A sunny day brought families with eager children to the Petaluma Adobe for our annual sheep shearing event. A new feature this year was a petting enclosure where a large, docile pig and several small goats wandered around to the delight of small children.

With no rain in sight, the sheep pen was moved out from under the balcony. John Sanchez, our veteran sheep shearer, won the respect of the audience with his masterful handling of a sheep: selection, quick flip and then running the electric shears first on its belly and rear quarters and then working up the front and sides so that the full coat collected in a pile. John answered the many questions from the crowd: No, the sheep wasn’t in pain or discomfort; as long as he kept the sheep’s feet off the ground it couldn’t resist him; generally, sheep are shorn once a year, in the spring; the sheep appears comfortable without its fleece; when he does commercial shearing he shears about 160 sheep in an hour. At this event John sheared our three sheep on a schedule of one an hour, allowing plenty of time for Q&A.

Crafts demonstrators were arrayed around the courtyard . You could try your hand at spinning carded wool into yarn, do wool embroidery, observe the use of a hand inkle loom, a very old design used to make narrow items like belts and straps, and make your own wooly sheep. Patrick Kearney, manager of the Sonoma Barracks store, was on hand to sell sheep-related items.

Thanks to Kathy Wolcott and all the parks staff who planned, organized and supervised this beloved annual event, and the many volunteers who participated.

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