Shearing Day Up Ojai Way

Hobnob with alpacas and get up close with a fuzzy rite of spring.

DAY IN THE COUNTRY: If we're ever made President of Field Trips -- we see this as some sort of national office, duly appointed by important people who know that getting out of the classroom and into the field can be highly educational -- we know what policy we'd scrutinize first. It's the whole concept that visits to farms and ranches only happen once for a schoolkid, often around the first or second grade, and then never again. How can this be? We won't knock any field trip a city kid takes, but getting out into the country and learning about agriculture and animals and where our food comes from and where practically our everything comes from is essential knowledge. If you're already a farm kid, you know, but this single-field-trip deal is not enough. That's why we're major endorsers of field-tripping as adults to all of the places you wish you'd gone as a student: bee-keeps and dairies and, yep, places dedicated solely to beasties. There's one in Ojai that is especially awww-enducing and it is open to visitors. Bet you can guess who lives there from the name: El Paca Pastures. And El Paca Pastures just happens to have the perfect field-trippy day just ahead: The Shearing Festival.

HAIRCUT TIME: Yep, that's how the people of the ranch describe it, and it is apt. The resident alpacas, all of whom are cutely monikered, are due for their springtime visit to the barber. We're recommending this because a) Ojai b) educational c) alpacas and d) if you or your kidlets have never seen something sheared, in person, it is interesting, and a fine conversation starter about where clothing comes from. Date's Sunday, May 26, cost is five bucks, dogs are not allowed (plus you don't want your pup to get an accidental shave, right?). More educational field trips, we say, and over a person's whole life, not just the first few years.

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