As a newcomer to living in Jamestown, I thought I would take the opportunity to highlight a place that may be of interest to new residents or visitors. Or maybe even spark the interest of longtime residents who may have seen signs for this spot, but never stopped by to explore. The place I’m talking about is Watson Farm on North Main Road. This past weekend, on May 6, the farm held its annual Sheep Shearing Day. And what a fantastic activity for the family! It was wonderful to have such an experience right here, minutes from home. We didn’t have to venture over either one of the bridges for a day of learning and hands on experience (Do I sound like a true Rhode Islander yet?)
Founded in 1796, Watson Farm is a 265-acre property and is a working family farm. The original farmhouse is still standing and is used by the Minto family as their home. The animals on the farm are grass fed during the year and a rotational grazing method is employed. Raising the animals on grass, as opposed to grain, reduces labor and costs.
The Sheep Shearing Day is an opportunity for visitors to see the animals up close and personal. And when I say up close, I mean my 3-year old daughter was able to hold baby chicks and ducks in her hands and pet newborn lambs. She was able to see the sheep losing their ‘coats’ and understood that no, it did not hurt them. Then she made her very own small sheep out of a pipe cleaner and pink wool, spun from a previous harvest. We saw a Red Devon cow, lots of cats, a rooster and the border collies that are used to herd the sheep. We hiked up the hill to see bright green fields and a herd of sprightly sheep bounding up and over one another. She got to see that in fact, there are black sheep, like in the song she’s been singing over and over. The expansive views of Narragansett Bay are like a painting.
And to top it all off, there was the best tree swing ever! This was quite possibly the favorite activity for many of the kids. The swing was made of a big piece of wood and tied to a huge tree by good, strong rope. So simple, yet so entertaining. We watched the ‘big’ kids go swooping up high, where you know they could feel that little twinge in their bellies. My daughter mustered up her courage and didn’t try to stop me as I loaded her up a little more, a little more….Then I let go and swooooooshhhhhh! I could hear her giggling and the people standing in line saying, ‘Look at that face!’ She was loving it!
Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Or we busy ourselves with activities that cost a lot of money, or make you interact with machines, or keep you cooped up indoors. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these are great, and necessary. But I have to say, this was such a nice escape. Things my daughter has read about or discussed in school became a reality. And I felt like this activity really gave us the chance to connect on a more personal level.
All that from a little farm on Jamestown.
For more information, go here.