Droves of kids and their parents and caregivers turned out on Saturday for the annual Sheep to Shawl event at , where sheep shearers shave the woolly coats off the ranch's sheep and spinners demonstrate how the wool is then turned into yarn and spun into garments.
The chickens, rabbits and goats never receive more attention than they do on Sheep to Shawl day and surely the resident cat Cleo, "the best ranch cat ever," says Elkus Ranch coordinator Leslie Jensen, gets his fair share of attention, too.
Here's Cleo taking a break from all the Sheep to Shawl visitors and lounging in one of the barns on a bed of fresh wool.
Elkus Ranch has been hosting Sheep to Shawl every June for so many years, "we've lost count," says advisory board and former Elkus staff member Joyce James, "but we've definitely been doing this for more than 30 years."
A past director of the Ranch developed the concept with James and others because "people in the community really wanted to come to the ranch and see the sheep," she says. "This is a great opportunity for people to learn about what we do here as an environmental educational center and watch a sheep shearer in action and see spinners turn the wool into yarn. Every year the event keeps getting better and better."
This includes activities like dying wool, grinding corn to feed to the ranch animals and planting a seedling to take home. This year also marks the second time that the Elkus Ranch staff and advisory board organized a silent auction with locally donated items — art, plants, handknit scarves, handmade wreathes, gift certificates to restaurants and catering, and an abalone dinner for four — to raise funds for the ranch and its services for youth groups.
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