Zoo curators raise sheep for their fiber in Dennison

Dennison Farm
Dean Treangen and Diana Weinhardt-Treangen have lived on their 50-acre Dennison called Harvest Hill Acres for two years. Here, in the back pasture, they're surrounded by a flock of ewes looking for a treat. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia

DENNISON, Minn. -- You would think that after working with animals all day, the last thing you’d want to do is work with them once you get home.

At Harvest Hill Acres farm , the owners do just that. Dean Treangen and Diana Weinhardt-Treangen own the farm that specializes in raising sheep.

When they aren’t home watching over their flock, they’re working at the Minnesota Zoo as curators. Dean oversees the farm exhibit and Diana oversees the Northern Trail, which is home to tigers, bears, bison and other large animals.

Although the farm is more of Diana’s baby, that doesn’t stop Dean from helping as a glorified farmhand. Diana said Dean is “a great husband who goes along with all my crazy ideas.”

The couple have been raising 50 sheep, two llamas, rescue cats and dogs, and one inherited bunny on the farm for two years.

The idea of owning a yarn shop was always appealing to Diana. An avid knitter who jokes that she doesn’t have time to knit any more because of all the time she spends with her sheep, the couple added a shop on one of their barn. Every month they host a "knit night," when anyone who loves knitting can come and hang out.

The reason Diana wanted to raise sheep in the first place was to take advantage of the fiber. At Harvest Hill Acres, they blend their CVM Romeldale fiber with that of bison, yak, camel, llama and angora rabbits.

They keep the yarn natural, staying away from dyes. Diana said they’ve considered taking multiple sheep fiber colors and making a yarn twist or trying a special blend of family lineage with a father, mother and lamb.

“I haven’t finished that yet,” Diana said. “It’s just an idea when you’re raking up sheep poo out in the field.”

Harvest Hill Acres was a stop on the North Star Farm Tour, which featured 20 farms specializing in fiber animals, in September.

Educating people about their farming niche is good, “because if you think it’s like having a dog, it’s not,” Diane said.

Dean said it doesn’t hurt to win the lottery either.

For more information on Harvest Hill Acres, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HarvestHillAcres/

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