Today I took my 3rd grade class on our annual pilgrimage to Franny's sheep farm. We've been talking about the many ways that native peoples lived off the land, including the sheepherding Navajo of the American Southwest. We visit a sheep farm to watch and sketch the sheep. But the real reason that I return to visit Franny each year is so that children can experience how a woman's dream can become a reality through study, hard work, and enthusiasm.
When she was a child, Franny wanted to live on a farm. When her children were young, she got a dairy cow and fed her family homemade dairy products. She raised chickens before they became a fad. Then she moved on to raising sheep, leading to her current flock of 65 merino sheep and the Mama Llama who keeps them safe from predators. She sheers her white, taupe, and deep brown sheep, spins their wool, and knits it into hats and mittens and capes. I hope that exposing children to Franny's love of the farming life she has created will inspire them to follow their passions.
For our field trip, I wore this pair of sheep earrings that I happened upon as I wandered through Blacksburg, VA on Saturday. I dabble from time to time in knitting, crocheting, felting, weaving and even carding and spinning. While I'll never own sheep, I love to work with wool.
All morning, children noticed the sheep dangling from my ears. Field trip!