See the shorn sheep in San Ramon | News
More than 55 sheep will be sheared in a family-friendly event that mixes crafts and activities with education and history at San Ramon’s Forest Home Farms Historic Park this Saturday.
Organized by the San Ramon Historical Foundation, the annual Sheep Shearing Day – held for the first time since 2019 – is one of the foundation’s biggest events, often attracting more than 1,000 people throughout the day.
“Sheep need to be sheared whether or not we have an event,” said event organizer Lynette Gerbert. “We created this event around the annual mowing so families could get out, tour the farm and step back in time to see how things were before we were on our phones and computers all day.”
In addition to demonstrations of shearing and sheep herding, Gerbert said, there will be wool spinning and quilt-making demonstrations, music, carving and woodturning demonstrations, handicrafts , face painting and visits to the tractor barn and the David and Eliza Glass House museum. Food, including hot corn, and drinks will be available for purchase and for an additional fee, children can take a tractor ride.
“I’ve lived in San Ramon for almost 30 years, and until I started volunteering for the event, I never went there,” Gerbert said. “It’s fun to go back in time and see how a completely different generation lived and how they did things. It was just a slower, simpler time. It’s cool to see the dogs and it’s not isn’t something you’re used to seeing. It’s once an annual event that you attend.”
Border Collies play an important role in the sheep shearing process. According to Patsy Galati, the farm’s resident “sheep whisperer”, the shearing begins with the Border Collies herding the sheep into a small area where they are then presented to the shearer one by one.
To shear, a sheep is placed in a sitting position, with its body leaning against the legs of the shearer. This position, Galati said, keeps them comfortable and calm while the wool is sheared from side to side, resulting in a full fleece. During Saturday’s process, a narrator will share facts about the sheep shearing process and answer questions.
“Watching and experiencing Border Collies working on a real ranch is a very different experience,” Galati said.
“The partnership between the shepherd and the sheepdog is incredible… The sheep have different personalities which are evident during this process, ranging from comical to escapist at all costs. All but four of the sheep have names and are amazing individuals. Almost all of them were born and raised and loved by their caregivers and owner at Forest Home Farms,” she added.
Galati said shearing is an important part of sheep health and sheep on the farm should be sheared annually “to prevent overheating in the summer, skin diseases, parasitic invasion (and) blindness. wool”. Additionally, she said, a thick coat prevents sheep from running away from predators, prevents lambs from suckling, and makes it difficult for sheep to graze.
Wool shorn at the event will eventually be purchased by hand spinners, used for children’s craft projects on the farm, or sent to a mill that makes roving, or a washed and brushed piece of wool ready to to be spun. Some fleeces, Galati said, may be available for purchase from the farm’s gift shop and any fleeces unsuitable for spinning projects or farm events will be used as compost or mulch.
Tickets, $5 for children over 3 and $10 for adults, are available at www.srhf.org and on the day of the event. The funds collected are intended for the restoration and maintenance of the buildings on site.
“We are currently in the process of fundraising for the future restoration of the 22-bedroom Dutch Colonial Boone House,” said foundation treasurer Dall Barley. “This structure was built in 1900 and was heavily modified in the 1950s. It needs serious structural repairs to allow it to be presented to future generations.”
Forest Home Farms Historic Park is located at 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd. in San Ramon. Sheep shearing day begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m.