Thursday, June 30, 2011

All's Well That Ends Well

Who said that? With my liberal arts university education I should know who uttered those famous words but I'm at a loss. Was it Dickens? No,it must be Shakespeare. Shakespeare is wasted on the young. The older I get the more I appreciate him. Sadly, as a History major, with an Ed minor, I got little of Shakespeare in college. The weather today was something Shakespeare would have written about. From the pre-dawn hours it was positively gorgeous, with a brisk breeze, bright sunshine, and perfect temps around 70 in the shade. I'm tearing my apartment apart in anticipation of Hannah and Luke's visit, and also because end of the working school year warrants a "biting of the bullet" as it were. My spring cleaning "is like making sausage - it ain't pretty" (not Shakespeare - Ross Perot!) Boxes everywhere, pulling furniture out from the walls, scrubbing floors, sorting out piles of piles, scaring the heck out of the dogs - Oh No, we're moving again! I might have stolen an hour away to lie on the hillside and watch the big puffy clouds float by, but oh, no, not today, because the CABLE GUY is coming! I was contacted months ago informing me that my satellite dishes are obsolete, and if I don't allow them to come and replace them I would lose my local channels. I opted for the last day possible. I didn't even get the New York City evening news last night. Tragic! Well, the young man came this morning and was, as I expected, a bit daunted by the 240 x 40 foot barn that loomed over him. I went out and together we decided where I would allow him to install the new dish. The last guy pulled a fast one on me and bolted two dishes to the most beautiful and artsy historic part of my lovely old barn - the tiny chicken house that looks like something in an alpine village. I shudder every time I look at them. Now they can be carefully removed. Anyway, the young man had to come in and out, then out and in, following the cables and extensions Matt made when I moved in from the hay mow in the summer of '06, to the little trailer that winter, then into the apartment. After a couple of hours of "Ma'am, Ma'am, could you come out here," and many phone calls to supervisors, he could not get a signal. He decided to replace all the cables and proceeded to do some drilling. Suddenly he popped inside the apartment as I was scrubbing a kitty-corner with Dr. Bonners, and said excitedley, "I made a boo-boo!" Yes, boo-boo. I went out to hear water pouring and yes, it was pouring, out of a pipe he punctured with his drill. Mr. Cable Guy had drilled through a two by four with a Pecks tube on the other side. I was not amused, especially since I forgot how to turn off the water, which was running across the concrete into the apartment, underneath my lovely pine flooring. I quickly called Matt who started shouting instructions like GO TO THE MANIFOLD - what's that??? I hung up and went about turning knobs and pulling levers when the phone rang. I didn't know I even answered it, but somehow Matt heard me yelling at the cable guy to do something, do something and I heard Matt shouting "I'm on my way HOME, I'm coming, I'm coming!" I capitalized on the fear factor and told the young man in my ominous-warning teacher voice that "My Husband is On His Way Home and You Can Explain All This To HIM!" The poor guy was standing in the driveway making phone call after phone call. He would come in the apartment to continue working on the TV that still would not work and I would say, You know I have a flock of SHEEP that I have to WATER tonight! and that sort of thing. He said his supervisor was on the way and I said I hope he's bringing a plumber. I continued my sorting through boxes and piles and heard another voice. It was Matt Scary Bastard Redmond, speaking softly and sweetly to the young cable man, telling him that it's okay, that this happens and not to worry that he would fix it. And Matt did fix it by splicing in a length of Peck's tube, and I had water again, and the supervisor came and forms had to be signed, and the TV came on, and I had a lesson in how to work the new remote that actually has a volume control, and a DVD, and other magical devices. Matt ordered me to give the young man a cold Coca Cola (grrrr....) and I was able to make coffee, and continue my work in the apartment. Maybe I will steal away for some sunset viewing and sip a little sherry - time well spent.

Cadet Hannah

Hannah is spending a week at Civil Air Patrol Encampment in Texas. A very hot, dry, challenging week. She's learning all kinds of search and rescue/survival skills and making friends to last a lifetime. I'm so proud of Hannnah. I can't wait to have Hannah and Luke on the farm in July. Hannah will be able to sleep until noon, or later if she wants, swim in the pond, eat junk food (along with Omi's good home cooking) and watch her favorite kiddie shows. That's what vacation is all about.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Could Get Used to This

I woke up with a start - too much light in the room! What time is it? I slept until 8 o'clock. Granted, I woke up at 4 with the roosters and said this is ridiculous and was able to get back to sleep, but the fact that the second stage lasted until 8 is gloriously wonderful. Thank you, doggies and kitties. The sun is shining, birds are singing and the farm is beautiful this morning. I don't have to bomb out of here to work and that's wonderful. I have too much to do, but it's time to start chipping away at it. Hannah and Luke are coming in two weeks and I want the place in ship shape. Loren is coming to help paint the barn and Matt is working on more lighting in my future "work room." Living in a crafts workshop presents challenges. There is clutter everywhere. I need more storage space for fabric and soapmaking supplies. Yes, I bought a giant old barn to put everything in, but wide open uninsulated space, with animals everywhere, is not the answer. I need closets, shelves, walls and lighting. I may not live as long as it takes, but I like to see progress being made. I have to organize and put away all the clothes I rescued from the possums in the tractor shed. That requires plastic tubs and a safe place to put them. All this will be done with time and determination. Already this morning - I had a lovely, long conversation with my beautiful hard-working student-daughter who is juggling full time RN work with two clinical situations and graduate school in Newark. I wish I could do some of that work for her. I hope she gets to the Jersey Shore this weekend to soak up some rays and bathe in the soothing salty ocean water. I managed to catch Ray Davies, one of my adorable billy goat bucks. He's been limping around, holding up one front leg. I caught him a couple of weeks ago, couldn't find any foot rot or injury then, but he's still limping. It's a miracle I caught him again - thank you cracked corn - and still no reason why he's limping. Maybe he was stepped on by one of the 200 pound sheep, or caught on something. I don't know. I carried him inside, held him between my legs while he struggled mightily, and gave him his shots and worming. Once caught, I have to do something with my animals. The little buck goat with the stiff wry neck last year got caught in the creep pen. Legs twisted in the hog panel fence with horns caught too. I had to do some pulling and twisting with him screaming bloody murder but got him loose. There is always something...I did get to spend some quality time with Chris, my old crippled llama. He was so wild for years but we are becoming great friends now. I hold the scoop of cracked corn up to him but won't let him eat unless he let's me stroke and scratch his neck and back. I finally got up to his face and have actually touched his beautiful banana ears! This is a big deal. I'm building him a catch pen in the barn which could double as a horse stall in the future. Fantasies are free! I'm hoping Jim Baldwin comes on Friday to finish shearing sheep and goats. We were rained out last week with the marathon rain. Weather this weeks looks promising. I can't surrender myself to nothing but house work today. There is a jar of Patchouli Essential Oil that is calling to me, along with a walk around my beautiful farm. The June wildflowers are still here and I want to enjoy them before they are eaten by critters, or dried up in the hot summer sun.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Love the Light

My friend Laticia gifted me with a big box of soy candle wax a while back. Today seemed like a good day to make some candles. It's gray, rainy and cool outside, and, after doing some work around the barn I started melting wax. Laticia gave me a box of fragrance oils like Honey Almond, Dragon's Blood, Plum Spice, etc. I always have canning jars around. They are perfect for jar candles, and safer I think. I also decided to make some clay pot candles from some of the pots that held Mia's wedding favor pine seedlings. The scent I used for her candles - Wedding Cake!

Rainy Day

Can't do much about the weather. Shearing cancelled as the sheep are wet and it's too wet for the farmer's market. I had the help lined up and the meds ready. If I see the sun peaking through the clouds I tend to journey over to Hamilton anyway, just in case the sky clears. Doesn't look like it this morning. The radar is not promising either. A misty, gray market is not a happy market. Sure people still come for their veggies and plants, which thrive in the wetness. Wool and soap don't do well in the rain. I don't like to take out my fabric totes in the dampness. Truth be told I'm loving my free time this morning. I'm on my second cup of cappucino and I have yesterday's NY Times to enjoy. The dogs keep going back to sleep, giving me a reprieve on taking them out. Now that I can't escape to the market, a great way to avoid housework, I will attempt to get some things done around here. I'll clean up the kitchen and maybe treat myself to some sewing. I have a bottle of Patchouli waiting to be turned into soap. I'm going to savor this day and make it count. I checked out Roz Savage's progress rowing across the Indian Ocean solo on She's all alone, in the middle of a big ocean, and I find her upbeat attitude and determination incredibly inspiring. Keep on rowing, no matter what - a good plan.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Musings on the Last Day of School

Ah, the joy of the last day of school. The culmination of a year's worth of effort on behalf of the young ones assigned to me for assistance. I like to think I made a bit of an impression on some of them. Home to the farm for two months. I told Matt I didn't want to hear any snotty remarks about me "not working" over the summer. I consider the Hamilton Farmer's Market as my summer job, and I will work on product for fall shows. I sat in college, full time, for SEVEN YEARS to have the privilege of summers off. Oh, the blood, sweat and tears that took out of me, but it was SO worth. Going to college as an adult is not the party-time it is for young people, but it is extremely meaningful and empowering. I know it made an impression on my kids, who are still going to school, although I think AJ might be finished. Speaking of AJ, he is in Nevada, working full time as the chaplain for the National Guard there, and working as an assistant pastor at an Orthodox church in Las Vegas. He is busier than ever, and sounds very happy. I think he needs a social work degree, as he handles any problem a soldier could possibly have. I was saddened to hear what I already knew - that he gets a call about an attempted suicide at least every other day. Our military is stretched to the limit. Mia is working on her MSN and will have a very full summer. Hannah and Luke are coming July 5 - another month of fun on the farm with pond, waterfall and campfires. I am fixing up my sheep show trailer for Hannah - her own celebrity hideaway away from little brother where she can read and sleep undisturbed. It will be great to stay home and get some work done on the farm. I waved good bye to my dirty kitchen on the way out the door this morning and said I would be back to stay awhile starting tonight. September will be here before I know it, but I'm going to savor every single moment of the summer. Right now, it's clean out my desk drawer for the incoming summer school teacher, then Robin and I are going out to lunch. Coconut shrimp here we come.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Buckets and Buckets

Pouring rain all day. The kitties and my pet chicken stay cozy and dry in their little nook on the milk room steps. I don't have any hay in the barn and will have to let the sheep out to graze, making them soaking wet. I have a shearing date with Jim on Saturday and will have to make sure the sheep are dry by then. The weather report does not look good for the rest of the week, or Saturday. I would hate to miss out on shearing and the farmer's market both. I was hoping to get the remaining sheep shorn. Warm weather and moisture, along with a hot animal, makes the wool felt on the sheep's back. I'll have to figure out what to do quickly. I can't pick up a few bales on the way home with my entire farmer's market booth in the back of my van. I was hoping Stan and son would come to do my hay by now but I'm sure I am way down on the list. A farmer's life is complicated at best. Better get on home and figure it all out. I do my best thinking while I'm driving...

Crash Boom Bang

There was a boomer around 7 am this morning. Fortunately the coffee pot fairy had already done her job and I was moving around. Knut and Finn took it very well and didn't bark and yip very much. They are mature dogs now. The power came back on and I got all the water tanks filled. No power, no water pump! I have plenty of water in the ground around the farm, but the sheep are locked in the barnyard while I'm at work with Thor in the barn with them. We had a lovely walk around the back field yesterday. I found a new light blue wildflower I didn't know of. Have to get myself a field guide to carry around. I checked the back cistern built by the Kupris family years ago and it was full of water, even after many days of no rain. I think I will make another pond there someday. I'm blessed with such delicious, wonderful water - liquid gold to a farmer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Finn O' the Field

Finnie has been walking with us up the hill to the pond and back. He's such a sweetie. Finn is part Polish Tatra, a Polish sheep guarding dog which is also a good companion animal. Finn has such a friendly disposition that he even tolerates Pip, who Thor and Knut want to kill. My White Boys are mixes of the Tatra, Great Pyrennees, Akbash and Maremma. They were bred by an Amish man up in Clyde, New York. Matt brought them home on Easter, 2006, shortly before I moved up here. Every mountain range in Europe has their own sheep guarding dog with unique characteristics. My boys have always lived outside and, so far, I have had no coyote/bear/mountain lion attacks. There was a purebred Great Pyrennees at the farmer's market last weekend, and this dog was obviously a pampered foo-foo dog. She goes to the beauty parlor regularly. I told the owner my white dogs have never had a bath, not ever, and still have the loveliest, fluffiest, whitest coat. Her mouth dropped open and she looked at me with wide eyes. No baths ever? Well, they swim in the pond and I guess that's a bath. I don't think Knut, Thor and Finn would take well to a bath. They would probably have to be drugged and hog tied. No problem, they are happy and if the boys are happy with the way they look and so am I.

Happy Summer Solstice

I've just spent two hours cleaning out my classroom. The top of the refrigerator is clean and the teachers' desks and countertops are empty. The pile of garbage waiting for the custodian is not too bad this year. I have several boxes of things to take home, but they will have to wait until I can bring a car around back to get them. I can't drag them to the opposite side of the school where I park. I'm also taking home our sewing machine. This room will be used by the summer school and I don't think they will be sewing. I'm heading home as quickly as I can as I want to enjoy the sunshine before the rain starts. We'll be wet for a couple of days. Three more days of school and I'll have my blessed time off for the summer. I can't really go anywhere - such is the life of a farmer - but Hannah and Luke are coming to visit and that will be wonderful.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hanging Pots?

I need some hanging pots for my new barn stairs. I think they are coming along nicely. I still forget they are there and go through the milk room. I would like to put a pot of geraniums on the porch, but the chickens would probably eat them, or the cats would lay in them, or an escaped goat would make a meal out of them. Yes, hanging pots will have to do. Maybe a hummingbird feeder too? We'll see.

Kitty in the Window

There are some kitties who would rather be inside and sit in a window than be out in the barnyard. My barn is a Disneyland for cats, with so many places to jump up on and hide in. This kitty is enjoying her view from the bathroom window with a pot of Mia's wedding bouquet ivy to keep her company. She's so beautiful, drifting in and out of naptime, watching her cat friends in the driveway, dreaming kitty dreams, I was reluctant to put her outside.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Goaties

As I promised myself I sprayed on some DEET, yes, DEET you are my friend, and went up the hill to enjoy the gorgeous weather yesterday. I found a group of goaties who were having fun wandering through the high grass, playing goatie hide-and-seek games and basically hanging out. They did not like me disturbing them in their secret place, and wandered off leaving a tunnel through the grass. I sat down on the hill overlooking my farm and took in the blue sky, sheep and goats dotting the hillside, the lush green rolling hills, and recalled how all this was covered in snow and ice just a short time ago. Summer, glorious summer, you are finally here.

So Much Fabric, So Little Time

Carol Crayonbox and her tailor sidekick, John, hit the Gunlock Furniture Factory Fabric Sale a couple times a year. They pick up fabulous office furniture upholstery fabric that is really pretty and wears like iron. Carol and John were very kind to offer me some of their cache of fabric and brought it to the Bouckville show for me. I love having such artistic personal shoppers who drive the distance (Gunlocke is three hours from me), fight the crowds and sort through the heavy bolts for me. They just can't stand to let good deals go by. Some of the fabric is a dollar a yard or less! Most of it is suitable for linings, but my Bundaflicka totes are famous for their pretty linings so I'm happy to have it. Robin came to work this morning hopping around and spouting off about a new handbag artist at the farmer's market who does tie-dyed bags. She carried on so about it, and Robin doesn't get too excited about anything, that I decided I have to check out the new bags. Why haven't I wandered over to the other side of the park to check out my competition? Tell the truth, I don't really care about competition as I'm just doing my own thing and having fun...but the way Robin kept saying "OH my GOD they are CUTE and I REALLY WANTED ONE but they were FORTY-FIVE dollars, and OH, they were quilted and OH her husband does the tie-dying and OH their little kid had on a tie-dyed shirt....on and on. I thought about trying some tie-dying with bag fabric but with all this beautiful Gunlocke fabric I doubt it. We'll see.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

They are Everywhere

There are several mother hens in my barnyard. My laying hens in the chicken room don't hatch chicks. They are too crowded and I pull their eggs every day, denying them the opportunity for motherhood. The free range ladies manage to hide their eggs until the babes are hatched. I adore the chicks and love to watch how the moms take care of them. They strut around the barn clucking a special sound to keep the babes together. Incredibly, the hens manage to keep the cats away from the chicks. Their greatest danger is drowning in the sheep water buckets. I try to keep shallow dishes around so the chicks can get their water safely.

More Soap

Time to make more soap. I'll be making it next week. If I cook some every now and then it doesn't have to be a big production when I get too low. I'm almost out of Unscented (yes, there are some people who want it, incredibly)Honey Oatmeal, and, at long last, I hope to make a batch of Patchouli. I can't stand people asking for it, pleading for it, any longer. Patchouli is my favorite but it's not for everyone. People either love it or hate it. I have an order for Patchouli hand creme at school. I made some a while back, and made the mistake of putting on some Patchouli creme before going to a meeting at school. One teacher said "eeewww, what's that smell???" and the principal chimed in that it smells like mold! I should have kept my mouth shut but I confessed to the offense. Poor people, they just haven't lived.... One woman at the market told me patchouli has been used for years and years as a bug repellent in Europe before it was adopted as the hippie love scent. There is patchouli and there is patchouli. Rainbow Meadow has some very pungent patchouli and that's the one I want.

Little Miss Firecracker

I had a very pretty little visitor at the market today. Jaryn Price stopped by with her mom, Robin, on her way to a Mad Hatter Birthday Party today. They were looking for a suitable hat to wear to a Mad Hatter affair. Robin and I chatted about school, we can't help it, then they went about looking for a hat. I put together a goody bag for Jaryn, who is one of my biggest fans. Robin says that Jaryn always asks what Maggie is up to, what's Maggie doing in school, etc. I call her the Little Miss Firecracker because of her sparkling personality. When Jaryn visits us in school she organizes our desks and rearranges them to her liking. I love it as I can use all the help I can get!

Who Was That Man?

A very handsome young outdoorsy type - Chuck Norris comes to mind - came into my booth today, holding a tiny piece of an old run of roving. I recognized it right away as the yellow mohair I brought when I moved here then lost in the tractor shed. What joy when I found a giant bag of it buried in the detritus of my former life. The man said Do you have any more of this? I did, but it was broken up in pieces and put into the Mother Fiber Sampler Packs. I showed it to him and explained that when I am low on a run I sometimes break it up. I showed him the newer runs of yellow and apologized, explaining that the runs can never be duplicated the way I make them, with some of this and some of that. I was a little unnerved by his handsomeness and overt maleness, and decided not to ask if he was spinning it himself, or was sent by a female to find more. He acted like he was the fiber artist. The man was totally blown away by my Robin wheel and wanted to know who made such a masterpiece with the inlaid wood, etc. We had a lovely chat. The man bought two pounds of yellow/goldish Mother Fiber and 15 bars of soap. He paid and left, with me wondering who was that fibery, earthy, hand-made man. Such is life at the farmer's market.

Soap Blocks

I think I answered more questions about my soap blocks than anything else today. People think they are big chunks of cake until they touch them. They are hard as rocks. People still don't know what they are so I made a sign, "Soap Blocks Made from Maggie's Soap Scraps." They still need an explanation. I tell them I save the end pieces from my big blocks of soap and throw them into a big pot. When the pot is full I melt them down, which takes several days of mashing and stirring, and pour the molten soap into a copy paper box lid. When that hardens I cut them up with a big knife. The blocks are wonderfully artsy looking, I think, like granite, or some other natural substance. They are great for shaving, or placed in a pottery dish, or simply stationed at the slop sink in the barn. One block contains five or six bars of soap and is a terrific deal at $10. I don't sell a lot of them, but one woman bought 5 recently. Smart woman.

Time to Spin

I forget how wonderful and special spinning is until I do it at the farmer's market. People stop and stare. Some are totally confounded at what I am doing, which is amazing to me as spinning is as old as time. Clothes are made with the same concept today - spinning bobbins in the textile factories, only they are controlled by computers. People are enthralled with my handmade Robin wheel and ask all about it. Today I was spinning 100% mohair from my older colored goats. I overdyed it purple, pink and gold and it came out lovely and muted. I'll ply it and knit myself some boot socks for the coming winter. Mohair wears like iron and the heels won't wear out like wool socks. People blend nylon in with wool for socks but you don't need to do that with mohair. My barn boots are cold and clammy, and usually damp, so I need some serious socks to get me to put them on and go about my chores.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Testing, Testing

Second day of Regents testing down, a few more days to go. I spent four solid hours with one student, about the average time, talking him through a test which is a huge challenge for him. It's very rewarding to see how much they want to pass this test, yet frustrating when they just can't come up with the answers. Writing essays is a Herculean challenge for our kids. I don't believe in testing kids in alternative schools but NY State tells we have to and we comply. The Social Studies teachers stayed very late last night correcting tests. I was done with my pile at 6, but others stayed later. I'm leaving at 5 tonight and will get home at a decent time. I was really worried about my baby ducks yesterday but they were fine. I try to shut off the worry when I'm at work, and sometimes I succeed, but the the creatures are always in the back of my mind.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home Stretch

Regular school is over. Regents testing starts today. I still believe what the Sisters told me at the College of St. Elizabeth, my undergraduate school. They said that standardized testing is wrong, that it is not an indicator of what a student is capable of, and the tests are used for political purposes. We have no choice but to administer them, as NY State is still doing Regents testing. I work with the students who receive modifications on testing, like having the questions read to them, scribing for them, etc. Testing goes through next week then I am OFF for the summer. Oh, do I love the cyclical nature of teaching. Just when you think you are at the end of your rope, the year is over and you start again renewed and refreshed after two months off. Hannah and Luke are coming in July so I have a wonderful month with my grandchildren to look forward to. We are hoping to get out to Nevada where AJ is already doing his Army Chaplain thing, helping soldiers and their families, and working at an Orthodox Church in Las Vegas. AJ has a one bedroom apartment in Henderson City and, although he misses his seminary friends, he loves it there. Izzy will be very happy to have his woman home instead of watching her bomb out of the house every morning.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Frog Pond Farm

We made our second annual Frog Pond Farm trip today. Robin wanted to take Santana because she had such a fantastic time there last year. Santana is now graduated and a woman of the world. Today was her last day and Robin thought we should take her where she would most enjoy herself. That would be any place that has animals. Frog Pond Farm is located in Bainbride, quite a ride from here, and it took a bit of doing getting the afternoon kids here early so we could leave with enough time. Off we went. Last year we bought Santana some ducks but they ended up in the grandparents freezer. It's a long story. The ducks I brought home last year are fat and sassy and I decided to get them a couple more friends. Santana helped me pick them out and OH are they cute. After visiting with the Frog Pond menagerie we journeyed back to school. Our ducks enjoyed a little fun in the art sink. I don't think they had ever been in water as they ran around dancing, splashing and preening like crazy. The students were loving the entertainment. One of our teachers came in to sex them for me and thinks I have two males and two females. Oh, well, at least they are not all males. I adore the big, white Jemima Puddleducks. Luckily I don't have to worry about them freezing at this time of year.

Farm Fresh Eggs

Every morning I offer my students breakfast. I am blessed with a kitchen in my classroom and we use it every chance we get. The students like to cook it themselves which gives me a chance to do my "hygiene lesson" and other teaching. A Social Studies teacher can make a history lesson out of a box of cake mix, a stick of butter, or just about anything else you would find in a kitchen. The eggs I bring from my own chickens are beyond delicious. You hardly need to put any salt or pepper on them. The other day I had a store-bought egg and was reminded how fortunate I am to have my chickens. I think chickens are the greatest farm animals. They are very self-sufficient, entertaining, and their gifts come without any bloodshed involved AND they come in biodegradable packages! The incredible, edible EGG.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Carol Crayonbox Strikes Again

Ofcourse I didn't sell any bags at the show this weekend. How could I with Carol Crayonbox in attendance with her bevy of incredibly beautiful creations? My totes are like mules, sturdy and utilitarian compared to her Lippanzaners. She claims my Mother Fiber wool roving was the inspiration for her designing these bags. I hope to own one someday. Until then I remain in awe of her work.

So Many New Friends

I made many new friends at the Bouckville Fiber Festival. There were lots of alpacas in attendance along with goats, dogs, sheep, one llama and bunnies. One bunny rode home with me in a brand new Bundaflicka Tote when I couldn't find a box. he is Prospect (named after the breeder's home town)and is a Satin Angora. He is just so sweet and photogenic and the owner wanted to trade him for wool. I couldn't deprive a needy spinner of her wool so here he is.

Akbash Puppies from Springtide Farm

Big Jim Baldwin

Jim Baldwin, my long-time shearer, participated in the Bouckville show this past weekend. Jim brought his wife Betty and several of his Merino sheep to shear. We were so grateful to Jim for showing the patrons of the festival how shearing is done. I was happy to finally meet Betty, the woman behind the man. Jim generously gifted me and Kimmie Cornerstone with some luscious Merino fleeces to take home and play with. Hmmmmmm, a fresh Merino fleece is more delicious than chocolate, which is the color of one of the sheep Jim sheared.

Amelia Earhartt Hat

Dr. Cindy, a psychiatrist from Hamilton and a long time patron of my farm products, stopped by to visit at the Bouckville show. Dr. Cindy fell in love with Susanne Farrington's Amelia Earhartt felted hat and had to take it home. I'll miss the hat as it really sparked up my table on the clay head mold Susanne made, but it looks so cute on it's new owner I can't be too disappointed.