Tucked back in the forest just outside of Nassau you’ll find the farmstead of Sheep in Wool Clothing, run by Dana Salazar and her daughter Emma Salazar Blake, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School Class of 2015. The farm is home to a flock of Swedish Gotland sheep, and Dana and Emma spin their wool into yarn or sell as raw fleece.
We recently reconnected with the Salazars when Indigo Ocean, an alumni parent and program manager at Hawthorne Valley Place Based Learning Center, was looking to purchase sheep for the children’s program.
“Our veterinarian strongly recommended reaching out to Dana because she took the best care of her sheep, and they were all so healthy and friendly, which is just what we need for the program,” Indigo says (and you can now visit Bramble, Juniper, and Strawberry in the Place Based play yard).
Dana runs a law practice, and has found over the years that working with animals provides some balance to the formality and inside-based work of attorneys. “With sheep and other animals, you have to get outside at least twice a day,” she says. “I find that very calming and centering.”
Dana raised horses for many years, but about ten years ago began looking for a different agricultural venture. She knew raising goats could be a challenge, and was intrigued by signs she kept seeing for the Sheep & Wool Festival in Duchess County. They went to the Festival that year, and after visiting the Breed Barn, felt drawn towards sheep—specifically the medium-sized Swedish Gotlands who not only connect with her cultural heritage but also have a very sweet nature.
“Sheep are kind of like a cross between a dog and a horse,” Dana says. “They’ll wag their tails and want to be pet, but they also need care similar to horses.”
The first five sheep Dana purchased from a young woman who she met at Sheep & Wool, have since grown to a flock of 45 Gotlands and 2 Merino Romneys, Lulu and Lieutenant (who Emma and her partner took in from his grandmother’s flock) who spend their days running around, begging chin scratches from whoever is around, and relaxing in their beautiful enclosure shaded by the surrounding trees.
Dana and Emma bookend their days with caring for the flock, and handle everything from feedings to midwifing during lambing season, something that Emma says will take more balancing now that she’s graduated with her law degree from Albany Law School and will join her mother’s practice in the fall. They currently sell their wool, fleeces, and some sheepskins and meat, and hope to make rugs from core spun wool as time allows.