Fiber Arts Friday – My New Old Girl

What I’ve done today is exclusive to Fiber Arts Friday. Many of you who read my Blog have already met my “New Old Girl” but for those who have not, here she is:


IMG_1277

IMG_1278

I got her last weekend at the Fall Fiber Festival. She is a “Mystery Wheel” with no markings of any kind. We thought it was an Ashford but it doesn’t appear to be. Best guess, it’s around 50 or more years old, in very good condition..of course it needs work, which I have already started. On Sunday it was an effort to make it spin, now I’ve spun a half a bobbin and it’s moving like a dream. It would be nice to get an idea of its maker because it only had one bobbin with it and it could use a couple of smaller parts.

Now for those who do not already know, I paid $60.00 for her! I’m thinking that this will make a nice demonstration wheel in the future. I just love it.

For anyone who is interested in participating click here Fiber Arts Friday to join in.

Fall Fiber Festival & Sheepdog Trials

Yesterday we decided a day off from everything was necessary for mental and physical health. We got up early, took care of the livestock and headed for Montpelier in Orange county, VA, to the Fall Fiber Festival & Sheepdog Trials.

What a beautiful day! We still can’t believe how clear the air was . It was a little cool when we left home but by the time we arrived, it was in the mid 70’s. An added benefit to the trip was the leaves are starting to turn. We took in everything – all 5 large tents with rows of vendors selling everything fiber – beautiful hand dyed silk and wool blend yarns and rovings – there was a lot of yarn. It seemed that the vendors choose to cater more to the hand worker than the spinner.

We passed by the outside tents and went over to the Livestock Exhibit tent. They had a good example of various different fiber producing animals – the Angora Rabbits, Llama and Alpaca were not represented very well in this exhibit but I later found more of them in the outside tents. After looking around we found our friends Magi & Jay from Magi’s Wood Farm, you know, where we just got our Icelandic’s from.

Magi & Me

Magi & Me

She was happy to see me because she had let a child play with her wheel and it wasn’t working. She’s been having a problem with it every since she got it but it was worse. Later in the day, hubby found the same wheel and discovered her problem is incorrect set up. Hopefully the pictures he took of the correct set up will fix her problem.

Hubby wanted to take in the sheep shearing demos and I really did want to check out those outside tens, so I left him. My first stop was the Fleece Sale tent. Lot’s of beauties in there.  I found a CVM Sheep fleece that was really beautiful – when I looked at the price, I came very close to passing out – 2.2 lbs./$102.00. Needless to say that didn’t come home with me.

As I walked by the outside tents – something caught my eye – A spinning wheel! It looked to be very much like an Ashford Traditional but then again..it didn’t. I’m not going to tell you the price yet. This wheel had suffered a child assult on Saturday and it was broken. I got a handful of roving and a chair and set out to fix this cool little wheel. Whatever this child had done to it, I don’t know but it would not spin at all. Hubby came to find me and got involved in the fixing process. An hour later, I walked away with a fixed $60.00 spinning wheel! It is a mystery wheel though. I’ve added a photo, maybe one of you may have an idea about who made it. It does need work but it will spin yarn.

The New Old Wheel

The New Old Wheel

Armed with mystery wheel, we set out for food and Sheepdog Trials. I was a bit disappointed in the food options. In years past there has been lamb chili and fruit plates. Not so this year, so we got a heavy BBQ, set up our chairs and became spectators. The dog trials were great! We stayed to the end and we got lots of photos.

At The Pen - Look real hard..see the green on her shoulder? It's a Parrot!

At The Pen - Look real hard..see the green on her shoulder? It's a Parrot!

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

"Nice Job"

"Nice Job"

This lady works without a crook or a whistle..she's amazing!

This lady works without a crook or a whistle..she's amazing!

"The Shed"

"The Shed"

"The Pen"

"The Pen"

It’s so enjoyable watching a dog work..they take their job seriously. I am so happy we have 7 Border Collies of our own to work with.

We left the event feeling invigorated and hungry. In the town of Orange we went to a restaurant called the Silk Mill Grille. As you may have guessed from the name, it is an old Silk Mill and the place is decorated much of the old salvaged accessories and processing equipment. Had a great meal and we were home by 7:00.

I have a lot of readers that know very little about this side of my life – they know me for the goats and goats milk products. You see fiber and fiber arts is my true passion. Any opportunity I get to do a day like this, I will put all else aside to do it. My only regret – Didn’t go both days!

I’m going to add an events page to my Blog so everyone might have an opportunity to see and possibly attend what’s going on the rest of 2009. Some I will be a vendor..some I will just visit.

Parting comments and a little rant! Please, if you bring your children to events like the Fall Fiber Festival, try to pay attention to what they are doing. One of the wheels that was messed up yesterday is a several thousand dollar wheel. We want everyone to come to these events..especially children, they are the ones who will keep this going in the future but vendors and demonstrators put their life into this and it shouldn’t be destroyed by an adults carelessness of not watching their child. At this event, I saw big pulls of rovings run off with, a driveband ripped right off a spinning wheel, Angora bunnies being plucked through the sides of their cage by uncontrolled little fingers, hand crafted wooden knitting needles being used as swords and a grape snow cone dropped on a beautiful silk scarf. Please bring your children and please be good, aware parents! Rant is done.

Have a wonderful day!

Alpaca Farm Farm Tours and More

It’s a beautiful morning. Grey, rainy and cooler temps. Love it! The late garden seems to be enjoying it too. I will probably can tomatoes this weekend. Those will be most definitely appreciated this winter.

This weekend, all over the country, is National Alpaca’s Farm Tour. Our friends, Lois & Ken Pocock of Shady Nook Alpacas here in Powhatan will be hosting farm visits. Also, our new friends Katy (you know her as Alpaca Farm Girl) & Stephen Spears in Fairhope, AL, will be participating too, so if you’re in their area, be sure to check out their farm.  If you’re looking for something to do or are thinking about starting a small farm, it’s worth the trip out to your local Alpaca farm to see what it’s all about.

I thought in honor of these farm open houses I would share this website dedicated to handspinning. The site covers all fibers for spinning and even video’s. Never hurts to expand your fiber knowledge, even if you have no desire to learn how to spin. Oh, and by the way, if you don’t spin and would like to learn how, I am available to teach you. Did you like how I did that??

Well, I’m off to work. I haven’t milked the goats yet this morning. I thought in celebration of the rain, I’d let them sleep in this morning. Once I’m done with that and have made a batch of soap, I’ll be working on the grant proposal for our new endeavor on the farm. I can’t wait to share this with everyone but not yet. Don’t want to jinx it..don’t cha know.

CSA Update and More

I cannot believe how quickly a week..or two goes by! Each time I blog, I promise to do so more often and the next thing I know it’s been a week or more since my last post. Apparently, having employees is how so many of you farmers/business owners are able to blog constantly. I find that there are simply not enough hours in a minute.

First thing I want to cover is the progress on the fiber processing for the CSA. I talked with the Mill Thursday. All of the blending and carding is complete and they anticipate that spinning will start by month end. The good news, for those who purchased the roving shares, the roving is being shipped this week. That shipment should be in by the end of the week and we will start sorting out the natural shares next week. I will start dying the dyed shares the following week and those should be ready for shipping to our shareholders the last week of August. Our plan is to have a small gathering the last Saturday of this month for roving pickup and for any other shareholders who want to come out for the day. We will have a lot going on for everyone to enjoy and there will be lots of food and drink. For those who wish to come in from out of town, we have reserved our favorite, local B & B for the entire weekend. Email me at breezehillfarm@verizon.net to let me know if you need lodging.

It was pretty exciting to see Breeze Hill Farm listed as the “Featured Producer” this week with Fall Line Farms Co-op. We are so happy with how successful the Co-op has been its first two seasons and look forward to season #3. Check them out, if you aren’t already a member. Several of our drop/pick up points are now carrying our products, so if you forget to order from the Co-op, you can pick up extra items from these these points. Gather carries a complete line of  our wonderful goat’s milk soaps and Cavanna Pasta has a nice sampling of our entire line of goat’s milk products. Weekly we are increasing our outlets for our products and are so happy when we hear from our customers through referrals.

Well, that about covers everything for now. I am off to make another large batch of lavender soap, so I’ll be very relaxed by the end of this day!

The Whole Garden is Finally In

Well we may be picking our last tomatoes and peppers as the first snow falls but our garden is finally in..now it’s time to think about fall planting. It will be interesting to see how well this garden does. If the rains continue to come every 4 or so days and it continues not to be so horribly hot, everything should grow well. Just can’t believe we took this long. Oh well, it’s been really busy here and there just wasn’t enough time to get everything done.

I am trying to get a rather large goat’s milk product order filled and it’s really slow going. Probably because I’m trying to fill other orders at the same time, while dying roving and yarns in between.  Also, I am making myself sit down at the spinning wheel everyday for 1 hour and spin. It’s good for the mental health and I have a custom spun order that I’ve been working on for several months now that is finally getting finished. Usually by this time of year I have completed the 12 items that I spin and knit each year to sell..I don’t even know where my knitting needles are!

All fussing aside, things are really going great. The animals seem to be doing very well, even though Boggie, my 18 year old sheep, gives me a good scare everyday with her “dead sheep lay”..guess she’s practicing or just exercising her Mommie.

 

"Boggie"

"Boggie"

She’s looking good for an 18 year old, we think.

 

 The goat’s are fat, happy, and giving lots of milk, with little to no incident. All is well for today.