields are turning green and the ponds are full.  Last visit we didn’t see the ducks as they were out on an adventure.  The students were so curious to see if the ducks were home.

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Everyone peered through the window. No ducks were inside but there were eggs!

 

Farmer Christina opened the duck house and gave us the tour. We learned that in order to get the ducks to lay eggs inside, they wait to feed them until they come in for the night.
Farmer Christina opened the duck house and gave us the tour. We learned that in order to get the ducks to lay eggs inside, they wait to feed them until they come in for the night.

 

Next we took a walk to the far corner of the property.  Along the way we discovered a coyote skull!  We have been learning about wolves and pigs for our upcoming play so it opened an interesting discussion about predators and prey.

 

This coyote skull still had some of the fur on the face. Last visit we learned the role of the guard dogs on the farm and how they work together to protect the herds and flocks.
This coyote skull still had some of the fur on the face. Last visit we learned the role of the guard dogs on the farm and how they work together to protect the herds and flocks.

 

The purpose of today’s visit was to learn about sheep shearing as well as the fleeces and the things we could make from the wool.  We watched the shearer shave all the fleece off several sheep.  Sheep were also getting their hooves trimmed, vaccinations and an overall wellness check by Farmer Matt.

 

It was quite a surprise that all the sheep were light in color under their wool despite their different fleece colors.
It was quite a surprise that all the sheep were light in color under their wool despite their different fleece colors.

 

We headed inside to see what different forms the fleece can take and to make a felted wool bowl with Farmer Christina.  She showed two different ways the fleece had been processed, into batting and into roving.  Next she demonstrated how to begin the process of wrapping the wool around a ball to create the shape.

 

Christina wrapping the roving around a big tennis ball.
Christina wrapping the roving around a big tennis ball.

 

 

Finn wrapping his ball in the batting.
Finn wrapping his ball in the batting.

 

 

Boden adding colorful roving to his ball.
Boden adding colorful roving to his ball.

 

Rubber bands are added to keep the wool in place.
Rubber bands are added to keep the wool in place.

 

Into the warm soapy water go the balls.
Into the warm soapy water go the balls.

 

 

Barefoot felting!
Barefoot felting!

 

The bowls are a work in progress that we will continue felting back at the Discovery Lab.
The bowls are a work in progress that we will continue felting back at the Discovery Lab.

 

With only days until our next visit to Green Bow Farm, back at the Lab we were working on felting our balls.  First we had a little round of indoor felting soccer then we roughed them up on the table for a while.  They are almost ready for the next step!

 

Back into the warm suds went the future felted bowls.
Back into the warm suds went the future felted bowls.