Saturday, October 31, 2009

Quiet at Home

What a treat to stay at home on the weekend. It's cloudy and damp and I'm spinning in front of the TV with dogs and cats all around me. Sure, I've got to tend to critters and clean the house, but for a short while I'll enjoy my colorful fibers and pretend I'm a lady of leisure, not one who has too much to do and not enough time to do it. I carried two Jack O' Lanterns home from school. I'll put them on the wood stove and light them tonight for Halloween. I'm getting ready to send in my entry for the Maryland Sheep and Wool catalogue cover contest. I'm not telling what I'm entering, but I'm optimistic I might get an honorable mention. First prize is $1,000 - wouldn't that be nice. If chosen, the festival owns the artwork and puts it on the catalogue cover along with mugs, sweatshirts and other festival paraphanalia. How cool is that!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flaming Barack

Happy Halloween everybody. With no kids at home, and none expected to trick or treat at the farm, it was wonderful to have little ones visiting my class from the day care wing. We lit our Jack O' Lanterns made the day before, and put them outside the classroom door, to simulate a real front porch. I made our class do school work all morning, but it was interspersed with candy breaks and country music. I love that part of the education field, the way we can celebrate holidays and the cyclical nature of the school year. I even got a surprise grab bag, filled with goodies and a poem, from an anonymous colleague!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Party

We had a fabulous time carving pumpkins in school today. My class really got into it, in a way I had not anticipated. Boys and girls both were totally involved and did a fantastic job. Not that I was really concerned, but these are young adults with adult responsibilities and I wasn't sure they could let themselves go...but they did and we had a ball. Each pumpkin was artsy and unique. One dairy farmer student came up with a Barack Obama Jack O' Lantern that is incredibly realistic. These kids have hidden talents I wish I could tap into more often. We roasted the seeds - hmmmm, delicious - and one student carried plates of the warm, salty, buttery, crunchy snack to the teachers in our wing. The kids will take their pumpkins home tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm Sleepy

Now that it's getting dark early I think my body instinctively wants to hunker down in a cave for the winter. I don't dare go to bed too early or it will be a 4:30 AM morning again for me. I have plenty to do. A teacher at work saw another teacher carrying my Celestial Bag and asked if I had another one. I do but it's in pieces so I promised her I would sew it together. I had several stops to make on the way home; the bank, the vet for cat medicine, and I got pumpkins from my farmer neighbor, Bob Maxim, for my GED class to carve tomorrow. They are gorgeous, big and round, for $4 each. I thought about cooking them afterwards and making pumpkin pies, but I am supposed to teach them and can't take too much time with "fun" things. Fortunately there is a "life skills" component to the curriculum, so we can play a little bit. Bob Maxim has 50 round bales he wants to sell me, dry and beautiful, under a giant tarp. They are first cut, not as good as second cut, but lovely with heads still on. The round bales I purchased, but were never delivered, are down the road, soaked through from the last few days of rain. I don't want them now. For the life of me I will never understand why farmers would spend all the time and fuel money to make round bales and leave them uncovered, but the fields around here are full of them. Sure, there might be some good hay inside but much of it is ruined. "The cows pick through it," they tell me, but why waste all the other parts?Sure wish I had a tractor with a fork to move them around. Better get some chores done 'cause I am fading fast.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Way Too Early

Up at five to get into work early, but now think I could have managed it at 6. I have my morning wake up routine, like drinking coffee, spinning 10 minutes, checking this machine. The dogs don't even want to get up. I have groceries to bring into the classroom and I'm being observed today. Matt is attempting to go back to work after three days of the flu. I'm keeping my distance and haven't come down with it yet...My school seems surprisingly flu-free but I hear it's coming this way. Let's hope reports are exaggerated. A high school closed in Oneonta, a half hour from here. Bad weather should be coming here soon. I dread driving in the snow storms. My new van seems to be heavy and roadworthy, but I'm still getting studded snows. The roads I drive are crazy, with twists and turns and ravines on each side - in a cell phone dead zone!! I can't believe I got myself in this situation, but I did. Deal with it...Better get going...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

I was refreshed after my trip to NJ and a lovely walk with my professor friend, George, through the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown. I was his student in the History Dept. at St. Elizabeth years ago. He is a faithful patron of my farm business and I dropped off soap and creme for his holiday gift giving. The Arboretum is directly behind his house so off we went. I lived in Morristown for almost 20 years but never walked the grounds of this stunning oasis in the city.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Such a Girl!

Mia got up at 5 this morning to work a 12 hour shift at the hospital. She is such an inspiration to me. I left her with a new bag and some yarn to knit scarves for Christmas gifts. Don't know when she'll get to knitting, since she's also working on her MSN several days a week, but the yarn is there when she has a chance to pick up the needles.

Morristown Farmer's Market

As I was leaving Mo'town I noticed the farmer's market was going on. What a treat. Nothing like Jersey tomatoes and all those veggies. There was a fish vendor from the Jersey shore, and some women selling gluten-free baked goods. I bought a few things to take home to NY.

Cute Couple

Andrew and Mia spent the morning with me at WoodsEdge Wools. Andrew is an insurance broker and analyst for Browne and Route. He flies all over the country doing efficiency analysis in regional offices. They want to make a good impression on Andrew so he will give a good report to the home office. They entertain him with ball games, concerts, skiing and camping trips. Nice work if you can get it, huh?

A Lovely Visit

I love going to Mia's place. She and Monika have an adorable, cozy apartment in the land of the Beautiful Blondes. The shower is filled with dozens of bottles of high-end shampoos, body washes and hair conditioners. I put the skeins of handspun I gave Mia on the floor of the bathtub and let those high $$ potions run through the yarn while I swished them around with my feet and shampooed my own hair. Mia made me a luscious, nutritious dinner, organic and whole grain, with white wine, then treated me to a cup of chamomile tea. We looked at magazines then perused the Fabric Guru web site for living room curtain fabrics. The tall windows are lovely during the day but dark and cold at night. We're trying to find something that compliments the wine colored walls and neutral furniture. I love to sew for Mia. I can't pay for her MSN or buy her a house, but she will always have new curtains, shams, bedspreads and slipcovers. We went to bed, watched TV and chatted until we couldn't hold our eyelids open another minute. Sweet dreams...

Rainy Ride to New Jersey

Hustled to load the van in the rain after work on Friday and got myself in bed by 10. The alarm at 2 am came way too soon and I was off to New Jersey. Rained the whole ride. Going back to NJ after a long absence always floods me with memories. I passed the elementary school where we hid under the desks from Kruschev's missiles and so many other landmarks of my life. I pulled into Linda Berry Walker's amazingly beautiful facility right on schedule at 8 and was able to pull my little van right into the event barn. To my delight a group of alpacas and llamas were penned right in front of me. I was surprised to find vendor friends from my area of New York, and some from the Fingerlakes. We had a great time socializing and trading fiber vendor stories about shows we do. Too bad the customers were reluctant to come out in the rain. Patrons had to park in the lower field and take a golf cart up to the event barn. The driver didn't have to make very many trips. Mia and Andrew came to help out and keep me company. We chatted, took pictures, and taught Andrew how to knit! As the morning wore on and traffic was very thin, the young couple left to go to the movies with Andrew's mom. I had a few shoppers come by, but not enough to really make spending another day worthwhile. Sunday historically is half of Saturday intake-wise, and if that held true I would really be doing a LOT of spinning. I decided to spend the night with Mia in Morristown and head home from there. My fiber/vendor friends understood but had to stay themselves as they had motels booked, etc. I packed up again, said my goodbyes, and headed out in the rain. I stopped at Border's in Flemington and picked up a NJ Monthly magazine with a list of the Best Doctors of NJ featured in it, along with my precious British Country Living. I thought Mia and I would have fun gossiping about the docs she works with at MMH. As I was checking out an announcement came over the PA from the National Weather Service warning of a tornado that would touch down in Flemington in ten minutes. People were stunned and just staring at each other. An apocalyptic rain and thunderstorm was going on outside sounding like a freight train on the roof of the store. I decided I would rather take my chances on the road than in a flimsy store. I had my trusty waterproof North Face parka on (yes, it works!) and waded through the group standing in front of the doors watching the storm. Away I drove through the torrential rain. I was almost out of gas and looked for a station that was undercover when I realized I don't have to pump gas in New Jersey!! Fabulous! I asked the attendant if he knew about the tornado and he laughed. I'll go for a ride in it he joked. Ah, the Spanish in NJ. Always laughing! I took off north for Morristown at a good clip but was slowed by flooded roads and three lanes of tailights going slowly. Remember this is NJ! I finally pulled into Morristown which has more investment banking offices, cute restaurants and night spots than it did a year ago. Mia was waiting for me in her apartment and I fortunately found a spot on the street. I got inside with my bags almost dry.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend at Woods Edge Wools

I'm off in the wee hours for the Fall Fiber Festival at Woods Edge Wools Alpaca and Llama Farm on Bowne Road in Stockton, New Jersey. It's raining now and will probably continue through to tomorrow, making my drive rather unpleasant, but I'm going. Mia and Andrew are meeting me at the farm to help me unload and set up, or I might not attempt it. I'm still tired from Rhinebeck last weekend and a long work week, but I want to "make hay while the sun shines" and see some old friends from New Jersey. Linda Berry Walker's new event barn is big, warm, dry and full of talented fiber artists. Sunday's weather promises to be lovely. Hope to see you at the farm!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Round Bale Madness

My dairy farmer neighbor offered me some 2nd cut round bales, 11 of them, for a good price. I said sure thing, since he would deliver them, and hay is on my mind - what else? I paid him last week and have been waiting for delivery. As I've been driving back and forth I noticed a wagon of round bales in his field across the road from the barn. Looked like it might be 11 bales. Oh, crapola, I thought. They are not in the barn, and are exposed to the rain and weather. Now dairy farmers don't have to worry as much as shepherds about the quality of the hay they feed their animals. I know, I know, but what about the milk? You should see what some people feed their cows...nasty, moldy, horrible hay. These bales are not nasty, but I don't want them rained on any more than they already are. I called my neighbor who told me he does not have a tarp and won't be able to deliver them until next week. With a storm blowing in as we were speaking I was getting more disappointed by the minute. Matt came dragging from work, tired, achey and shivering. Oh, no, Swine Flu, I thought. Not yet, but he doesn't look good. Did he have enough strength to help me get a tarp on the round bales? He said he would try. Meanwhile, the wind had really whipped up with some rain, too. I held the flashlight and handed him bungee cords while he tried to pull the huge tarp over the round bales. He looked like Alan Bates trying to save the hay crop while the drunken hired hands and farm owners partied the night away in Far From the Madding Crowd! The bales were much bigger and the tarp smaller than I thought, but I think we saved the three on top from being soaked with water. Matt went straight to bed and I did the rest of the chores. I am fighting to stay awake to hear Jay Leno's monologue then I'll hit the hay, so to speak. I pray tomorrow morning is not nearly as exciting.

The Grass is Always Greener...

The sheep ran away last night. Okay, so I thought I would leave them out to graze all night and lock them up in the morning before I leave for work. But there were not sheep to lock up. Oh, this is not good I thought. Matt drove the truck all over the hillside looking for them in the pre-dawn dark. No sheep. He had to leave for the juvenile prison where he was teaching this week, two hours from here. It was up to me to find them. I rang the bell at the edge of the field. No sheep. I decided to go get dressed for work and drive up the hill to look around. Sure enough, there they were, lying peacefully on the field right in front of the neighbor who called the police when my sheep were eating her grass. They had gone under her electric fence to get to the field, even though they have a perfectly good hill to lie on, with grass still on it. I had left the dogs in the house, bad move, because I had to run across the field waving my arms and yelling at the top of my lungs to scare them into running back across the road and down their own hill. As I was chasing the flock, I spied a group of goats standing off to one side up on the rise of another hill. When they realized I saw them they dashed into the woods on the ridge to hide. Baaaad goaties! When I had my Jeep I could ride all over my land in 4 wheel drive and chase sheep, but I have the mini-van now and don't know how well it would do through the dips and crannies of my hill. What if I got stuck and couldn't get to work? I knew my aide, Robin, was on a field trip today and I had to be there early to get the kids off the bus. I am SO screwed I thought. I rode back down the road along the hill to get the flock in the gate as they ran down, but as I pulled in the driveway I could see they stopped half way down. I ran up the hill as fast as I could, which is not real fast, once again yelling and waving my arms. I think the sheep were amused. I started right for them and they bolted, thankfully in the right direction. Got them locked up in the barnyard and there they stay. I had already shot off emails to Mary and Jan about keeping an eye out for the sheep, and stopped Will, my dairy farmer neighbor, to ask him the same. I didn't have time to let them all know I found the sheep. They all did what I asked and Mary even talked to the neighbors up top. She doesn't think they are calling the police again, and as of 9 PM, no cops yet. They told Mary one of my sheep is living with their cows and has been for the last two years! Very interesting! The weirdness continued when I got to work and I couldn't find my students. They were not on the bus, in fact the bus did not even come. I checked the cafeteria, my classroom, back to the bus stop, back to the cafeteria, back to the classroom (they are at opposite ends of the campus!) A strange substitute who I never saw before was sitting in my classroom, but no kids. It seems there was a disturbance on the bus and the driver decided to take the young miscreants back to the home school (an hour away). I finally had some kids to teach and the Twilight Zone began to dissipate back into reality. I know my colleagues wonder why I fall asleep sometimes in their classes in the afternoon, when the room is hot and dark and a movie is on. I didn't let the sheep out to graze tonight and gave them bales instead. I told them they are on lock down and can't go out to play. Baaad sheep! Baaad sheep!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bunny Love

Nothing brings people in the booth like bunnies. Kim had people picking up a couple of bunnies and we had a chance to play with them before they went to their new homes. I was particularly taken with a little blue-eyed English doe, and seriously thought about bringing her back to the farm, but she was snatched up by a vendor's daughter from Massachusetts. Little kids, dressed in all kinds of cute knitted outfits, came like swarms to the bunnies. I have to pick a name for my new bunny. Maybe Dutchess, from the Dutchess County Fairgrounds? We'll see.

More Rhinebeck Afterthoughts

I'm still tired from the weekend, and my mind keeps wandering back to the show where I had so much fun. Some random thoughts...

Dr. Mark Jordan, a chiropractor turned massage therapist, said he got positive vibes from me and spontaneously gave me a neck and shoulder massage. I was so grateful for the relief he gave me from tight muscles, I sent him home with soap and creme for his family. His wife came back the next day and told me how much fun their kids had playing with the soap fabric. Her husband, the doctor, was going to combine my creme with more oil to use on his massage clients.

A female couple came by and were very chatty and friendly. I noticed one of their bags was a US Army back pack. I asked where she got it and she said she just got back from Iraq. This soldier was just SO happy to be back home, safe and sound, she was brimming over with joy and happiness. Maybe it was fatigue, or nervous exhaustion, but I welled up with tears, thinking about what she had been through and what could have happened to her, and embarrassed everybody in the booth. She went home with a bag of soap and creme, too. Matt told her what infantry outfit AJ was in before he went to chaplain school and she became serious and quiet. I think that outfit has been hit hard in their deployment, and I think they have been deployed to Iraq more than once - this is after the Gitmo year that AJ was a part of.

Please, let's bring them ALL HOME!


Red Maple Alpaca Sportswear, my booth neighbor at Rhinebeck, replaced Morehouse Merinos a couple of years ago. They are a nice couple of guys who wear kilts during the show. The kilts are very handsome, but can be a problem when one needs to climb a ladder to fix a light, or reach something high. I tried to be polite and avert my eyes, but he looked so cute trying to preserve his dignity I had to get this shot. Red Maple has lots of neat commercial alpaca products and knitting patterns. They are part of the Maine fiber contingent. Maine is very well represented at this show and includes many cashmere producers and the very famous and popular Robin spinning wheel. I don't mind being right next door to Red Maple. Most of my products are different and I'm proud of the fact that I raise my own fiber and spin my own wool. I am one of a unique and uncommon breed of fiber enthusiast, holding on fast to our ideals. If I was a potter I would be scraping my clay from creek banks instead of buying it at the art supply store. I didn't receive one inquiry from customers regarding where my wool comes from, but people who know me know I take pride in the fact that my wool comes from happy and well-cared-for animals. One lady told me she tracked me down after being told on Spin-List that I don't raise my sheep for meat. I'm happy I was there for her to buy her wool from, guilt free.

Packing and Unpacking

Last night I was about to reach for the new roving I just got back from the mill when I realized it was still in the trailer. Packing and unpacking for shows is a LOT of work...and then, when I get home, where is it? Gretchen asked for a ball of the Lipstick roving, and I think I have one left, but how to find it? I'll have to pull some things out to get to it. I need a bigger trailer so my stuff doesn't have to be packed so tight, but that is way down on the priority list. It's always a surprise when I unpack at a show and find so many surprises I had forgotten about.

Oh, Martha!

I was dragging my feet yesterday but still had to do some things after school. I stopped at the market to pick up some things for my GED classroom and noticed the new Thanksgiving Martha Stewart magazine. Oh, Martha, what a terrific issue, filled with recipes like yam casserole, cauliflower salad, wild rice/cranberry salad and, ofcourse, the pies. All the food I love. Yummy in the tummy and so much fun in the fall when we are hunkered down inside. Robin and I want to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with our class as we have a full kitchen in the room. Getting the turkey cooked in time would be a problem, but Martha has a solution. In this issue she shows how to take the backbone out of the turkey and cook it flat on a cookie sheet, taking much less time. Works for us. Alas, I have no relatives around here and my kids have other family and work obligations this Thanksgiving. It won't keep me from playing with some Martha recipes and cooking up a storm. There's always the freezer waiting to keep it all fresh for later meals. I plan on doing a lot of spinning over Thanksgiving weekend, and sewing for the Plowshares and Riverkeeper shows taking place in early December. I am never alone on this farm as there is a cast of hundreds just outside of my apartment door.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wild Fibers Dinner

Linda Cortright, editor of Wild Fibers Magazine, hosts a dinner every year at NY State Sheep and Wool. This year she celebrated five years of publication of her fabulous magazine, the National Geographic of the fiber world (I think I said that first but someone else got credit for it!). We were seated in the back corner where vendors tables were situated. Smart move on Linda's part, as many eyes closed, mouths fell open and heads tilted back when the slide show started. We were one tired, bedraggled group. After all, our bellies were full of delicious food and it was the first rest we had all day. I saw some lost sheep in New Zealand being air lifted back to their station before I drifted off to Never-Never land. I woke up when the show was over around 9 pm. We made our way back to the trailer and crawled in. I woke up at 2, typical, and knitted until 4 am. Back to sleep and up at 7 feeling refreshed and satisfied at having such a wonderful Saturday at the show.

In Good Hands

I left my farm in very capable hands this past weekend. Nurse Mia arrived on Friday with food, an array of medical textbooks several inches thick, and her knitting. All weekend long she tended to my critters, walking the doggies up and down the hillside, checking on the sheep and goats and making sure everybody was alright. On Sunday night we were greeted with a carved, shining Jack O' Lantern and glowing wood stove. Sweet potatoes were roasting in the oven, giving the apartment an intoxicating, sweet aroma. Mia makes coming home from a two hour pack-up and long truck ride in the dark so much easier. We had a drink and chatted until 2 am. Morning saw Mia rushing back to New Jersey and MSN school in Newark. She was happy to leave with my vintage Barbour jacket, which is too small for me now, and a hank of Pumpkin Orange (Jacquard dye color) blended with Sunflower Yellow angora, two ply yarn to knit winter scarves for herself and friends. I made my way back to BOCES, where I found that Robin, my aide, had everything in Special Ed. GED under control. Don't know why I even worried.

Warm and Dry

Vendors and patrons were wet and shivering in the freezing drizzle, but inside the yurt the artists were toasty warm and dry. Mahmet, from Turkey, and his assistant, Teresa, from NY, put on a fabulous display of felted rugs and clothing. Kim and I wanted to hang with them for a while, but duty called and we went back to the Maggie's Farm booth. Luckily, customers kept us warm!

Thank You Friends

Many thanks to everyone who, in a small or big way, made the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival such a fabulous success for me. Saturday's crowds were smothering - how lovely for the vendors - but Sunday saw frozen drizzle and bone-chilling cold. The hard core fiber people came out anyway and it all came together. Kim, my fiber-sister, and her husband, Darryl, were waiting to help us get the booth together. The trailer was snug as a bug in a rug to sleep in. Good thing we had the little box heater 'cause it was cooollldd in Dutchess County. The multitudes surged through the gates on Saturday and the show was in full swing. Everything I make was validated in some way. Bags marched out on women's shoulders and enough soap was sold to clean up a good deal of the Northeast. Fiber sales were moderate as there was wool in almost every booth, but I made a good showing of it. Blog readers sought me out to say hello in person, and faithful patrons of old made their yearly visit. Sunday night came too soon and my Canadian helpers said goodbye. I hated to see them go, but I'm hoping Kim comes back for the Plowshares show in December. So many happy memories. Back to work too soon. Oh, am I dragging tonight, and I'm forcing myself to take the evening off and play with my dogs and cats. I brought home a new bunny from Sally Campbell, my Virginia friend who gave me all that fantastic fabric for Mia's comforter and curtains. I wasn't planning on more rabbits, but I'm surrounded by dedicated Angora rabbits breeders and have so many fiber bunnies available to me...and I do have empty cages. I didn't make many purchases for myself. The list goes something like this: a bunch of Sweet Annie branches for a door wreath, a used The Best of Rowan knitting book, some mohair boucle skeins from Mohair in Motion's sale bin (I'll ply them with angora for Christmas gift scarves) and some New Hampshire sheep mugs from my vendor neighbors, Gordon and Donna Carlson of the Sheep Shed. OH, I also bought some lovely purple felted pin cushions from Wes Robinson, Beth's mom. Only $5 each, they'll make cute Christmas gifts for some BOCE teacher friends.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NY State Sheep and Wool

Come and visit Maggie's Farm at booth 31E in the main exhibition hall at NY State Sheep and Wool in Rhinebeck, New York. The snow will make a wool gathering even more fun. My Special Ed. counterpart from our sister BOCES school will be there also, displaying his alpaca fiber. I'm bringing a new crop of Bundaflicka Bags, along with luscious new fibers, handmade herbal goat milk soap, and other goodies. Check out for all the activities. See you at the fair!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Frost on the Hillside

28 F., dark and frosty. I thought it snowed when I first looked out the window. My new/old minivan has been running for a half hour, not my idea, and should be toasty warm by now. My head is wet, it's wash-hair-day, but the heat is good in the van. Soft classical music is on in the barn and water bowls are full. I hate to leave but I have to support them all. Good luck on the icy roads, the slippery, sliding season has begun.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cold Out There

It's 32 the last time I checked tonight. I got some skeins washed for bunny mitten kits, then started sewing. Two of the new swirly bags are spoken for so I made three more. Great fabric from Carol Crayonbox and her secret Ithaca source. I finally caught this baby buck kid who has been holding up one back foot for a couple of weeks. Grabbed him in the dark in the hay mow. I don't think he realized I could see him with my headlight or I would never have nabbed him. Got him doctored with Tiny Tina riding on my shoulder. Matt came by and took this picture. Gosh I look so Swedish. Put a schmata on my head and a wool coat and I would look just like my grandmother on the farm in the old country. They ditched that life soon as they could and moved to the big glamourous city of Brooklyn, New York! Funny, the farm life suits me just fine. Holding this little guy makes me realize why I'm working so hard.

Meteor Mode

Sometimes I feel like a meteor hurtling through space, colliding with celestial bodies and careening off in random directions. I try very hard to seperate myself from the farm when I go to work. I have a stressful new job this year which requires 100% presence of mind. No staring out the window, wondering what the sheep are up to. I've been pretty good about focusing on work at work, but when the kids leave, I confess I feel a need to jet outta there and get home. Snow is expected this weekend. Could it be true??? Pulling a trailer over the Catskills in the snow is not fun. Fortunately people come to Rhinebeck no matter what, if it's 80 or 18 degrees, the busses load up and come up from Manhattan. I have too much to do, and not enough time or hands to do it. I'm becoming rather philosophical about it. I do what I can and let it go at that. There's a quality of life issue to consider. I don't have a partner to rely on to do even the little things. Matt takes care of the trailer lights, fuses that blow, hitches, tires, stuff like that. He helps me load the product but getting all the necessary materials and making the stuff is all me. I've often complained about the vendors whose booths come on the UPS truck and they open the packages in the booth and put it up on the shelves. But that's not nearly as challening or gratifying. If I listed the things I wanted to get done before Rhinebeck, I'd waste a lot of time I could spend at the sewing machine, washing skeins, or wrapping soap. What I haven't managed to get done will wait for Maryland. I will proudly display my First Place - Best in Show photograph, Princess of the Flowers in my booth, but did I get the photos and notecard inserts done to sell the photo? Nope, I forgot and waited too long to order them. Maybe next year. Back to work, after I make dinner and take care of the hordes of hungry beasts!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Governor Signed the Bill

Governor Patterson came to Matt's center today and signed a bill which will allow homeowners to get affordable loans to weatherize their homes. Matt trains construction workers in weatherization building at the NYSWDA center in Syracuse. Happiness all around. Chenango County, where I work, has more trailers as primary homes than any other county in New York. Matt found an old trailer and hauled it to the center so trainees could learn how to weatherize it. With the cold, damp weather we are experiencing now, and winter bearing down, the bill is very timely.

Here Comes The Gov

Governor David Patterson is coming to Matt's NYSWDA training center today. He will take a tour of the facility, designed and built by Matt, and sign a new energy bill into law. Matt was nervous as a cat yesterday, getting his clothes ready, trimming his mustache and toenails (?!) and checking his clothes again. The bedroom was not a safe enough place to put his outfit, so he took it out to the truck. The governor's advance team came last week and moved things all around, which frustrated Matt, but the honor of having the state's top official come by and look things over soothed the savage beast. I told Matt I'm happy he finally has a career where he can apply his talents and creativity. He says his job makes him a better person. Yes, keeping people warm is a very noble endeavor, and saving energy will save the planet. In the meantime, how the heck do I get the rooster who is stuck behind the hot water heater in the milk room out from his prison? He must have been sitting on top and somehow fell behind. The crowing tells me he's alive, and I know he's toasty warm. I might have to call the Brookfield Fire Department since Matt is off to meet the governor. Wouldn't they be amused!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Today's Bundaflicka Bags

Yes, I am working very hard. The NY State Sheep and Wool Festival only comes once a year. Here are today's bags. I'm pleased with the way they look. "If I make it, they will come," (I hope!)

Peppers Galore

Ron Wagner, the farmer across from me at the farmer's market, had a bumper crop of peppers this year - 3 acres of them. He had giant bags of peppers for sale at the market, at ridiculously low prices. They were so pretty that I had to bring some home, along with a box of tomatoes and some cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Now cooking is the last thing I need to do this weekend, but I thought, oh, all that vitamin C, all those anti-oxidants, and the joy of fresh, local vegetables. Well, after three hours slicing and boiling and stirring, I said this is enough! One big bag of peppers went to Mary my shepherd friend who LOVES to cook. It was a good move, because today she delivered a dish of scrumptious stuffed peppers, with her own beef and beans, and a bag of salad greens. Just what the doctor ordered. I decided to give the cabbage and cauliflower to my grateful chickens, and the broccoli to my bunnies. Happiness all around. It's cold outside now and I can't go out without a jacket on. No frozen bunny water yet, the real harbiger of winter to me. Give it a couple of weeks and it will happen. It's wool time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just In Case...

We took Wooster, my BFL ram, out of the pasture and put him with the angora bucks on the south side of the barn. One fence section was shorter than the others and I asked Matt, can he get over that? Nah, said Matt. A few days later we were standing in the barnyard and Matt said OH, *&^%!! There he was, up the hill with the girls, %$#@ing his brains out. He would mount one ewe and BANG, then another one and BANG! I was swimming with Mary and told her the story. She said why don't you bring him to me so he can %$#@ his brains out on my ewes! So Wooster has a new happy home. He jumped on a ewe as soon as we let him out of the Jeep. Mary said his lips were curled for weeks (they make that evil lecherous grimace when checking a ewes behind for that certain scent that tells the ram she's ready). Off the farm is the only safe place for a ram when you don't want any lambs. I calculated January 15. Woe is me! It's so cold here in January you can spit and it will freeze before it hits the ground. So I'm getting my lamb sweaters ready. Some have been washed so many times they are goat kid size. I will knit more come Christmas and I have some time off. Yes, babies come from heaven, but January???? Hope Santa Claus brings me some warm polyester/wool ski pants for when I'm lying on the floor, with my arms up to the elbows in a ewe's unmentionable place. Oh, the life of a shepherd...