Getting to the Source of Cloth: A Day at Slide Ranch

Settled on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Slide Ranch was a breath-taking site to explore the beginnings of cloth.

Exploring the many facets of cloth and its by-products to the Orange Band to one of our prettiest excursions yet: the always wonderful Slide Ranch in Marin. While our destination was new to some and familiar to others, the Orange Band got to participate in a pilot program with a focus on wool and yarn on the ranch, with the steady hand of Amelia leading our investigations.

Amelia, our fabulous naturalist, led the Orange Band through a search for food, clothing, and shelter at Slide Ranch – with an emphasis on clothing, of course!

 

You mean you can LIVE on the ranch and take care of the animals everyday?!?! Lily (aka Lillian Sheep Goat, her nature name) contemplates her future dream job.

 

The sheep at Slide Ranch were a bit skittish, staying at the back of their pen for most of our visit.

 

The Orange Band took this in stride and gave the sheep their space, in hopes of approaching a particularly friendly ewe for an up close look at her wool.

 

Slowly, but surely, kiddos got to get a closer look with Little Girl (actually a grandmother on the farm!).

 

Little Girl’s wool was so soft and dense! Also, multicolored: It was MUCH lighter closer to her skin.

In the beautiful yurt on Slide Ranch’s grounds, the Orange Band explored the different forms that cloth takes when shorn from the sheep that live here.

 

Amelia presented the Orange Band with wool in its various forms at the ranch: unwashed, combed, and spun.

 

Tasked with matching artifacts to the wool-to-yarn process, Orange Banders got to see the bigger picture lain out in front of them.

And then set out to recreate the wool-to-yarn steps: kiddos washed wool,

carded, or combed, the wool,

and hand spun their wool pieces!

Amelia demonstrated how to lengthen the wool before hooking it up to the spindle.

With help from her partner, Tamasen has a beautiful lock of hand-spun yarn!

Kiddos even had an opportunity to test out some natural dyes from fruit and veggies (that turned out to be less successful, though.)

No trip to Slide Ranch would be complete without a little goat milking and garden excursion!!

Dream, the goat, was most patient while Orange Banders took a hand at milking her.

Dreamy Dream

Soleil, Sadie, and Lily each took a turn milking Dream.

Soleil and Lily even tried some fresh goat milk — REALLY fresh!! (It was warm!!)

The other kiddos were content to gather treats for Dream to eat while she was being milked – Dream DEFINITELY expected the treats!

Gathering treats for Dream.

Dream demands more treats!

Even goats reach a treat limit, it seems.

Slide Ranch treats are not just for the livestock; Orange Banders got to wander and sample the MANY delicious offerings in the garden, collecting fragrant herb bundles to be tied up with their hand-spun yarn.

The beautiful lower garden

Fresh chives are truly scrumptious!

Flowers are edible sometimes, and chard leaves make great hats!

It was a truly magical day on the ranch – from sheep to wool to yarn, the Orange Band got the chance to see wool through its rudimentary steps of basic production, and get a little goat and gardens in, to boot!