Why do we host an open house each year at sheep shearing time? It's important for us to show the process of farming. Many people will tell you things about farming that "ain't necessarily so." Unless you can see farming practices yourself, and meet the farmers who care for the land and the animals, you are at the mercy of what you see on social media.
Farming is a messy, heartbreaking lifestyle. It's also an amazing, joy-filled lifestyle. When you come to visit us, you will smell what a barn smells like after it's had 100 sheep living in it for 2-3 months. You will see baby lambs and their mothers. You will watch sheep struggle to get away from the shearer, and then lay still while he works. Then you will see those same sheep jump up and run off to join the others. You will check out the inside of a fleece--snowy white--and the outside of a fleece with a year's worth of oils and dirt in it. Not so snowy white anymore.
We encourage you to come and see what a working farm is like. We'll clean things up a bit, and pray like crazy that it won't be muddy that day. Be prepared for something much messier, louder, smellier--and more wonderful--than you can imagine.
The Open House will be held on Saturday, March 4 from 9 - 3, at 13275 Blair Street, north of Holland. You may come and go at any time during the day. Dress warmly and in old clothing--we shear in a barn!
In addition to sheep shearing, you will have the opportunity to see demonstrations of various wool crafts, including needle felting, spinning and more. Farm products will be available for purchase, including wool products and organic dry beans.
Farm friends and family will be on hand to answer questions and explain the process of harvesting and using wool. There is no admission charge to this event. Donations will be accepted from those who would like to support the education and outreach programs of the Critter Barn in Zeeland, but there is no obligation to donate.