It was mid morning at a small town in New York, just over the Vermont border, locals whizzed by on their way to work, grabbing their coffee at the corner shop. We waited in the parking lot for a woman from Oregon named Heather, whom we had never met, driving a truck with a livestock trailer in tow. We, as well as others, had entrusted her with our sheep, to provide safe passage as she crossed the United States, providing sheep transport from coast to coast. Heather had driven practically nonstop to make the trip in 5 days time.
We stood with two other Gotland sheep breeders, one from Maine and one from Massachusetts, sharing stories, laughing, and checking phones for any final word from Heather on her arrival time. New England would be Heather’s last stop before heading west again,and it just so happened that Gotland sheep were the focus of her last drop off. While this sleepy little town went about their Tuesday morning workday, we sorted sheep, putting them into their prospective vehicles for their ride to their final destinations.
Heather hands down Gotland lambs from the top layer of her livestock trailer.
Ram lambs are harnessed and carried to ensure no one escapes at this busy intersection.
This ram lamb is on his way to Maine.
This ewe looks a bit wide eyed as she is loaded on our truck for the last leg of her journey.
Once all the sheep were in their proper places, Heather gave us the health certificates for our sheep, and we sent her on her way with some New England treasures, Allagash Beer from Maine and maple syrup from Vermont. I can not think of a better way to start my day!
It has been a good couple of months, gaining ground with some leisurely reading and knitting – nourishing my soul.
Gaining Ground found its way into my hands a couple of months ago. Through its pages, Forrest Pritchard tells of his journey to reclaim his family’s farm. One would think that such a book would most inspire the “farmer wanna-be” or encourage the current farmer who is trying to make a go of it. [read more…]
Merino wool + Gotland curls + Soap & Water = Pillow
Gotland Curls Felted Pillow
This pillow is made by creating a sleeve using a resist during felting. I laid Merino wool on both sides of the resist and then put Gotland curls on top of the wool. I used the deep palm felting tool by Heart Felt Silks to speed the felting process and to maintain the curls. When felted and [read more…]
Through the past 10 years, I have taken felting and fiber art classes from some pretty amazing artists-Robin Russo, Neysa Russo, Jean Gauger, Inge Bauer, Katia Mokeyeva, and Andrea Noeske-Porada. Each of these artists generously opened their studios, knowledge, and lives up to their students. Not only did they share their technical skill, but also that space within themselves that feeds their yearning to create. While in Germany last fall, I took a one day [read more…]
Last week I had the joy of hosting a woman from Canada who wanted a private farm and fiber art retreat. She had been felting for a few months- exploring on her own and discovering the delight in working with wool. She wanted to move her skill to the next level, learning new surface design techniques and the use of resists. Linda traveled a full day to reach our farm to be immersed in sheep, [read more…]
Alaska, our guardian llama, is really an independent soul. Her motto has always been, “Look-but don’t touch.” She prefers to eat her hay and grass without the sheep underfoot and she prefers to lay down and relax away from the flock. Every year, the lambs have to learn how to live with their giant friend and protector. Alaska lets them know their boundaries with a sweep of her long neck, or a low grumbling followed [read more…]
Recently, someone sent me an email asking a question about grazing:
Is it true that when sheep graze a field, they bite down to the nub of the forage and leave nothing left of the grazed plants, and that this was part of the reason for the range wars between cattlemen and shepherds between 1870-1920: the cattle had nothing to eat once the sheep had grazed the field.
Sheep share common eating habits [read more…]
Reporters beware! If you come to our farm in the spring, you just may have trouble getting your work done. A couple of weeks ago, a freelance reporter, Tammy Donroe, visited our farm on a fact finding mission. I began by showing her our Farmhouse Suite that we rent to overnight, farmstay guests. She took notes diligently as I told her about all the awesome people that have come to stay with us, the country [read more…]
I was born and raised in the south where spring ushered in green grass, flowers, and warm weather. Then, I moved to the north, where my preconceived notions of what each season represented was challenged. Vermont spring is a season of contradictions:
warm temperatures-frigid temperatures delightful blue sky-gray snowy sky beautiful daffodils-sad droopy daffodils green fields-white fields open greenhouse-close greenhouse
This week is full of contradictions.
Bright blue sky and warm weather!
Many times I have wished that I was blessed with the ability to design my own knitting patterns. Sometimes, I find it difficult to find just the right pattern for my yarn. Last year, I began searching through patterns on Ravelry for one suitable for my Gotland yarn, and came across Hanna Maciejewska, a knitwear designer in Poland. Hanna incorporates delicate lacework details with simple stockinette stitching. When I contacted her about designing a pattern [read more…]