Sunday, March 30, 2014

Oatland Island Sheep

Had a grand time last weekend at Oatland Island Wildlife Center at their annual sheep shearing and fiber demonstrations.  Oatland is a center for "conservation, education, discovery" on the outskirts of Savannah.  I was surprised to see that they have many animals including two bison, wolves, a cougar, and two Shetland sheep, both males, who somehow manage to survive our hot summers!

The Fiber Guild of the Savannahs generously donates their time to do a "sheep to shawl" demonstrating all aspects of fiber prep from shearing to weaving, in support of Oatland and the fiber arts.
I've watched sheep shearing a couple times in my life but have never seen such a tender loving (and slow) production of it. The women are using those old fashioned hand shears that my Dad used to use to trim the edges of the lawn!

Someone's nephew practicing his hand carding…he promised me that when he grows up he will have a farm with four sheep and that Aunt Wendy could keep the wool.  An hour later after having so much fun at this event he revised his total to five sheep….we have not yet discussed the breed….

There was spinning of last year's fleece

Here's an antique wool wheel, begging for some restoration

Ginned cotton 

The shawl was actually woven from last year's fiber, which had been mill-prepped. I was expecting to see a lovely lanolin-y hand knit triangle produced on the spot, but that will be at another event!

There was also some dyeing going on;  here's an indigo pot

My darling nephew cracking black walnuts which then went into the dyepot

I would love to do this over an open fire!

And here are some other interesting sights 

This Scottish "shotgun" style cabin is a creation of Scottish southern forebears. I had no idea that the "shotgun" style building, where front and back doors are in line, and often seen in our Low Country beach homes, was Scottish in origin. It was moved from another location in Georgia and restored, it dates to to 1830's

Baking cornbread in a fireplace, the concave lid has hot coals placed on it

 A crusher for sugar cane

The cane is then boiled in a huge vat, they actually still do this and sell the cane syrup

The Coastal Empire Beekeeper's Association has been busy here. Here bees are getting a drink of water, the stones add needed minerals

Bison…no the soft under coat is not harvested

Sleeping wolf

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