Step Back in Time at Kline Creek Farm

One of our favorite springtime activities in the Chicago area is stepping back in time at Kline Creek Farm for their Lamb & Wool Festival. Typically occurring toward the end of April, the 2017 festival will be Saturday, April 22 & Sunday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the farm is also open year-round.

 

 

We first attended the Lamb & Wool Festival when our little one was a toddler — she was in awe as we watched the sheep shearing event and spent time visiting the different animals and their newborn babies at the farm.

Now that she’s older, she still loves seeing the animals but also enjoys the historical aspect of this wonderful DuPage County treasure. Volunteers in period dress teach visitors all about the different day-to-day tasks that the 19th-century farm family & workers would have performed — everything from outdoor & indoor chores, cooking & baking, canning, animal care, gardening, farming & tending the orchards, curing sausages, as well as the ways they would have had fun on the farm with music, crafts, quilting & games.

 

Testing out a pair of stilts – they had lots of games & toys for us to try while we were visiting the farm. Some of the outdoor games that kids played back in the 1890s weren’t all that different from things we still play today.

 

Chasing chickens in the yard near the farmhouse.

 

The farmhouse is open during the festival & docents are there to answer questions & elaborate about farm life. During our last visit, the yummy scent of homemade biscuits & a ham dinner greeted us as we entered the kitchen. In the parlor, we were treated to a lesson in tatting and bobbin lacemaking — we all got a kick out of learning the basics & even having the chance to try it ourselves.

 

One of the farm’s volunteers – she was cooking and baking & it smelled fantastic when we stepped into the old farmhouse!

 

 

 

 

After our fun in the farmhouse, we explored the backyard chicken coop & hung out with Shorthorn and Angus cattle until it was time for the next sheep shearing demonstration. It is always a big hit for those of any age as the farm’s Southdown sheep get their spring haircuts. You can even try your hand at washing and hand-dyeing wool and seeing how it is spun into yarn.

 

Showing off her new look after her haircut – we found it interesting that the sheep made a “purring” noise while they were being sheared – the farmers said that it was a sign that they were enjoying their trim.

 

Rounding out the fun, they have sheep herding demonstrations where you can watch trained border collies do their thing — such fun to watch — and the dog handlers are available to answer questions all about the dogs & the training process.

 

The border collie is out of view, but she got the sheep to head toward us.

 

Even if you can’t make it to the Lamb & Wool Festival, keep Kline Creek Farm on your radar. Part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, they are open year-round & have all sorts of amazing activities throughout the year as well as different programs and camps where kids can spend time helping out as a farmhand as they learn all about historical farming.

 

Helping out with farm chores during our visit – they helped carry veggie scraps to the compost pile.

 

Depending on the time of year, you may see the Percheron work horses working the fields as corn, oats & other grains are planted. Even if they aren’t in the fields during your visit, you can still say hello to these majestic creatures in other areas around the farm.

 

Visiting the horses – they weren’t working the fields during the festival but we were able to hang out with them during snack time.

 

Kline Creek Farm is also known for beekeeping. Volunteers have been keeping bees on the farm since 1984 and have established different educational programs and tours so visitors can learn why honeybees are so important and understand the process of caring for the bees and extracting honey from the hives. Bottles of honey are sold in the farm’s gift shop located in the Timber Ridge Visitor’s Center. Proceeds help support the beekeeping program & other farm activities.

If you are part of a school or scouting group, you can learn about different educational opportunities — there are lots of fun options. Further information can be found here.

If you are local to the area and are interested in becoming a volunteer at Kline Creek Farm, you can check out their site to learn all about the different options for Family & Individual Volunteers — perhaps you would like to help bring history alive to guests at this wonderful living museum!

 

One final shot – the lighting inside one of the farm buildings was gorgeous and I absolutely loved this image in b&w. 🙂

 

Kline Creek Farm is located within the Timber Ridge Forest Preserve at 1N600 County Farm Road, West Chicago, IL 60185.

Happy Adventures!

 

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