Sixty-five sheep had their annual haircut at the sixth annual Sheep Shearing event April 25 at Forest Home Farms in San Ramon.
Some of the sheep, which are owned by a co-op of five women, had to travel from as far as Sebastopol to be sheared by Russ Duguid from Livermore. Some were very young, born this February, but still had a lot of wool to shear. After shearing, the lambs found it difficult to find their mothers as they didn't recognize them.
Patsy Galati and Maryke Tenge, two of the co-op members, volunteered their time repairing fences, filling ground squirrel holes and preparing the sheep for today's event. Children and parents were fascinated as they watched border collies herd the sheep to be sheared. In addition to caring for the sheep, the co-op does sheep dog training and currently has 10 border collies on their team.
The Spindles and Flyers spinning club from El Cerrito were very busy spinning the wool into yarn. Children also got hands-on experience of making felt and playing with the sheared wool.
Many families took the opportunity to enjoy a picnic and other family activities including a maypole, wood carving or crafts, train and tractor rides and a petting zoo sponsored by the 4H.
Mary Wilkman, the Historic Properties Coordinator for Forest Home Farms, said many of the event volunteers come from the San Ramon volunteer program, City Lights. Year-round volunteers maintain the 30-plus tractors that are in the museum.
Ron Simmons explained that the tractor used for rides during the sheep shearing event dates back to 1935 and that they encourage the rides.
"We do it to give the kids the experience of riding on a tractor," Simmons said.
All donations from the rides go to maintaining and restoring tractors for the museum.
The event sponsor was Whole Foods, which works closely with the San Ramon Farmers Market, held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 2 through October.