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counting sheep

From Rory’s daily blog series “a few of my favorite things about the Festival this year”…


We’ve been wanting to get sheep here at our farm for a long time. Besides the cows and laying hens rotationally grazing in the fields, pigs in the wooded area, meat birds, guineas, and ducks in the chicken tractors, the schoolhouse also has their own pigs, goats, peacocks, and a donkey. We’ve also raised turkeys and geese, but up to now, we’ve never had sheep. It’s been on our feed-bucket list for a few years now.


And so, another one of my favorite things about this year’s Festival is the truckload of sheep that were delivered here to the farm a few days ago. Last night when I climbed off the tractor, I counted 25 of them in the pasture next to the school. And I hear that we’re getting 25 more delivered later this week.


Sheep delivery for The Homestead Festival shearling demonstrations

Needless to say, we’re all excited to have them here. But unfortunately, they're not staying long. They’re only here for the Festival, then they go home a few days after it ends.


But that’s part of why I’m exited about them being here. They’re here so people can learn how to shear sheep as part of our Homesteading demonstration area. Some wonderful folks from Ohio are coming down to teach anyone and everyone who want to learn how to properly shear sheep. Something I’ve actually not done myself either, so I hope can sneak over and be part of it.


Sheep being sheared for it's wool.

A couple months ago when Ms. Rebecca, Farmer Dalton, and the kids went on a field trip to the Chick Days event McMurray Hatchery was putting on at Acorn Creek Farmstead in Hohenwald. They came home with the news that we are getting sheep. Not these, but sheep of our own. Two of them. They were newborns when they saw them on the field trip and we’re just waiting for them to get weaned, but they’ll be here at our farm soon. So, learning how to shear them is a big plus for us. Even though it will be awhile before we’ll need to do it, we’ll have a jump start on the knowledge and hopefully experience to do it properly.


The two newborn sheep from Acorn Creek Farmstead in Hohenwald who will soon move to their new home at the Hardison Mill Homestead School.

Our hope in time, is to learn to turn the clippings into wool and learn to spin and make things with it. Not just us adults, but that it becomes part of what the kids learn as part of their curriculum each year at school.


Sheep waiting for the shearing demos at the 2023 Homestead Festival

And so, getting sheep sheared at the Festival this year, isn’t just fun and a blessing for all the folks who’re coming, but also for us. The demonstrations will be ongoing both Friday and Saturday. Be sure to check the full schedule or the Homestead Festival App for details.


Hope to see you on Friday!


- rory


If you would also like to learn how to shear sheep come learn alongside us. You can still purchase passes at thehomesteadfestival.com. There you can learn about all the speakers, music, demonstrations, and more that will be going on. It’s going to be an incredible weekend of not just learning how to grow your own food, but how to grow a life filled with meaning and purpose.


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