CITY, AS A WOOL GROWER, MUST DECIDE A PROBLEM.
Whether to Sell the Wool of the Prospect Park Flock or Exchange It for Live Stock.
SHEPHERD BROWER FIGURING.
He Is Going to Send Half the Flock to Forest Park When Warmer Weather Comes.
Whether to sell the wool that is clipped from the backs of the large flock of Southdowns in Prospect Park, when the sheep are Flock on Prospect Park's Long Meadowsheared early in May, or whether to effect an exchange of the many pounds of wool with some dealer for white peacocks, rare breeds of ducks and fowl, with a view of further beautifying the park land, is a question that Commissioner Brower is giving weighty consideration at the present time. For some years past the latter method has prevailed, the park receiving rare breeds of poultry and water fowl from some dealer in exchange for what wool was sheared from the flock of Southdowns. In this way much more in the way of consideration was received from the wool than if the wool had been sold at public auction.
Of late, however, the flock of sheep has grown so large-nearly a hundred in all-that Park Commissioner Brower is as yet undecided as to whether he will sell or exchange the wool this spring. As a general proposition, it may be said that the officials of neither Central nor Prospect Park like to dispose of the wool that comes from the sheep in their care at public auction. The reason is that the money derived from such sale must go into the sinking fund. If the wool were exchanged for some ornamental birds, such as peacocks, wild ducks and others of the feathered tribe, a better return is had from the wool and as a consequence the park is further beautified.
With the advent of warm weather, it is expected that the large flock of sheep at Prospect Park will be still further increased by the addition of some score or more of lambs. The lambs will he allowed to remain with the ewes for some time. When they reach the required size, so as to be able to roam the meadowland untrammeled by the fostering care of the mother ewes of the flock, then may some of them be sold.
A few years ago a few sheep and lambs were sold by the Department of Parks to a meat dealer in this borough. In exchange, he gave the park a choice lot of rare fowl, ducks, guinea hens and other species. Then for over a month he advertised that he had Prospect Park sheep on sale. His profits, it is said, were large. All of the sheep sold as such were not, however, Southdowns or from the Prospect Park flock, the buying public did not know the difference.
Park Commissioner Brower estimated roughly today that from seven to eight pounds of wool could be clipped from nearly every sheep in the flock. With 100 sheep to clip the aggregate weight of fleece secured from the flock would be in the neighborhood of something like 800 pounds. Domestic wool is selling at present in the open market from 24 to 26 cents per pound. The wool from the flock of Southdowns being of the best quality would, in all probability, bring the highest market price. Eight hundred pounds at 26 cents would bring the aggregate amount of proceeds from its sale up to $208.
This would not be all profit, however. There are no official sheep shearer on the pay rolls of the Brooklyn Department of Parks. A novice at hooking and shearing sheep would make poor work of the shearing. The sheep would look, when a novice had finished his work, as if someone had gone over them with a dull lawn mower. Hence, experienced sheep shearers have to be hired to shear the big flock. These men know their business and shear the Southdowns scientifically and in a short time. They are paid about $2 a day for their services.
After the flock of Southdowns have been sheared this spring, at least one-half of the flock will be sent out to Forest Park, where they will be allowed to browse in the grassy forest glades and will aid materially in thinning out the now heavy and almost impenetrable underbrush.
Park Commissioner Brower is thinking these days how best to improve the parks under his jurisdiction. He desires a white peacock and a white pea hen for Prospect Park and he thinks he is pretty sure of getting the two fowls this spring. The white peacocks are beautiful birds, the brilliant blue plumage of the ordinary peacocks showing a soft, creamy white when the birds spread out their fan shaped tails.
Yesterday Park Commissioner Brower and John De Wolf, the landscape gardener, went out to Highland Park, in the Twenty-sixth Ward. It was decided to begin improving the park just as soon as warm weather arrives. Much work is to be done there for benefit of Twenty-sixth Ward residents, who, for the most part, spend much time within the grounds. It is a popular recreation ground in that section of the borough.
On the brow of the hill in Highland Park, a rustic arbor will be built. On the path leading to the hilltop, there will be a number of rustic arbors and benches, built of red cedar. A monster flowerbed will be laid out where the road forks to the west and south of the reservoir a road branching off to the north and then to the west will be made. It will, according to Park Commissioner Brower, be a quaint and picturesque driveway when completed. Although no appropriation could be secured for the contemplated improvements in Highland Park, they will nevertheless be made this spring. The money to be paid for the work will be taken out of the maintenance fund. The roadways in the park will be sodded and graded at each side.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle - March 25, 1901
Imagine how much money the department of parks could save on gas for lawnmowers, as well as, salaries for the operators. As an added bonus, there would be free fertilizer for urban gardens.