Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Students Experience Life on a Small Farm

Mancelona and Ellsworth 5th graders got some hands-on learning last week when they visited Raven's Roost farm in Bellaire.

The students milked goats, led a llama pack animal, gazed at cows, pet two-day-old lambs, practiced spinning yarn, learned about rotational grazing and pasture, made butter and walked the woods with a professional forester.

While some adults are intimidated by llamas, the kids were enthralled. More than once, Doug Bedell, owner of Raven's Roost Farm, heard, "Can I take this llama home with me?"

Raven's Roost Farm, located on Vandermark Road near Bellaire, raises Shetland sheep and Scottish Highland cattle. The sheep are a variety of colors and their fleece is high quality, with an average micron range of 22.9 to 34.3. The cattle is an ancient Scottish breed that is very hardy—perfect for the cold northern Michigan winters.

The farm tour was organized by the Antrim Conservation District, Antrim Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), Foraging Fibers, the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND), Moondog Farm, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Raven's Roost Farm.

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