Lee Langstaff of Shepherd's Hey Farm in Dickerson recently visited with Barnesville’s first grade to share her extensive knowledge about sheep and wool. The students were then invited to visit her family farm to experience firsthand how and where the sheep live, and to learn about the work that goes into their care.
In the classroom, Ms. Langstaff answered questions about sheep and lambs; their care and feeding; and how we use meat, milk, and wool. Ms. Langstaff passed around a pelt for the students to feel. Some students recognized the shearling material as something they’ve felt or worn as boots or slippers.
Ms. Langstaff talked about the process of shearing, cleaning, and dying wool before it is spun into yarn. She gave students clumps of wool that they twisted into tight, strong strands, experiencing how the fiber is transformed into yarn for various uses, like making sweaters, socks, and even shoes. After demonstrating the spinning process, Ms. Langstaff guided students in turns at the spinning wheel. (Photos can be viewed on Facebook).
At the farm, students toured pastures and barns where they were able to pet and feed the sheep. They noticed that sheep that wore coats to keep the wool clean. They also found out that if you give sheep vanilla wafer treats, they will push their way onto a straw bale to try to get more!
“The hands-on experiences Ms. Langstaff provides our children are invaluable,” said Linda Birtholz, Barnesville First Grade Teacher.
The Langstaff family has been part of the Barnesville School community as students, parents, Board Members, educational partners, and friends for more than 20 years. The family’s Shepherd’s Hey Farm is home to a flock of wool sheep who are carefully bred and managed to produce handspinning fleeces, sheepskin pelts, wool roving and batting and yarn, and naturally raised custom butchered lamb.
Shepherd's Hey Farm strives to produce the highest quality wool and meat products while placing highest priority on the health and welfare of its animals and that of the land, water resources and local natural biodiversity. The farm and the Langstaff family support and participate in efforts to ensure a viable agricultural future in the region, and particularly in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.
Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is proud to be the only independent school in the Ag Reserve where our 30-acre campus is our extended classroom. Barnesville is certified as a Maryland Green School by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, demonstrating achievement in curriculum and instruction, community partnerships, and best management practices.