Sunday, December 20, 2009

The To-Dos

When I was in high school I used to have to drive over an hour to enjoy a decent book store. And each month I would make the trek just to spend a few hours in the magazine section oooing and ahhing at the art magazines. Fresh brightly colored works adorned the pages and one talented artist's masterpiece ended up on the cover. I imagined how proud they must have been.

My favorite magazine was one called Southwest Art. I would eagerly await each new issue and literally drool over the pages as I turned them. I was swept away by the colors-bright and bold, the subjects -horses and buffalo, the landscapes, the flora and fauna, and the Native Americans in there settings. I was lost in the pages. I can remember looking a a painting of horses where the artist had used blues and yellows in their coats. I remember thinking "I can see that!" ...and I could. I could see the oranges, copper and golds in their black manes. The landscape was bright and brilliant and I wanted to walk into the pages and run in the open plains.

In fact, I had always planned to visit New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Texas, and then life changed and I still have not made it. So maybe in this new year I can make a trip to New Mexico one of my goals. I think Santa Fe would be my first stop. There are several museums and the American Folk Art Marketplace, as well as historical tours and garden tours that I would like to take in. If you visit the website you can enjoy beautiful pictures of the area and see what I mean. Just look at those colors!

Of course the reality here this morning is coming down in big white flakes. The brilliant colors in my life today will come from several brightly dyed dyelots of yarn that need skeining and labels put on, and the fresh fruit and vegetables that I filled my refrigerator with as my double chin is about to be a triple chin from to much holiday feasting.

The sheep sat munching in the snow this morning as Max and I walked out to feed. It is quiet and peaceful when the snow falls, but I am not feeling the love for it this year as I have in previous years. Maybe a walk in the woods will help.

Friday, December 11, 2009

And The Winner Is ....

They day just about got by me when I realized that today is the 15th!

So I pulled out the names of all of the kind folks who have bought calendars so far this year and let my kids pull out two names .... the winners of the 5 skeins of Romney Ridge Farm yarn!

Congratulations to Catherine Chouinard of Massachusetts and Ira Dearing of California!
Ladies, I will do my best to get your yummy yarn in the mail tomorrow!
Yes I know know of these pictures are of yarn ....but aren't these ladies just beautiful?

I am a winner this week as well. My good friend Martha has given me two of her beautiful Romneys least for the winter. I am so happy to have them and I think they are quite happy to be here.
Speaking of being happy, look at Miss Puddin'. She certainly has made herself home here. It is a good thing that my own dogs are so calm and easy going about new members of this family. Max is sharing his favorite "red couch" with little Puddin'.
Looks like to cold air will be back in place for tomorrow. The snow and ice is actually welcome if you ask me. The mud has been just horrible almost like a fall mud season. Now if I can just keep upright while feeding and carrying water buckets!:)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Little Old Ladies

This past week my 88 year old grandmother had her 6th heart attack. She is a tough Maine woman- out living her husband, losing a son to cancer, working into her golden years while raising her family.
She made the best molasses cookies in the whole wide world, her lemon meringue pie was a half a mile high, and her angle food cake made the angels sing. I made the trek to Machias Hospital -5 hours away, to see her expecting it would be my last visit ...two days later they released her. She is one tough cookie.

The day I got home, my good friend and fellow conspirator, Tammy Doughty DVM called wanting me to come a take a look at a little old Doxie that she had just performed surgery on. She was a shelter dog and it seemed such a shame to send her back to the shelter after loosing 15 teeth. So I thought that maybe I could foster her for a few days until she recovered and look for a home for her in the mean time ...yeah right.

Of course I cautiously introduced the her to my gaggle of dogs. Pirate, my own Dachshund, was not super happy about our guest but he warmed up to the idea after he realized that she was eating canned soft and yummy food and that if he looked sad enough Mom would give him some too. I warned the kids not to pick her up or get in her face, but by the end of two days, she was begging to be picked up, loved and cuddled ..she came to the perfect house.
Sometimes you don't have to think about things, they just feel right and make your heart grow bigger like the Grinch's heart when he felt the true meaning of love. I would never have considered taking an older dog into my home for my own selfish reason of not being able to let it go when the time came. But taking this little dog back to the shelter is not an option. So welcome dog #4 - weenie #2 ...welcome Puddin'.
December's Yarn Share is ready for shipping. The colors are perfect for the season. You can order on our website if you like. Yarn Shares being sent a gifts will be wrapped and include a card.
Looking to the week ahead, I will be delivering yarn orders, teaching a needle felting class, working on some rug hooking designs, and hopefully getting my garlic planted. Hopefully mom nature will freeze the ground soon so my sheep can get a break from the mud ...after I plant my garlic.:)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wool Boogers

On the top of my list today was the task of clipping off wool boogers. What are wool boogers you ask? Well, Mike here has a few, little clumps of wool that has become felted little balls due to moisture and agitation. They seem to form around they eyes, the corners of the mouth, and sometimes under the chin. They cause no harm, but when you are known as Handsome Mike, wool boogers on your face are rather unsightly get the idea.

There is no denying he was given the absolute perfect name -Handsome Mike. Just look at his perfect little Romney self. He is shy but not afraid. Sweet like old Joe and different from his brother Angus who is more brave and bold. He is in the "boys" pen with Angus and Junior, Joe and the N.Y. goats. Here he can eat without too much competition and continue to grow. Speaking of the N.Y. goats Here is Silvio. And here is Paulie Walnuts. I spent a little time with them today as well, trimming feet and clipping a few matts from between their front legs. I should have clipped them when I brought them home, but it was cold and rainy and they are such sensitive little creatures. So I'll keep them trimmed up, and wait until spring to get my hands on those beautiful locks.
The UPS man came today and delivered the calendars! I have just finished packaging them up and will be mailing out orders tomorrow. Again ....Handsome Mike is this year's "cover boy" ....isn't he just wonderful?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Tomday! What Have You Done!

Awwwwwwww! Look at my little Tomday! This morning when I was feeding he peeked out of the barn door. He didn't come running down the hill for breakfast, but instead stood and watched. I could not see his hind end, only his front so I figured he was fine, and would come when he was ready.

After getting the two-leggeds out the door and onto the bus, I began my daily ritual of filling up water buckets and general duties. It was then that I noticed my littlest goat hobbling down the hill on three legs. He left rear leg dangling and crooked off to the side. I felt all of the bones, flexed his joints, and felt for swelling. Sure enough, the lower leg was swollen.

A few hours later we were off to see our favorite doctor -Tammy Doughty who X-rayed Tomday's leg. She found his knee cap was out of place and higher then it should be as well as a small fracture. We figured he must have caught his leg and wrenched it as he tried to free himself.

Tonight he is settled in to the barn in a huge stall with his mother. He'll have to stay in for 4 weeks or at least be in the barn as it has to stay dry. Never a dull moment here.:)

Look at my mama hen defending her chicks from the marauding "sheepdragon". I thought for sure that this little hen had fallen victim to the fox. Instead, she had made herself a nest behind the feed bin, and proudly strutted out of the shed with her little clutch. She is quite proud and a great little mama.

The days are getting shorter now and my life is shifting once again. In the summer I work outside early before the heat of the day. In the fall and winter I wait until mid-morning for the sun to warm the earth and dry the ground from overnight frost.

I am still plugging away at fencing the ridge. A few hours here and a few hours there. I keep telling myself there is a reason why I am not wealthy enough to pay someone else to do it. But then I also remind myself that I am healthy enough to carry rolls of fencing and buckets of nails up the hill. And there is no place I would rather be than up on that hill in the afternoon, surrounded my my peaceful sheep munching all around me. It sooths my soul.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Give Away!

While skeining and labeling yarn last night, I noticed that a few random colors I had placed in a basket were the colors of the rainbow. How lovely! How fun they would be to receive in a package in the mail! Imagine opening up a box to find these beautiful colors each one bright and sunny and all looking so perfect together.

Soooo ...I decided that I would enter the names of everyone who buys a calendar before December 15th into a drawing for the yarn! I'll give away two packages of these six skeins of yarn, a pair of bamboo needles, and an extra calendar to the winners.

Winners will be chosen on Dec 15th. Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cool, Crisp ...Ahhhhhh.

Yea for the sun this week. So far adjusting to the time change has been easy and in my favor, I am waking up too soon ( though my body tells me it is 5 a.m. ...the clock says 4 a.m.) but I am enjoying watching the sun creep up over the ridge. The sun has changed course now and in turn, I need to reconfigure my dyeing and drying techniques.

The deck on our house, where I do all of my drying, faces south and in the summer and early fall some afternoons it is unbearable to sit out there. It makes for excellent drying though. Now the sun is lower in the sky and the few hours I do get are far from enough to wisk the moisture from my freshly dyed skeins. Time to adapt and overcome my husband says.

I've been dyeing a few new colors this week. A deep dark blue and a brilliant violet. Both will be added to my website today. They are the same generous 245 yard/4oz skeins ...they are just beautiful pared together. I am also changing the way the monthly yarn share works. Even though I thought it would be fun for members to open up a package, not knowing what was inside, I have had a number of requests from folks to see the colors before they buy, and I can understand that. So, I will put a picture of the monthly share on the very bottom of the page, that way you have a choice in case you do want to keep it a surprise.:)

I am enjoying the cool crisp weather, but I have a few not-so-happy critters waiting at the gate to go up on the hill. My land is posted, but I don't dare let them out. "Big Tall Sheep" may look a bit like a deer ...well maybe not head on.:)Funny how the leaves are released early from the maples and those oaks hang on with all their might against the winds and rains. Some outlast the fall and winter, then finally new buds must push the elderly leaves to their death. I have so much energy at the end of the day, even when I have been up since the crack of dawn. I sat in the doorway of the barn this afternoon and breathed in the fresh, crisp air with Junior. His 5 minute ear massage turned into about a 20 minute ear massage. Unfortunately I forgot my camera in the house, or you would be looking at some great pictures of Mike and Angus playing king of the mountain.

While taking pictures of some new scarves today, I had a little help from L.T. Funny how much help you can get when you just don't need it.:)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2010 Calendar Update ...from a procrastinator

I am a procrastinator. Yep. It is true. I have projects due, deadlines to meet, and yet I can't seem to get out of my own way when I have weeks or even months to accomplish them. I have found that sticky -notes help keep me organised - when I don't misplace them. I write events and schedules down in a calendar, then I forget it at home. I have even begun scheduling things in my cell phone so that it reminds me the day before with a cute little "din-dong" sound.

But you know I figured something out about myself two years ago, and that is that I am at the top of my game and the peak of my creativeness when I work under pressure. I can't even wrap my brain around the end result of my work or how to even begin when I know I have time before it is due.

Take my calendar for example. I guess I have a bit of an excuse with that one, as I need seasonal pictures to fill the pages. I swore I would begin designing it in June ...well I stated it four weeks ago. I took pictures all winter, spring and summer looking for the perfect cover shot. I took that picture of Handsome Mike exactly four weeks ago. And isn't it just perfect!:)

Here are a few preview pages. Joker, my Olde Babydoll Southdown ram looking wintry and woolly.

My precious little Katie from a few days old until age two.

And here is Junior with those long fuzzy ears that some how end up in my hands everyday after he eats. I call them his daily ear massage ...he just loves it.

I signed the proof on Friday so the calendars, documenting a portion of my life that I love to share, are off to the printers. They will be available in early Nov so if you like, hop on my website and order. They usually sell quickly.

My new 3 ply yarn is in and it is just scrumptious! The good folks at Green Mountain Spinnery convinced me to try this method of spinning with the chocolaty yummy brown fleeces I brought them in early summer. It is light weight, lofty, and slightly heathered ....mmmmm mmmmmm good! I have thought of several projects I would like to make with this yarn, but I keep coming back to the Ascutney Mountian Hat & Earwarmer pattern in the new Green Mountian Spinnery book 99YARNS and Counting. I am also in love with Maureen's Cardigan on page 56 ( I love her hair too!!) This yarn is fantastic for cables and patterns, it is a light worsted weight - 258 yards/4 oz skein. Every color I pair it up with looks great! Ahhhh I need to go make something with this yarn !:):)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

OOOPS ...almost forgot! :)

Well, how could I forget! Look who followed me home from New York!!!! Meet Paulie Walnuts and Silvio Dante! Two wether Angoras with Texas lines ...where they grow em' big!:)

I walked by their pen several times in Rhinebeck, thinking what nice firm little bodies they had and beautiful horns trouble since they are wethers ( I convinced myself ) small and easy to bring home ....hmmmmm should I get one or two? Well you can't have just one since one gets left behind, so we loaded them up on Sunday and headed back to Maine with two sheep ( belonging to my friends Chrissy and Regina ) and three goats, my boys and a little doe for my friend Betty.

To answer a few questions about my wall hanging, Joe was completely needlefelted using his cap and face wool from this spring's shearing. His face and ears were felted with Babydoll since it is so full and lofty, to create depth.

Uma's face and ears were knit with hand spun wool/mohair yarn, her curls and horns were needle felted, and her nose and mouth were created with stitching yarn.

Mellow Yellow is needle felted from his own clip and his face and ears are crochet. Martha's face and ears are hooked with hand-spun yarn from her fleece (this picture doesn't do it any justice) and her fleece is needle felted on. The last sheep has a woven face and crochet ears.
I'll try and post better pictures this week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


8 hours of needle felting.

1 hour of applique.

1 hour of rug hooking.

2 hours of sewing.

30 minutes of knitting.

30 minutes of weaving

30 minutes of crocheting.

2 hours of fussing.

5 hours of driving to N.Y.

30 minutes of picking hay off ( after I dropped it in the horse trailer) heads and faces.

5 minutes of walking very fast to building E to make the deadline for entry.

2 seconds of shock and heartbreak from the words " your too late, the competition is closed."

1 minute of disbelief.

1 minute of pleading.

1 kind and understanding judge .....equal one BLUE RIBBON!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

When I signed up for the HarborArts Show in April, of course it never occurred to me that it wouldn't be a bright, sunny, fall weekend to sit overlooking the harbor and spin or knit while shoppers perused my booth. Turns out it was quite the opposite! Saturday began overcast and the clouds loomed in my rear view mirror as I drove up the coast to my destination. Foolishly, I wore my favorite, beat-up pair of Keen shoes with a thin pair of socks, but I layered my upper end with my Joe sweater -had to show that off, and down vest. By noon, the rain began falling, it was a heavy mist for a few hours. Boats cruised in and out of the harbor, and people began raising their umbrellas. But you know ...they kept coming! And my booth the dreary grey weather, glowed with bright colors ...and more people began to walk down the paths and into the hollow where I was set up. And the cold inspired folks to knit! Yarns for sweaters, yarns chosen in coordinated colors up for hats and mittens, yarns for ponchos and scarves and vests! Folks became excited and one lady who said she hadn't knit in years chose enough skeins of the bright Turkey Red to make herself a vest! The energy inside my booth was fantastic!By the end of the day I had finished my Weenie Hat, and began a pair of thrummed fingerless mittens. The visitors had inspired me as well.

On Sunday it was a quieter, slow-paced crowd. Fog and heavy mist slowly gave way to cloudy skies and warmer temperatures. The morning was quieter, and I opened up two sides of my EZ- UP tent and watched the bustle on the docks. You could smell breakfast cooking on the big yachts, and dog-lovers brought their dogs to the park for their morning fun. Yesterday I was back to work on my 2010 Calendar. I finished up last night and will send it off for proofs today. I sat on my computer last night cracking up over some of the pictures I found from years past. This project reminds me each year of how fortunate I am to live the life I live. Whether it is shots of my kids laughing and sledding in the snow, lambs bouncing around the paddock, or dogs chasing each other around the yard. It is a good, good life ...and I am so blessed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Common Ground Fair

Yesterday I took a little "me" time. With the kids loaded on the bus, water troughs full and sheep quietly munching hay, I headed out to the Common Ground Fair. It was such a beautiful drive into the central area of Maine, the leaves are beginning to turn, the sky was deep greys and blues and the wind was moving the clouds across the sky allowing the sun to peek out and cast rays of light on the earth from time to time. I turned off the radio and drove in silence. Ahhhh peace and quiet.

Quite a few of my fellow fiber farmers were vending at the fair this year, I was accepted, but was put on a waiting list. I didn't push the issue though, as I had such a busy year with the wholesale line that I decided to adjust to the demands of that new venture and enjoy one last year of being free to roam around.
I found my friend Polly first by following the smells of Sweet Annie. Polly was busy cutting this incredibly sweet-apple scented plant and hanging it in her booth. She was wearing one of her beautiful Icelandic sweaters, handknit from her Icelandic yarn ...gorgeous! You'll find the nicest hand-made soap around at her farm, Fibah For Ewe, she is a master soap maker! Next I saw Susan Perrine, my weaving friend. Susy was teaching folks how to weave in the Demo Tent. This summer Susy wove some beautiful scarves using two different weights of my yarns. She is an excellent teacher and offers classes for beginners. Don't have a loom? No problem! She can teach you using boxes, sticks ...just about anything! Ohhh and take a look at her Garden Structures on her website, I want her to build several around my property for my sheep!:)
After a cup of hot cider and roaming through the Craft Tent, Rabbit Barn and Poultry Barn I found Betty. She was busy sharing her knowledge of Angora rabbits and how to spin their fiber. Her booth was overflowing with hand-dyed yarns and roving blends for spinning. Across the way I found Louise and Stephen Hessert of Pleasant Valley Farm . Louise was her usual cheerful self, displaying her yummy Romney yarns and rovings.
From there I wandered off to see Robbi - my favorite potter from Maple Lane Pottery. Robbi creates pottery with sheep ( The "Judy Design" I call it as they look like my Judy ), and Belted Galloway cows, and the coolest chicken designs I have ever seen! I spent most of my money at her booth ( Thanks Robbi!!!) which prevented me from going back through the Rabbit Barn and purchasing another Angora rabbit!

Off to look at the beautiful oxen. mules, cows and goats.

These girls made me feel like my butt is not that big.

Please honey ..... can I have one of these?

Wouldn't Romeo love this little girl to play with?
My day ended watching these beauties effortlessly pull thousands of pounds across an arena.

Back to reality! Back to Romney Ridge!