News & Events
WINTER SLEIGH RIDES
Begins Saturday, December 21 and runs until March 30; 11am, 12:15pm, and 1:30pm.
The sweetheart sleigh is a sleigh built for two! Over the course of an hour, you will tour around the wintry landscape of the farm and forest. This sleigh runs on Saturdays and Sundays. Registration required; please call at least 24 hours in advance to book.
By Request through March 30.
Go for a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the farm. Groups are welcome to rent the 12 person sleigh, or we will try to accommodate smaller groups together. The group sleigh can be booked ahead of time for another date; Registration required; please call at least 24 hours in advance to book.
Cost: $15/adult, $12/child 2-12 years, and under age 2 are FREE.
*Please note, registration allows our Visitor Center to inform you the morning of your sleigh ride if the snow or weather conditions will permit sleighs to operate that day.
SOCIAL KNITTING CIRCLE: March 15, 1pm - 4pm
Join fellow knitters for a social knitting club. All skill levels welcome. Ideal for those who want to get started on a project, continue a project or have a question and need advice. Just show up! Open to all ages. Meets at the Joy Green Visitor Center.
2014 Dates: April 19
MAPLE CELEBRATION & PANCAKE BREAKFAST
Saturday & Sunday, March 22 & 23, 10am - 2pm
The Maple Celebration and Pancake Breakfast has been a part of Merck Forest for just under a decade now. This year it returns at the end of winter with all of its usual sweet appeal. Annual visitors to the breakfast know they can expect a delicious spread of pancakes, eggs, Merck's sizzling pork breakfast sausage, hot coffee, juice, and, of course, Merck Forest's house-made Vermont-certified organic maple syrup.
The celebration boasts other happenings as well. A variety of children's activities will be held, a tree tapping demonstration, and tours of the sap house will be offered this year. There may even be newborn lambs in the barn! Wagon or sleigh rides will convey visitors from the parking lot to the sap house. Please, call the Visitor Center for more information or to volunteer for the event!
Cost: $10/adult, $5/child 4 - 12, under age four are free!
VERMONT SHEEP SHEARING SCHOOL
April 26th, 8:30am - 3pm - Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT
April 27th, 8:30am - 3pm - Merck Forest and Farm Center, Rupert, VT
The Vermont Sheep and Goat Breeders Association will sponsor two Vermont Sheep Shearing Schools this year: April 26th at Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT and April 27th at Merck Forest and Farm Center, Rupert, VT. These are beginner and intermediate sheep shearing schools. Participants will have a hands-on experience shearing sheep with the guidance of professional shearers. All aspects of shearing will be discussed including shearing day preparations, equipment set up and basic maintenance, fitness, the shearing pattern, sheep handling and control and basic wool handling. We will also go over the angora goat pattern and some of the special techniques associated with shearing goats. Participants will receive an ASI shearing binder that covers all the course work and has a wealth of additional pertinent information. Also, this year we will give instruction for shepherds on how to crutch and deal with fly strike. Even if you are not interested in shearing sheep for a living the course will offer valuable information to the shepherd regarding the process and the equipment.
Participants should have their own equipment. Oster Shearmasters or equivalent electric machines are ideal. There will be a limited number of loaners available for the day. We will also have a sharpening wheel available for combs and cutters. As always there will be lunch time entertainment by The Ruminators. We will supply coffee and bagels, participants should bring a bag lunch.
The lead instructor will again be our own "Old Shepherd", Chet Parsons. The course is also open for auditing without the actual shearing. The cost for the complete course at either location is $125.00. For auditors the cost is $50. The VSGBA offers one scholarship a year for young shearers (The Dan Korngeibel Scholarship). Schools start at 8:30am and usually wind up around 3pm (or when all the sheep are sheared). We have limited openings this year so register early.
To register or for more information call 802-483-2463 or email Jim McRae at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost: $125 - complete course fee at either location / $50 - complete course fee for auditors
FAMILY FUN FARM CHORES
Saturdays, April 19 to June 14, 2pm - 4 pm
Put your boots on, and grab your camera. Join Merck staff for afternoon farm chores. Peek in the nest boxes to see if you can spot some eggs; you'll learn how wash to eggs you do collect. Have you ever fed pigs, or given water to sheep? How about harnessing and moving horses to pasture? Farm Chores gives families the chance to learn about the farm routine and the animals-it's a great interactive experience. Groups are limited to ten people. Call 802.394.7836 to sign up!