Shear Fun at John Jay Homestead Sunday – Bedford-Katonah, NY Patch

Rainbeau Ridge sheep are getting a new look for spring.

This weekend the wooly creatures will be relieved of their heavy winter coats and locals are invited to watch the fur fly as eight sheep from the Bedford Hills farm get their annual haircuts at the John Jay Homestead.

It’s the first event to be to be jointly hosted by the two organizations.

“It’s a great way to bring our two constituencies together,” said Karen Sabath, a partner with her sister, Lisa Schwartz, proprietor of Rainbeau Ridge. “The homestead’s grounds are perfect and we look forward to bringing the community together.”

The farm is well-known for catering to kids and providing programs that teach young ones about farming, animals and where food comes from. They’ve designed the event with families in mind.

“Kids will be able to watch the shearing, which is amazing—how it all comes off in one piece. They’ll be able to feel the fleece and learn about the process of making it into something they wear,” said Sabath.

One craft they’ve planned is a felting project, where kids will handle “roving,” a by-product of the fleece after it’s been cleaned and combed. They’ll bang and roll the material until it infuses—the hairs get mangled together—and cut shapes from it to take it home.

“One thing we try to do in all of our programs is make farming accessible—it’s not just an old-fashioned something that was just done by people in funny clothes a long time ago. It’s still done today by people in the community—it’s here and now, current and relevant,” said Sabath.

Sabath’s current “obsession with bees” is one example of how the farming bug bit her personally—she had her nose in a book about bees Thursday morning, she told Patch.

“I am in love with bees! We just opened the hives after the winter, and they were still there—it’s fascinating and I wish everyone could have a hive,” she said about the ancient practice she’s learning in modern-day suburban Bedford.

John Jay Homestead has also created more programs to promote gardening and growing fresh food, making the sheep shearing festival a natural collaborative step. Last year the Intergenerate teaching garden was planted and expanded with an egg co-op this year. The homestead also hosted the Bedford Garden Club’s Veg Out garden tour and educational expo.

Other crafts for kids include face painting and sand art. Antique farm equipment dating back 100 years will be on display and two musical acts will entertain the crowds: 2-and-1, a band that recently won the Ridgefield Band Jam, and Kevin Falco, who sings and plays guitar. An ice cream truck will be parked all day taking orders.

The 2011 Sheep Shearing will take place at the John Jay Homestead on Sunday, May 1st from 1-4pm, rain or shine. The fee is $30 per family or $25 for Friends of John Jay members and includes all activities (except for the ice cream). To receive the Friends discount, you need to pre-register by calling the friends office at 914.232.8119.

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