These two pictures are very old but they appealed to me given the time of year. They were taken in Yorkshire over 20 years ago as we were hiking in the area. It was spring and the lambing season was underway. We saw a couple of lambs gamboling through a graveyard while another was resting in the grass. Lambs in spring are such an iconic scene. With spring upon us, I felt like they should be dug out from my negative scan archive.
If you head across the Dumbarton Bridge at Fremont, you will pass Ardenwood Historic Farm. On the right side of the highway as you head towards the bay, this farm has been a feature of the area for over 100 years although it is now a fraction of its former size. However, it is now under the control of the East Bay Parks District and open for the public to visit. It is a combination of little bits of what a farm would be. You could say it perpetuates some of the myths you have as kids about what farms are like since we grow up thinking that all farms have a bit of everything rather than just being a cattle farm, growing a single crop or raising chickens en masse.
However, it does provide an opportunity to see some aspects of an old style farm much as they once were. The farmhouse itself is quite impressive. The family that owned it became quite influential in the area and had the house to match. The grounds are nicely laid out and it was a pleasant spot to spend some time as the chickens that were scrabbling around in the dirt near us also seemed to think.
There are goats, sheep, pigs, horses and cows in the grounds. They get a lot of attention from the visitors and we were no exception. The goats were the most active seeming to be more interested in the leaves on a tree above a bench in their enclosure than the food that they had been provided. A couple of the kids were desperately reaching under a fence. I guess the grass really is greener…
As part of the Scottish celebrations, there was a demonstration of sheep dogs at work. This was something I always thought of a either a northern England or Welsh activity but I guess it is a big deal in Scotland too. Anyway, a bunch of dogs were taking it in turns to demonstrate their skills with a small flock of sheep brought in especially for the occasion.
The dogs and the shepherds were certainly very effective. They could move the flock wherever they felt like it (although the attempt to split the flock in two was a little less successful). The dogs were really fun to watch as they zipped around the flock and then froze on the ground until needed again.
The sheep were amazing as well. These creatures are obviously very fixated on one thing. Eating! The dogs could get them quite jumpy but a second alter they would forget everything and start munching on the grass. I suspect if left alone, they wouldn’t move far at all as long as the grass lasted!