Archive for May, 2009

Catching up…

May 22, 2009

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever “catch up”…I’ve spent time all week putting up pasture fences, trying to find the best way to put them up so the sheep can be transferred easily from one pasture to another.  The pigs are growing, and I need to put up some electronetting in the ram pen where they are, so they can get used to that fencing, before I put them out on pasture.  The chickens are off my garden and in their “chicken village” for the season.

This weekend is the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival, in Cummington, Mass.  Sue and I will stay the weekend, rather than drive back and forth the two hours each day.  John is home working on my office/sewing room.  Everything from that room is in boxes strewn all over the house.  The furniture is on the porch.  Hopefully, by the time I get back, it will be ready to put back together again.

Next weekend is Dottie’s and my yard/perennial sale.  I have about 100 perennials to pot and take down to her place, and I have to get the yard sale stuff organized, priced, and transported there as well.  But first, this weekend, south to Mass. with a car full of fleeces, tables, cloths, yarn, and roving.

Joyce stopped by today with a ton and a half (maybe slight exaggeration) of bagged spinach past it’s sell by date, but not it’s use by date, for the animals.  Well, I blanched and froze quite a lot of it for us.  And gave some to Dottie.  The rest the animals will get.

I can’t believe it’s only three weeks til we leave for Ireland and the UK.  The final papers have come, tickets and such; I’ve reserved ferry space for the trip to the Aran Islands, located a yarn shop in Yorkshire that has Wensleydale fleece and yarn, and a promise to take me to see some sheep of that breed.  The cell phone is ordered (in case there is some sort of emergency relative to John’s mother), the Dartmouth coach tickets to Logan are with our passports upstairs.  I’ve started getting clothes ready and packed, one outfit at a time.  Farm sitters will be here Friday just about the time we are scheduled to leave.

And as if there weren’t enough to do, Jamie from some telephone wire installing place is coming back on Tuesday to pull new telephone wires up onto the poles…which means through our ram pasture, so I have to catch up the rams, and lock them in the old goose pen so they don’t bother or attack the guys doing the work.  They aren’t usually aggressive, but I don’t want to take that chance.  So, early Tuesday a.m. they will be enticed with grain into the small enclosure where they’ll stay until the guys are finished, hopefully by noon.

The Onondaga Viburnum, one of my favorites, is in bud.  When it opens, I”ll try to get a photo.  It is very striking.  The Hawthorne’s pink blossoms are half opened, and will be in full bloom by Sunday or Monday.  My garden needs to be planted this week.  And next week, I have some lambs to deliver to a friend who is using them for lawnmowers for the summer, and for eating in the fall.

A busy life for sure…Have a great Memorial Day weekend.


Recovering Festaholic

May 12, 2009

Well, the festival is over for another year…and all the stuff has been packed up, hauled home, and yesterday, hauled back to Sue’s store.  I sold many fleeces and some other things.  It was a reasonably successful day financially on Saturday;  Sunday was not very lucrative.  Mostly Sunday was people out to the fair, not fiberholics…

There were some great fleeces there. Two I was particularly impressed by.  One was a romney, from a sheep belonging to a 4Her, a beautiful silver grey…but I didn’t have $70!  The other was a 3/4 blue face leicester-1/4 cormo fleece, the most incredible thing, like ringlets, long stapled, very clean, priced for doll makers at $156 for 4 lb. and some oz.  I didn’t have $156 either!

The New Hampshire festival is always good because it’s the first big one in New England since fall, which means catching up with people you only see at fairs.  Some had good winters, one had a very sad winter, having to put her parents in a nursing home, losing a daughter to cancer, having to quit her job to nurse her daughter for several months…very sad.

There was the usual assortment of serious fleece people, serious sheep people, bargain hunters, people with no intention of buying anything, but who fingered all the fleece and pulled it apart.  It reminded me of my favorite retailing story…friend, Donna, taking a break from nursing, many years ago, worked in the fabric department of a big store.  Along with the bolts of fabric were two big table of neatly folded pieces of fabric.  Every morning, Donna came in and made sure the fabric was neatly stacked.  ONe morning a woman came in, picked up one length of fabric, held it up, and then dropped it on the floor.  After doing this with about 10 pieces of fabric, Donna was getting a little irritated, as was her co-worker.  After a few more, Donna went over to the woman and said, “Let me help you,” and with her arm, pushed the whole table full of fabric to the floor.  I wish I had been there to see the look on the customer’s face…I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Sometimes I’m tempted to do the same thing when people mess up stuff in my booth with no regard for the work that goes into it or the need to NOT pull apart an entire fleece just for experience, with no intention to buy.

Back home to find my stupid husband had two ticks on him since Friday, and not bothering to put on his glasses to check out his “black fly bites” only asked me on Sunday to check them out…Long story short, he’s on antibiotics, they were deer ticks.  I suggested to him that it was time to visit his eye doc when he couldn’t tell a tick from coagulated blood.  Hopefully, he got the antibiotics in him in time to prevent lyme disease…GRRR!!! Now, of course, he’s a tick-nut…this morning he had a little bump on his face for me to check…an issue perhaps for his dermatologist next week, but not a tick.

I still have not begun digging plants for our annual plant sale, but it has blessedly been put off a week, as Dottie has a wedding on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend…So, we’ll do it the following week. Which is wonderful, since I have the Mass. Sheep festival on Memorial Day weekend each year, and can’t help her on Saturday. This way I can be there the whole two days.  And perhaps, since a nearby town has had a town wide Memorial Day sale the last few years, which has cut down on our traffic, having it the following week would be better anyway.  So, I have another week to dig.

This week I have two major chores: empty my “office” (sewing room?) of everything so John can paint, stain, varnish it in the next week to 10 days, And spread the fertilizer around the pasture…I’ve started emptying the room.  I have 8 boxes of stuff, and have only emptied one cabinet…argh…it’s going to be a major deal, I think.  The fertilizing will wait til later in the week.  While he’s staining and varnishing, I will have to make myself scarce, since that stuff gives me violent headaches and intestinal difficulties.  Allergies are such fun.

We heard from HomeAtFirst yesterday.  They are processing our papers and about to send out our airline tickets, etc.  The farm sitters are all set to come.  We leave June 12th for a week in Tipperary, Ireland and a week after that in Yorkshire.  WE are both looking forward to it; I’ve been planning it for months, with lots of options for each day, depending on how well recovered my knee is, etc.  I still have ferry reservations (waiting for them to get back to me) to make, and he still has Dartmouth Coach tickets to buy to get us to Boston, and I want the house all clean and orderly before the farm sitters arrive.  Lizzie will be staying with neighbors she knows real well; I think that will be better for her.  She knows the farm sitters a little, but…they will have enough to do with the animals and gardens and such.

I had debated bringing my computer and doing a trip travelogue, but I think that’s just one more thing to worry about and a pad and pencil are lighter, so I think I won’t bring the computer.

Time to load up some boxes…have a great week.

It’s that time again: NH Sheep and Wool!

May 8, 2009

It’s been a busy week: the grass is up but growing slowly, so the sheep need new pastures every two days, which means I’m putting up new fencing every two days.  (The downside of not having permanent fencing!)  I’ve been knitting socks like there’s no tomorrow, so there’ll be samples of all the sock yarns we are bringing to the festival, and so I’ll have something to sell…The raw fleeces have all been weighed and labelled and packed in the car. Photos of the sheep whose fleeces are for sale have been taken and printed, to put with the fleeces.  Business cards have been made.  The truck is packed. (At least the FRONT part, where my stuff goes.  The back still needs sweeping out: that’s where we put the tables and equipment and stuff from Sue’s store.)  I still have some rovings balls to label, grain store and food shopping to do this morning, and finishing one more last sock, one made from some new stuff: wool, bamboo, and silk…

This morning I put the boys on pasture, and transferred the piglets from the winter chicken coop to the ram pen, where they have light and air and lots of dirt and hay to root through in search of fermented corn left unintentionally by the rams all winter.  They will stay there for a couple of weeks, and hopefully ready that area for squash planting.  They will also acclimate to electric fencing, which I’ll put inside the cattle panels next week and power up, so that in a few weeks, when it’s time for pasture, they know that they need to stay within the fence.

So, if you are wanting a really neat fiber experience this weekend, why not meander down to Contoocook, N.H., to the state fairgrounds (right off exit 7 of I-89) and “come to the fair”.  The lamb sausages are great.  There’s always fried dough. (My personal favorite.)  There’ll be sheep galore, border collie demos by David Kenard, who is great with his wonderful dogs.  132 vendors or thereabouts…fleece, washed, raw, processed, yarn, rovings, batts, sheepskins, oh, and those alpacas and llamas, which I am allergic to and stay away from, but which others are really thrilled with…and angora rabbits and angora goats, and …demos, a fleece auction, you name it…there are people who make this their Mother’s Day celebration each year, much more fun than going out to brunch at the La-de-da Inn…If you go, look for me and look for Sue at the Hodge Podge Fibers booth in one of the buildings, whose number I don’t know (rats!), but you can find us in the great booklet you will receive at the gate.  Introduce yourselves.

Okay, off to the grain store…have a great weekend, and remember all the women who’ve mothered you (in good ways?) throughout your life this weekend.