Archive for September, 2007


September 29, 2007

I’m still typing with one finger, which drives me mad, it’s so slow going, but I thought an update might be in order!

my lovely black and blue, with liver colored raccoon marked face is almosy back to normal, so I fear I won’t be able to use it to scare young children (and squeamish adults) on Halloween this year!  Oh, well…it’s actually nice not to have my grandkids look at me as if someone let Godzilla in the room!  I had surgery on the smashed wrist on Monday.  The 24 hours after the nerve block wore off were interesting, but here it is, five days later, and though it still aches, most of it is easily controlled by tylenol…so you know it can’t be all that bad!  Mostly I’m bored at this point!  The number of things one takes for granted which require two hands is remarkable.  And I’m eagerly awating Tuesday, and first post op visit, for my half splint is beginning to get that lovely no shower dirty socks smell!

Right now I’m awaiting Lucas, in the hopes he can catch the four shetland ewes I need to deliver to a customer…more things impossibe with one arm in a sling!  Yesterday, I actually dug up some gladioli bulbs, one handed.  My back was not happy about that last night!   Onward and upward. The weather has turned cool and there is widespread heavy frost predicted for tonight.  We may even need to turn on the heat!  Have a great weekend, wherever you are!



September 18, 2007

okay, this is one fingered, not my strong suit, so it will be quick:  Tues am sometime around 2:30 (I’m told, no memory…) I fell down a flight of stairs; broken wrist, multiple facial fractures, blood,   bruises, aches, pains.  Today I see ortho to determine when they’ll do surgery.  Other than that, sleeping a lot though less and less each day.  Not dead, not paralyzed for life, this I can deal with…and hopefully,. when they take off this 4900 pound splint, I’ll soon be able to knit.  See y’all later!

Full heart and achy, breaky back: the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival

September 11, 2007

Well, it’s over. I’m home. Today I feel great. Yesterday I was aching all over. Didn’t do a thing but rest and groan.

I left here Friday morning at 8 a.m. with a truck full of sheep and the cab stuffed full of wool, John following in the Matrix stuffed to the gills with tables, knitted goods, cooler, mattress, clothes, you name it: everything I’d need to camp out for two nights, feed myself and others for three days, take care of the six sheep, and set up for the sales booth, most of the products of which would follow a couple of hours later with Sue and Tom from HodgePodge Yarns and Fibers, Sue being my partner in crime!

John and I measured, set up, and labelled sheep and goat pens and sales booth spaces and were finished by noon, when people started to arrive. He helped unload our vehicles, then went home with the truck. I helped people unload all afternoon and admired the great variety of sheep and goats. We had lots this year, though there’s still room for more…each year, I make the goal a little higher. Here are my girls, complaining because I’m not giving them grain, nor paying attention to them.


By the end of the show, Anneke (first on left) was demoted to pet or meat, because of her loose lateral horns; Caroline had friendlied up (next in line) to the point that I decided to keep her, Pollywog (previously sold) was picked up and two ram lambs also sold (yes! Thank you, Brandon!), and Sue decided she wanted Miryam, whose head is kind of missing from the photo.

We had a few new breeds this year, ones I’d not ever seen at the show. Alex Garven brought some lovely merinos, and sold two, I believe:


And Maria Germano brought some Tennessee Fainting goats, used primarily for meat, she said. They were a big hit.


And then there were the Wensleydales. Virginia S. (Papers still in the car, and it’s raining! of Yellow Farm in N.Y. (who came with her friend, CeCe and CeCe’s two brawny jacob ram lambs, born in January and twice the size of mine!) explained that there are no 100% Wensleydales in this country, but they have taken various approved ewes, and bred them with Wensleydale semen (Artificial insemination), and have bred up this way, so that now there are some 87% and some in the low 90’s %ages, I think she said. They were remarkable, with their long lustrous locks.


We had great crowds, but my favorite times were after the people left, chatting with the shepherds, and then, when the shepherds left, just Elaine Clark and I, changing water for the sheep and goats, feeding out hay, and then settling down for a good chat ourselves about our grandkids, life in general, sheep, chickens, sheep, other shepherds, sheep, yarn, spinning, sheep, …you get the point?! Here’s Marian White (on right) who now runs the Tunbridge Wool Works (or is it Woolworks?) where she carefully washes and cards fleece (and having navajo churros herself is familiar with long stapled fleeces, always a plus!) and has a felting machine, with which she makes beautiful felted rugs. (Or you can rent time on the machine and she’ll show you how to do it yourself…) talking with Cheryl White, who has beautiful icelandics, including Harry, a two year old grey, polled ram who is spectacular, I think. I kept trying to come up with a reason to buy him…but reason won out. What would I do with an icelandic ram anyway? Spending that much money just to have him out there looking beautiful didn’t seem at all reasonable. See, sometimes, I CAN be reasonable. This photo was snapped after everyone left for the day on Saturday…or was it Saturday morning before people arrived. The whole weekend is a big blur at this point.


Hmm…I never did get around to the other buildings and take photos of the camelids, or all the sales booths…and they had such lovely things for sale, too.

I love the Vermont show. It’s not nearly as big as the N.H. show on Mother’s Day weekend, nor as close to N.Y. and Boston as the Massachusetts show in Cummington on Memorial Day weekend, but there is a cameraderie there and a sense of community that I don’t find as strong at the other big shows. Maybe it’s just me. There were crowds, but not so many people that there’s pushing and shoving and waiting on line and intense noise all the time. It’s a place where at lunchtime, I bring stew around to the other vendors in the animal barn, and they bring donuts and cakes and fruit to donate to our community food table. It’s a show where we celebrate the joys of our lives and commisserate with each other over the sadnesses. Maybe it’s not like that in the other buildings, I don’t know…I seldom get much time or have much energy left to go “shopping” though I do notice what stuff looks like as I run through to pick up this or that or get more gates or report some problem..and as usual, everything there looks high quality, the vendors all seem happy and smiling (and this year, with Saturday at 90 degrees and humid, and Sunday 60 and raining, there was reason to be a little off!), customers seem happy and relaxed, the dog demos and llama obstacle course draw their crowds, as do the shearing, spinning, and other demos, the classes are full…it’s a wonderful event, all around. I’m proud to be part of it. But, I’m oh, so glad to be back home, sleeping in my own bed, instead of on a crib mattress in the back of my Matrix, and not be aching any more. I’ll be rested up and ready to go on Thursday morning when I load up the sheep and head off to the Tunbridge World’s Fair to demo spinning and talk about my remarkable sheep there on Thursday and Sunday…(and who knows, maybe I’ll be having so much fun, I’ll want to go up on Friday and Saturday, as well.) Hope to see you next year at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, or the Tunbridge World’s Fair, a trip and a half!

By the way, it’s still raining, and the grass is turning bright green and growing before my eyes, which is good since we were almost out of pasture. While at the Festival, I started a new sweater, but there’s nothing to show but some brown heather stockingette stitches at this point, so I’ll skip it. More later.

Scarlett O’Hatters

September 11, 2007

Okay, so it’s cutsey! I love Red Hats. I mean, where else do you get to dress up in outrageous clothes and meet with older women of three generations: we are 50-91, and we have a blast, going out to lunch, picnicking in one another’s yards, doing cultural things, singing, reading poetry…whatever comes to mind. Here are some of us at Lois’, at our annual planning meeting and picnicking. (I have to say, we spent a great deal more time picnicking than planning, but we got done what we needed to: a skeleton schedule for the year. We don’t work like other Red Hat groups with a queen who plans everything. We do have a Queen Mother, Gertrude Brown, who got us all together and started us going, and who continues to inspire us…and there’s her sidekick, Maxine, also pushing 90, if not there already, who is more creative than the rest of us put together I think…well, maybe not: there’s a lot of talent and creativity among these women. But we take turns being queen (queen for a day?): the one who does the work to make a day happen is queen. We don’t bow or give her a sceptor or anything…we tend to be more egalitarian. Besides, we’re too busy laughing.


That’s Joanne, Maria, Barbara, and Dottie, greeting each other at Lois’.


The other thing besides laughing we do well: eating!


And here they are, the Queen Mother, Gertrude, and I guess Maxine is Princess Royal.

What a gang!


September 1, 2007


Well, I had to take out  parts of it several times…not paying attention…BUT, aside from that, it’s finished. I haven’t washed it and blocked it yet, nor woven in all the ends, but that’s just minor details, right? I loved making it and may make another…This one is the Byrne pattern (yet one more sucker in the giant rip-off to make people think these really ARE family patterns, but hey, it’s fun anyway.) Now, I need to order the Conway pattern. And some more yarn, perhaps grey this time; it will make a good winter project for those dark snowy nights with the woodstove heating the cozy cabin. For now, it’s one week to the VERMONT SHEEP AND WOOL FESTIVAL, so in addition to getting the lambs ready to go, I need to finish up a couple of projects that were stopped midstream to work on the sweater, do some cooking so there’s casseroles (a la slow cooker) for people to eat who’ve brought their animals (though I understand we’ve got the GOOD food vendor this year!) and the tomatoes have started to come in, so I’ve got to begin the long and arduous task of canning a ton and a half of them. (Well, maybe only 50 quarts…) AND, it’s Labor Day Weekend, a big one for yard sales, and though yard sales are not normally part of my weekend recreation, I do need more “feeding sleds” (cheaper than feeding dishes you buy in the grain store, you can generally find used plastic sleds for $1 at yard sales.), so I’m heading out in a few minutes with the newspaper, decorated with circles around 7 or 8 ads for yard sales. That ought to take the morning…that leaves the afternoon for nap, tomatoes, and then getting ready to go out to dinner to Three Tomatoes with Ian and Barbara. A full day to be sure.

Here’s a useful hint, maybe: our across the street and down the road neighbors went away for a week during a heat and humidity spell a couple of weeks ago. While they were gone, their hot water heater “exploded” and made their whole house a hotbed for growing mold. They cannot get back into their home until at least the end of September, IF they can actually get rid of the mold. Everything in the house has to be treated…and then there’s behind the walls. I think maybe I’d consider having the fire department come, burn down the house, and start over. It might even be cheaper for the insurance company that way! Okay, I guess the lesson is (which never would have dawned on me!, if you’re going away even for a few days, it might make sense to turn off your water heater!

Off to yard sales. Geronimo! Or Cauabunga! Or Towanda! Whatever…