Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And So To Bed

I can't wait to feel the sheets. Left the house at 7 something and got home at nine. We are required to stay late after school until 9 for Open House. I brought my Singer Featherweight and some cut out bags in and got three of them almost done. I only had one former student come in my room - Randy Dungey and his parents. It was a lovely visit and Randy promised to come back and help me on the farm again. I went back to sewing in my very well-lit room. Drove home in the rain to find my poor doggies howling and yelping with joy to see me and cats tripping me up for food. Only one bag of fiber shredded and a precious Louet bobbin on the sofa but not chewed up. I wish I could have kept them outside longer but I had over an hour of chores ahead of me. Missed most of Jay Leno. Had to turn the heat on - cold and damp. I cooked some corn on the cob for me and my last piggie meat for the doggies. Now they forgive me. Same deal tomorrow night - can't leave until 8. Yikes, two nights in a row??? Better bring more sewing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Box O' Goodies

As I dragged my weary behind up the milk room steps with a bag of cat food, kitties clamoring all around me, I spied a UPS box. Oh, yay, do I love a surprise box that I didn't order myself! What could it be??? I tore it open then and there. It was full of gift wrapped packages with pink bows. My darling Mia sent me a pair of Dansko clogs (just in the nick of time - I was getting desperate!), Starbucks coffee, biscotti and homemade banana-nut bread to go with the coffee, pot-pourri (always appreciated in a barn apartment), and a new cell phone!! Hurray!! The phone she bought me two years ago when I was about to travel home from New Jersey in an ice storm is kaput. No car, no cell phone, I was feeling a little, well, shaky I guess...but I'm happy now. What a thrill, and what a joy to have such a daughter. I will see her in two weeks when she comes to babysit so I can go to Rhinebeck. I very excited. Now to get through this week...taking it one day at a time.

More Peepers

As I was rushing around getting everyone fed and watered for the day and myself out the door to work, I heard the unmistakable sound of newborn peepers. It's amazing how loud they can be. I had to make a decision - catch them and put them safely in the bathroom and risk being late for work, or let mom try to fight off the cats. They could also drown in the sheep water bowls, not a pleasant thing to come home to. I decided to catch them, which can be futile since they tend to scatter in all directions and are very fast, not to mention being attacked by mom while I'm chasing them. I ran back inside the apt. Yes, the lamp was still there from the last batch of chicks, and the old box was clean enough. Ran back to the milk room and got some chicken feed to distract mom. Climbed over barricades and squeezed through stanchions to get to the Little Lamb Fine Dineing pen where the chicks were born. I threw down the feed and proceeded to scoop up the chicks and some of the remaining eggs. Mom had a teenaged chick with her to keep her company so I didn't feel too bad. She might even hatch more chicks from the eggs I left her. I got the newborns situated in the bathroom and jumped in the tub. Holly was thrilled to have new peepers to love. No time for hair or face, just grab some clothes and go. I always look like the Farmer in the Dell anyway! I had to drag three giant construction garbage bags full of more bags of dyed fiber out to the truck to ship out to the mill after work. The big bags were rained on all day long as I fretted inside the building. Why didn't I put them in the cab???? The bedding from the weekend was still in there, so I had put the bags in the back. Got to the UPS store in Norwich and had to sort it all out, shaking out as much water as I could. Should have gotten it shipped last week when it was dry outside but put it off to do other things. Never enough time to run this business properly, and hold down a job, and take care of all these critters. At least the new chicks are safe. Maybe one of these days I'll start to take care of myself. But not yet...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chasing Rainbows

When I let the sheep out to graze after work the sky was clear with a few clouds scattered here and there. A storm blew in from the west and brought the rain. It was wild, standing on my great hill with brilliant blue on one side of me and black, angry weather behind me. I was taking a look at my lower pond, nestled in a lovely spot, completely private, under the ridge. Someday I plan on building a little guest cabin there, next to the apple orchard. Trouble is, the pond failed to hold much water, and is a big puddle now. One entire side of the bank is missing. I will ask Mr. Maine, my Brookfield neighbor who put in my septic tank, to fix it someday. I made it back down the hill with the dogs before the heavy rain came and watched from the hay mow (miss Hannah and Luke!) as most of the sheep continued to graze. Some ran in and I threw them some bales. I played with them a while then went about my chores. Matt is in the South Bronx, teaching a workshop on the Health and Safety of the Weatherization Worker. He planned on attending church tonight with AJ at St. Vladimir's for the evening vespers. Chores take me forever, as I like to take my time. Now I want to sew, as Rhinebeck is looming, but I'm so tired I don't think I will. I climbed back up the hill to get the sheep in but every time Izzy and I tried to collect them, they scattered in all directions. I can't go to bed without them in, so I'll go out and try again. The waxing moon will give me some light. I'd rather be chasing rainbows, the way I did earlier in the afternoon, when a nice one stretched over the ridge behind the barn. The sheep enjoyed it, too.

Southern Adirondack Festival

The first Southern Adirondack Festival went very smoothly and brought in a moderate amount of patrons. They had to divide themselves amoung a grand total of 90 vendors, however, spreading the wealth a little thin. Great for the customers, tough on the vendors. I had a decent weekend, made much easier by assistance from the Big Daddy Trucking Company. What a change from last weekend at Fingerlakes, when I worked all day, drove 5 hours, then set up my big booth until midnight. I slept in Hotel F150 while Matt pitched a tent on the ground for some leg room. We went out to dinner with Lisa Merian of Spinner's Hill, Susan Carr of Earlville, and two sweater vendors from Bolton, Mass. After dinner we set up to spin in the ladies' room on the fairgrounds, the only place open, warm, and well lit. I love to hear other farmer/fiber people talk about their hopes, dreams, adventures, and troubles. I slept a grand 8 hours in my snug little truck cab bed and woke up to rain. Remembering the Dunkin Donuts I passed the night before going to dinner, I fired up the engine and drove to Schuylerville. I marched in the door in my LLBean green plain jammies and Carhart vest at 5 am. The cappucino tasted better than anything I could get at the fairgrounds. Drove back and Matt was still sleeping in the tent, which had not sprung a leak yet. Back to the buildings to spin some more. I got some lovely yarn spun and plied over the weekend, between customers. Most vendors I spoke to said they would come back. Many customers said they preferred this festival over Rhinebeck, which is very crowded and stretched out over much territory. I would like to explore Saratoga some more. Looks like a lovely city.

A Match Made in Heaven

Every year I make a Mega-Tote, a ridiculously big tote bag designed to carry a spinning wheel, a rug hooking canvas, a quilt to quilting class, a small child, etc. I usually carry it around for a while but always sell it within a year. The stories of the people who buy these bags are very interesting. At the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival a vendor, one of the 90 vendors who attended this first-time show, visited my booth a couple of times. She came back and brought her little Doug Dodd spinning wheel. It fit like a charm. I was thrilled, she was thrilled, and the little custom wheel has a very special bag to ride around in.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Young Love

I saw something very inspiring today. Sometimes we get caught up in the hectic chaos of life and forget that it's all about love. I follow a blog created by a young woman living on a little homestead in the wilds of Maine. She and her man planned a wedding on a tight budget. Running the farm and taking care of their animals always took first priority. I was amazed when I saw this video, posted recently on Anna's blog. The wedding was classy and beautiful, and OH, so romantic. Take a look at Guaranteed to give you warm, fuzzy, romantic notions!

Hint of Color

The Adirondacks may be at peak, but we have a hint of color on the ridge. In a week or so we will be at peak. I should have been doing a dozen different things down the hill, but I couldn't help myself. I ran around the upper field with the sheep and Thor, as it is his farm, not mine. He took a minute out of his patrolling duties to dip in the pond.

It's Happening...

That magical time of year that seems to sneak up on me is about to happen. The ridge behind my barn is dotted with red here and there, then the orange, then the yellow of the birch trees that look just like quaking aspens, and we are in the full blown colorscape of upstate New York. The air is clean and crisp and the stars are so vivid I could pick them out of the sky. I come alive this time of year. Suddenly the woolly animals I have all around me take on an enhanced purpose - keeping us warm in the coming harsh winter! I'm in love with wool. Sure, alpaca is nice and the animals are cute. Angora bunnies are adorable creatures with lovely, soft warm fiber. There's just nothing like wool. It's strong, it breathes, it's got crimp for elasticity like none of the exotics, and it's beautiful - dyed or in natural colors. It's this time of year that I understand why I am in the wool business. Sure, there are pressing how I'm going to feed all those wooly creatures over the winter. But God gave me two hands and 24 hours in a day, and I'm not afraid of hard work. Matt tells me I was doomed from the start, but I don't feel that way. I asked him if he reads my blog and he said he doesn't have time. So how does he know what I'm thinking? Once I asked him if he ever wonders what's going on in my head, and he had no idea what I was talking about. It's the Mars/Venus thing again. When I go out and wander among my sheep, and they gather around me and press their hot, wet noses against me, I feel a bond not many people understand. I'm in touch with that ancient bond between woman and beast. I want to spin and knit like crazy...but this weekend I have to go out once again and work to feed my sheep - and be grateful that I have the opportunity to show the world what I can do. If only there were more than 24 hours in a day...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is It Time for Bed Yet?

I had to run some errands after school today. I needed grapefruit seed extract and vitamin e for my hand creme, and labels for the jar tops. With my new job I make sure everything for the next day is in place, and tomorrow my aide will run the class. I took a personal day to resolve the car thing and get ready for the Southern Adirondack Festival. I am buying that little old mini-van but I don't see how I can get it registered before I leave tomorrow. So I have to go with Matt to Syracuse so he can pick up the NYSWDA mobile and bring it home. That way I will have the F150 to go to work on Monday and he will take the company van to NYC where he is teaching. OH, if that poor deer only knew how she screwed up my life. As soon as I can I will work on having a spare vehicle for times like this. The rental place will get more than half my pay-check tomorrow. Bummer. Matt is very happy...NY State paid $8,000 for him to do a four day prep course, and paid the $700 exam fee for him to qualify to be a Lead Safe Supervisor. He passed with a good score and he very proud of himself. He always comes out smelling like a rose. Aunt Candace is farm sitting. I don't know how to tell Izzy Mommy is going away again. The festival is only three hours away, and I will rush home as quickly as I can on Sunday. I'm tired now at 11 pm and still have to go out into the barn and feed my bunnies and chickens. I made creme from 8 to 10:30 and now I'm bushed. Turned out fabulous. I don't measure, unlike my soapmaking, which is very precise. Getting set up is a big deal, and melting the beeswax and carefully pouring in a little of this and that takes time. Filling the jars is tricky. People don't like air pockets, thinking they are being shorted, so I have to mash it in. The weather promises to be good this weekend, always a plus. This is a new festival so I don't know what the turn out will be. I like getting in on the ground floor in case the festival is successful and vendors will be scrambling to get in. Farmers around here are scrambling to get the last bales of hay in before we totally lose the weather. The pokeberries are ripe. Wish I had time to pick a few and do some dyeing. The birds will get them first, most likely.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Old Wheels

The white '01 Pathfinder I was lusting after was sold when I went to check after work today. The buyer paid $8,200 for it with a rusty bottom. Good luck. I went to check in the Ford Windstar again and the owner told me he couldn't possibly have it ready for sale in the next couple of weeks. He's swamped with work and the Ford needs a lot of things done to pass inspection. What about the Chevy I asked? Same thing. I rode down the road a bit and came to Tommy Rood's auto at the corner of Button Road. I bought a 99 Dodge Caravan with 100 K on it. No rust, new tires, everything works and it comes with an inspection sticker. It has a gray replacement hood due to a deer hit - here we go again - but I will ask the BOCES auto body boys to paint it. I had to have something right away. Friday when I drop off the rental I have to give them a week's salary. Ouch. I can put my whole sheep show set up in this mini-van, sleep in it, and even haul sheep if I have to. I couldn't put sheep in a brand new Land Rover. On a happy is going really well. I'm almost afraid to speak about it for fear of jinxing it. I over-plan and keep them working, and I teach them something every day instead of letting them work on their own all the time. Sure we have our problems and "moments" but they are a much easier group than I anticipated. Some of their stories are just so heartbreaking and sad. I let them make coffee and hot-chocolate, and, after they work for a couple of hours straight I let them throw the football back and forth across the room (shoosh, don't tell my supervisor!!)

The Wheel Thing

Sure I would love to comb Central New York for a cute little Honda van, but I don't have a lot of time. This is the busiest month of the year for me, with going back to work at a new job and shows every weekend. I got some warnings about the Windstar but I got some good news, too. Sure I would love the white Toyota Pathfinder at the corner lot near school, but it's an 01 with 100,000 miles and they want $8,200! Not exactly pocket change. What to do, what to do. Matt is sucked in so tight with work this week, and travelling next week, so I'm on my own. In the meantime I'm supposed to come up with even more fabulous product in the next couple of days. The ingredients for my hand creme are still in the boxes, and I have a sick goat. I took a personal day Friday to travel to the new Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival near Saratoga. It's five hours away and I don't know how easy it will be to set up. Lots of vendors, and the show people told me they did extensive advertising. In the last two nights I only got one bag cut out. I spent some time with my animals and this poor sick goat, who I think has meningeal worm which means the vet can do nothing but give her wormer and steriod. She can't move her back legs. Wish I could stay home with her today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Old Wheels

I think I found a new set of wheels. It's a Ford Windstar van, old as the hills but is in good condition and is fully loaded. I haven't had power windows in 11 years, a real treat with my bum left arm. It's only got 102 K on it with no rust and a lot of room inside for my farmer's market and craft show set up. I can even put sheep in there in a pinch. I can get one of those boxes for the top to put my wool in. It has the movie screen so I can show my doggies a flick while I take them for a ride. It's only a few inches off the ground so old dogs (myself included) won't have trouble getting in. The guys around the corner from Mary's farm have it for sale. They said they might be able to clean it up and inspect it for me to pick up next week. It's cheap enough that I can pay cash. They only let me drive it up and down the road, and it needs a tune up real bad, but I think it will be okay. I asked them if it would go another 100 K and they said Sure! (What else would they say?) Keeping my fingers crossed...this has been a stressful element in a stressful month. I put a chicken with potatoes in the oven to roast, and will boil a big bunch of spinach for dinner - simple homey grub to feed my heart and soul. Un-oh, my blog won't upload images! What's going on? Sunspots again?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fingerlakes Revisited

r had many memorable moments at Fingerlakes this year. Some I just have to relate. Last year a lady admired my Wild Horse bag. She stroked it, and played with it. She came back a couple of times to look at it again. Then she brought her husband to see it. He was unimpressed. I wanted to say, look, just take it and send me a check when you can, but the husband was there and I didn't want to make trouble. They left without taking the bag. I felt so bad for the woman but what could I do? This year, a woman came with someone who I thought might be her mother. They said they were here to buy the Wild Horse bag. It was the same woman! They really thought I would have the bag! I felt just awful. I had even found a scrap of that fabric and made a bag that sold at Colorscape a week ago. I said I was sorry, that I didn't have any more of that fabric and wouldn't they consider any of the new bags? They just walked away. I'll keep looking for more Wild Horse fabric, but I know fabric companies. They love to discontinue runs and make you ache for it. I turned around and there was Libby Llop with a gallon jug of fresh goat milk for me to make soap with! She brought her husband, Dr. Quentin Llop, with her to the festival and I was able to meet him for the first time. He played the violin for the crowd and it was lovely. Libby had run a 50 mile race the day before in Cleveland and come in fourth. She said it was great being out in front and having the trail all to herself, but she couldn't hold the lead for fear of hurting her horse and fell back. It was good to see her and I asked if she had any handspun hat or sweater kits for Rhinebeck. She's fabulous spinner and knitter and puts her handsome sons on the pattern. The crowd waned and soon it was time to pack up. Kimmie Cornerstone is a fabulous teamster and packer and I was ready to go in no time. We checked the map to make sure we were headed for the Thruway and set off, back to Ontario and Brookfield. I was rolling merrily along when I felt some shaking and shuddering. People started pulling up alongside me and gesticulating frantically. My cargo trailer tire had blown and I was on the rim. Having no cell phone I kept going the two miles to the service area. I dragged my trailer up to the gas station and and went inside. The not-so-friendly attendant told me I couldn't use my AAA on the NY State Thruway and that I would have to call the Thruway Authority with my cell phone for help. I said I didn't have a cell phone. He reluctantly used his phone to call for a service truck. I asked if I could call my husband and he said no way! I waited outside for half an hour or so and here he comes with a big tow truck. It took the guy 10 minutes or less to put the spare on and collect the SEVENTY -FIVE dollars from me. Suffice it to say I was not amused. Worse was the reaction of said husband when he saw the rim around the tire well was off. The word ballistic comes to mind. He wanted to know why I didn't back-track on the thruway to find the rim. No kidding. Not a happy home coming. I said I anticipated this response from him and I was not surprised. I couldn't help but think of the caring, concerned, relieved reaction I gave him when he totalled my car with the deer. But then there's the Mars and Venus thing to consider. So it was reality bites big time Sunday night. Back to the salt mines today, and out to find a car after school. The two places he sent me to near here were so sleazy I didn't want to get out of the rented car, which is going kaching, kaching every tiime I get in it. I have to find something soon or I will be in deep doo-doo. I'm going to look at a used mini-van which would enable me to put a pared down show set up in it without having to hook up a trailer. I figure I don't have to have a big sign with long posts and big tables. I can buy folding tables and have a little sign, skip the shaving blocks and carry less wool roving. Then I won't have to bother Beasty Boy to hook up the trailer, and just go when I need to. Self-sufficiency is the way to go.

Sunday At Fingerlakes

Candance and I bedded down in her little tent and chatted about the events of the day. It was not as cold as Friday night so we were a little more comfortable. I had a glass of white wine with dinner and was ready for some serious shut-eye. I drifted off while she was still talking to me, not such good company. Unfortunately I pulled one of my familiar nocturnal episodes and my eyes popped open at three. I know the drill, and at home I will get up and make some chamomile tea with milk and honey, watch some TV, and go back to sleep. But in a tent with nothing but blackness and the snoring coming from the tent next door I couldn't fall back on my strategies. I thought I would tip toe to my truck and get something to read. I found Candance's flashlight and reached for my truck key in my jeans. No key. I checked all the places, in my sports bra, in my fleece vest, still no key. Okay, I thought, don't panic. I unzippered the tent and retraced my steps on the grass, from Candace's car to the truck where I got my bedding, again and again. Back to the ladies' room, no key on the ground or floor. Back in the tent, felt all around the edge, no key. I heard Matt's voice saying, don't lose this key, it cost $80 to replace because of the chip inside, yada, yada, yada. What the &*%$ was I going to do? Searched again on the grass, praying to Yahweh, Mother Mary, all the Saints and Martyrs, and High Powers. No key. I couldn't wake up Candance as she had no sleep the night before worrying about her friend Susan who didn't show up as planned with the air mattresses. I didn't mind sleeping on the ground but that was problematic for Candace. Okay, I said, I might as well lie down and hypnotize myself back to sleep and figure out what to do in the morning. Last time I checked the time it was 6 am on Candace's cell phone. At 7 I woke up and no Candace. I jumped up and found Candace outside. Candace!! I said. I lost my keys to the truck and trailer!! Okay, she said in a calm and steady voice, let's look. She calmly opened the door to her car, reached in and pulled out my keys. What relief! Let's go for a ride and find some coffee she says. We drove away from Hemlock, looking for a coffee shope where they might have some coffee stronger than brown water. I could have used something even stronger after the night I had. No coffee shops. We turned around to go back to the gas station by the fairgrounds and bought something that resembled coffee before it was diluted. Back in the car and I find myself saying, Candace, can you take me somewhere where I can be sick? She says go in the gas station ladies room. I just make it and thankfully no one is in there. I am sick for ten minutes. Nervous exhaustion? I am in bad shape. Candace feels so bad and takes me back to the fairgrounds. We sit at the picnic table in the glorious fresh air and sunshine. She wants me to lie down in the tent but I say no, I would rather stay in the sun. We chat for a while then suddenly a little car zooms up and my favorite Tulip is marching across the grass. I embrace my dear friend Kimmie who has come from Ontario to help me for the day. I don't want to tell her how sick I am, and go about pretending that I'm fine. It works and I start to feel better. Funny, all I wanted was more coffee! I wash my face and put make up on and get my booth ready. Kim has some gifts for me, which I am embarrassed to take because she has just turned 40 last week and I didn't even know it! I give her some cash for her birthday, which she appreciates because she had to rent a car to come to the show as drug dealers stole her van and burned it up back home! The people start to come and I am feeling better and better. People are stroking the beautiful bulky handspun that Candace spun from my Mother Fiber, and a few skeins are sold to ladies who want to copy the scarf I am knitting. The day goes on and business is slower than Saturday, but still good. Most of the cheap commercial yarn is gone from the booth across from me, so they are less crowded. Funny - I just watch and wonder at all the women in line with armfulls of that crap. Sorry, but once you have knitted with homegrown handspun you just go back to the commercial stuff. It has no body or hand to it.

Very Much Yin

Some things I loved about Saturday at Fingerlakes..

Waking up in the truck, where I fit just right stretched across the back seat of the cab, and having complete privacy with the frost covering the windows. I didn't need to go to the ladies room to get dressed.

Finding Candace's little red car with a lovely tent set up right next to it. I had hoped to find her but was too busy/tired setting up the night before. Then she popped out and we sat at a picnic table watching the fairgrounds wake up and chatted. She had been in the exhibition hall until the wee hours with Lisa Merian, helping her judge fleeces. She would help me off and on all day Saturday and we would sleep in her tent that night.

Eating dinner with my fiber-idol, Dianne Edwards of Sweet Annie's Handspun. When I get my pictures back from Candace you will see the gorgeous work this woman does. I asked her to join us for dinner and we heard more about her story. I purchased a little purse from Diane that Mia took all over Europe as a money pouch. It's so beautiful I made a picture notecard out of it.

Finding Carol Crayonbox's booth before she arrived in the morning. I got to look over all her beautiful creations without her knowing it! I even picked out a bag for my "show present" to myself, and took in down and put a note on it, but she couldn't resist a cash sale and let another woman have it. I was kinda upset but she promised to make me another one. We trade wool for fabric all the time and she brought me some really hot stuff so I couldn't be too mad.

Watching the ladies try my hand creme and hand over those $5 bills for the two ounce jar. They loved it. I found some creme at another booth and it was awful compared to mine.

Being greeted by blog readers who come up to me with big smiles on their faces because they are putting a face with all the stories they've read. They have me at a distince disadvantage since they know all about me and I know nothing about them. One lady is praying for me (thanks, I need all the help I can get) and another says she starts her day with and my post. I couldn't help but ask one, Do you thing I'm too personal on my blog? She said, well, you haven't made me blush yet! I guess that's good enough for me. I explained I'm alone on the farm so much and I need someone to talk to, so I just talk to the whole world! Trouble is, so few talk back!

So many memories of the weekend just slip by and get lost in the stress and frustration of coming home and going back to work. I'll try to get more written down before they are gone, gone, gone and lost to follow up.

I love the validation of what I do, since I am killing myself to do it. Mia said, Mommy I'm going to sell your blog when you die. That might be sooner than later. She should title it, "Descent Into Madness." Sunday of Fingerlakes is coming up. It's a bit more yang than yin but must be documented for future psych majors.

Yin and Yang of Fingerlakes

I thought I would start with Friday night of my Fingerlakes weekend, which was yin (dark and negative) with a tinge of yang (bright and positive.) I had spent valuable packing time the night before making my One Last Bag. I've gotten into the habit of making a last minute bag and betting myself that it will or won't sell. Trouble is, I didn't pack properly and forgot some things I would regret - like sweaters, warm socks, fleece pants, camera battery still in the charger, etc. But that comes later. Since I was leaving from work in Norwich I got directions from various people. The one I should have listened to was from a student who said you should go home and get up to the Thruway in Utica. Instead I pulled my trailer through the middle kingdome of New York State, beautiful enough, but lost so much time searching for this turn and that, and getting caught in construction on route 81 going into Syracuse. Then the thruway was being torn up here and there, and the toll section on my exit was also under construction. It was dark and I was two hours behind schedule when I found myself covering miles and miles of unfamiliar ground. My cell phone had been dying a slow death and went kaput before the trip. The battery was ordered but had not come, so no phone calls could be made. I dispaired of getting to Hemlock Friday night at all when I spied a light in the distance - a little gas station was open! I pulled up and a woman was putting gas in her tank. It was a scene right out of Hollywood. I heard her say in a cheery voice - Sure I know where it is...follow me and I'll take you there! We pulled out and must have gone another 20 miles when she pointed and waved to the entrance to the fairgrounds. I swear she was a real angel! The ag building where I have my space was lit and open - a welcome sight after my ordeal. I pulled up and started unloading. The trip was five hours instead of the three anticipated. The agitation and worry started wearing off and fatigue set in. I knew I had to keep going or I wouldn't have time to finish in the morning. Fortunately, Robin Nistock, a local shepherd was still working and we kept each other a kind of company. The ladies came to lock up my building and decided to show me how to lock up. Did I say how nice these Western New York people are? It was after twelve when I crawled into the back of the pick up and rolled myself up in a down comforter. The temp was dropping and it got real cold. Must have been below 30, as frost was forming. I was too tired to notice and slept like a log for all of six hours. That was better than the four I got the night before. I was proud of myself for getting my booth, an epic production, together and everything out and priced, ready to open. Saturday is the big day of any festival weekend. It was to be a good one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Week Down

I have almost survived a whole week of my new job as Special Ed. GED teacher. I have eight students who are committed to earning their high school diplomas. Three are parents of babies and I am committed to doing as much as I can to help them on their way to a successful and happy life. I came home after running errands in my little rented VW Jetta. OH the German engineering, OH the rack and pinion steering! I am ruined for any other vehicle forever. If I had 12K burning a whole in my pocket I would buy it, but, sadly, I am shopping for a much cheaper vehicle...and if I could find something that would hold a couple of sheep in the back that would be even better. I have no time to car shop right now - not with a new job that requires time after school, and shows every weekend. I am headed out to Fingerlakes after school tomorrow, a three plus hour ride. Hope I get there before dark. I'll sleep in the back of the truck after setting up as much as I can. Last year I took Friday off and spent all day setting up but I can't do that this year. I'll do the best I can and just be tired and happy! One thing made me VERY happy dyed fiber that Mia helped me get shipped three weeks ago was waiting for me when I pulled in. The first thing I saw was the contents of my cargo trailer spread all over the driveway (Matt is organizing it for me) and then I spied the boxes. I was so thrilled, as I didn't think they were able to get it done in time. It is absolutely GORGEOUS!! So soft and artfully blended. I'm so proud to bring it to Fingerlakes, this wonderful little festival where I have so many good friends to show it to. I have a TON of work to do to get ready tonight, so I have to go and make dinner and do chores, and maybe finish one more bag. I'm so excited. Wool is what it's all about, and what I work so hard for. Yes, wool is the Mother of All Fibers...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gorgeous Weather

My job kept me late tonight. I have to learn the bureaucratic nightmare of GED, Special Ed. style. The paperwork is oppressive. If they saw my apartment they would know that paperwork is not my deal. Fortunately the colleagues who are teaching me the ropes (Gretchen and Roger) are very patient and helpful. I happened to walk into a Special Ed. meeting and heard my name as in "I have to tell Maggie to do this, and talk to her about that..." having to do with student behavior management, so it's not ALL about paperwork. Beam me up, Scottie, I am ready to de-planet! So I decide I can't face dinner and call for take out. One pizza and eggplant parm is $27.00. I couldn't believe it. Matt does not cook, and if I decide to beg for a little assistance with dinner we get peanut butter and honey on toast. Sometimes I need a little I coughed up the $27 for take-out. I'm trying to talk my boss into hiring Jan as a special ed aide, and she said why would she want to drive all the way from Brookfield? I told her we would carpool. That would be a big help to me. The car I am renting, due to the fact that my car was killed by a deer, is costing me half my daily salary. I better go check on the sheep. I just let them out to graze, and noticed there are lovely red apples in my old orchard, planted by the original settlers, I think. I took the doggies up the hill to take in the sunshine and breezes after being trapped in a building all day. After chores I have to sew, sew, sew. I am excited about Fingerlakes, my favorite show I think, as Kimmie is coming and Candy Cain, too. I will forget about school and this farm for a couple of days, and the hay that is not in the mow, and the winter that is bearing down on us. There is beautiful green grass across the road, but the farmer that Jan has cutting her expansive fields has to borrow a tractor, and is taking most of his as haylage as far as I can see. That doesn't require drying, like bales. The days are shorter and nights are cooler. What a poor, pitiful bunch we are here in Brookfield.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Still High

While I was getting ready to drag my weary behind out of school, the custodian cleaning my wing stopped me. He said he was so surprised and happy to see my booth at Colorscape and what I do with "the lambs and the wool." He wanted to say hello and introduce his wife and kids to me but the booth was too crowded. He said it's amazing how people have a whole other side to them that you never know about. I was so touched and happy that he said those kind things to me I thought it might all be worth it. In the meantime, another teacher must have been happy today. A local retired home economics teacher won Best Booth for her machine felting display at Colorscape. What she does is totally different from what I do, with the sheep outside my apartment door and the poop on the bottom of my shoes. She doesn't know where her wool comes from, but she knows how to work Photo Shop to make beautiful banners to hang in her booth, and she can stay home during the day and work on her little felting machine. That's okay. I like what I do, it's messy and wild and wonderful.

Back at Work

Coming back to work after a weekend festival is surreal and kind of awkward. I have a new job that requires preparation and complete focus - like real teaching! Fortunately the kids that were here this morning were well behaved and worked with me. I wish I was still riding on the high that was Colorscape yesterday, but the car factor is problematic. I rented a VW Jetta for a week until I can figure out what to do about a car. Where there is yin there is yang. Wish I could focus on all the shows I have this month, but it's never that easy. Still not enough hay in the mow and the weather is gone. I would much rather buy a tractor with my show money, but I can't drive the tractor to work. Or can I?????

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Colorscape Continued

Colorscape was very well attended again today with lots of appreciative customers and good music. Matt left his show in NJ and brought my goods to Colorscape where there was much more traffic. We packed up and were home by 7. I am definitely coming back next year. Lots of chores to do at home, and now to bed for some badly needed rest. I will have to make more bags this week, but I only have four nights to do it before Fingerlakes this coming weekend. Luckily I have soap and creme, and if the mill gets my fiber to me I'll be in good shape. I have to be up at 5 for Matt to take me to work. We have to drop off the van he rented to go to the Garden State Sheep Breeders show in NJ, which was woefully unattended. I have no idea how I'm getting home from school, or how I will go to work the next day. What perfect timing to lose a vehicle. I'm too tired to think about it.

Colorscape Chenango '09

Got my booth set up by 10 am, just in time for the gates to open at Colorscape. What a fabulous festival. So many classy, talented artists and thousands of happy, friendly patrons. The music was fantastic with people dancing in front of the stage. Many BOCES people came by, including Miss Gretchen and her friend, Amy, who were kind enough to work my booth so I could take a walk. Joe Saladino, my Rikers Island corrections officer turned BOCES substitute brought me a complete eggplant parmigian dinner so I wouldn't get hungry! All day long festival officials came by, with badges on that said "Evaluator" or "Judge" which I found very interesting. Don't think I will get chores done in time to get back by nine to the "awards breakfast." I just got everybody taken care of and bales out (can't let the flock loose to graze without someone here) and my jeans in the washer last night before I gave out and hit the sofa. Matt is at the Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival in New Jersey, which, he reports, is woefully unattended and people who come to look are not spending. Who'd a thunk it - here, in povertry stricken upstate New York, the arts are thriving. In wealthy Hunterdon County, New Jersey, people are holding on to their pennies. Very interesting...gotta get out in the barn and get this show on the road.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back to Oy-Vey

I want to forget today. Besides kid schtick in school, Matt called me in the classroom to tell me he, or a deer I should say, totalled my Jeep. My Jeep is no more and I have nothing to drive to work on Monday. Thankfully, Matt was wearing his seat belt when "the front end exploded in smoke and shards of glass and metal" and he was unharmed. He was on his way to pick up the van he rented to take half my store to the Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival in New Jersey. The State Policeman waited with him until the AAA tow truck came, two hours later, and made sure no cars or truck collided with my Jeep or the poor deer on the road. Matt came to pick me up at school in the F150 and we went to the park in Norwich to set up for Colorscape, in the pouring rain. It's still raining and might still be raining through tomorrow. What a bummer. My pop-up is not waterproof, long story, but suffice it to say the carpenter/builder purchased it and decided keeping a dry roof over me and my goods was not important at the time. I don't know why else one would purchase a pop-up if not to keep dry or out of the weather. There was a paper included which told how to order a "rain-fly" but that paper is long lost and I can't make heads or tails of the EZ-Up web site. There are tarps over my tables and the soaps are in covered boxes. Funny, I asked Matt to stop at the LLBean outlet next to his building at work and pick up a rain jacket for me. I gave AJ my nice Gortex jacket when he went hiking in the Swiss Alps and had nothing to wear. Matt got me a nice, cheap jacket, but it's not waterproof and it has no hood! I think he wants me to get wet. I have to drive over to the festival early to bring more stuff and determine what to do. Matt is heading for NJ in the wee hours and will set up in the covered pavillion. I wish I could see my sheep friends in New Jersey, but I thought staying in my new area would be cool, too. The weather on Sunday is supposed to be gorgeous, so if I can get through tomorrow without getting too wet, I'll be thrilled. Don't even want to think about a car. I stopped at a few used car places on the way home and everything is sooo expensive. I really hoped my Jeep would get me through one more winter. It was a gift from Mia, who received it as a gift herself, and very well-worn. Perfect for hauling a few sheep in the back, too. It hugged the snowy road like a wet diaper. I have to get to bed. I am working way too hard and am way too tired. When we split everything in the trailer I was amazed at how much product I have built up, and how much I have done with what I have to work with, which is very, very basic.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


My jars from The Chemistry Store and lavender from Rainbow Meadow were waiting for me when I got home. I was able to get to work on my Shepherd's Friend Hand Creme after looking after the critters. It takes a while to clear the counters in my little kitchen and get the sink empty, then organize all my ingredients and set out the jars. Three hours standing up and I'm more than ready to sit down and post. I'm setting up in Norwich after work tomorrow. I went into town to pick up my creme labels at the printer and there were many tents already up in front of the court house. Very exciting. I better get back to work. I have soap to wrap tonight but I don't think the old body is going to make it past the creme. Then there are the little bunners out in the barn waiting for their dinner. There's always another living creature around this farm waiting for attention. I'll get to them somehow, sometime. I pulled in to the parking lot at school today and a truck pulled up next to me. We got out at the same time and when we came face to face I saw she was carrying one of my bags! It was quite a thrill. She showed me how she keeps her cell phone in this pocket, her wallet in this one, and this and that. I was so tickled. It made my day before it even began.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Oy Vey or Hoo-ray?

Okay, so we are in the trenches. What a day. Left the house at 7:30 after getting up at 5 to write my "Non-Negotiables" to discuss with my GED class. Lots of new teachers to accomodate all the new students sent to BOCES from districts to get the help they need. With the Special Ed. GED job in the morning, I have to stand out in front of the school and wait for my kids come on the busses. Three girls coming from Sidney, 40 miles away, missed their bus and a fourth got on the wrong bus and went to a place called Ford's Creek. (?!) Dick (my heroic, fabulous Marine Corp. Vietnam Veteran aide) and I then take them to breakfast in the cafeteria. Everyone is nervous on the first day and nobody wants to eat. So we take them to our classroom and get underway. Thankfully, my dearest friend, supporter and mentor, Gretchen, has organized the required tests for me to give them on the first day, AND prepared some lessons in case I have empty time at the end. She has been doing GED for years and has mastered the bureaucracy of the GED system, which is vast and terrifying. Nothing is worse than a student getting ready to take the test and hopefully receive a high school diploma then finding out some paperwork didn't get done and no test this year! Confidentiality prevents me from describing some of the dramatic moments of the first day, but suffice it to say it was both satisfying and frightening at times. I crawled back into my barn home at 5:30, did some necessary animal feeding, spread some fiber out to dry, then had to lie down on the sofa. I have some salad greens and fixings for a light dinner and some mushroom soup - that's it for tonight. I have two bags half done, then night chores, then prep for tomorrow. Rain is forecast for my big Colorscape festival weekend. I have to make a LOT of creme tomorrow night, providing my jars arrive from The Chemistry Store. If the box is not on the steps when I get home tomorrow, I have to drive back into town and buy some canning jars from the market. Now you understand the Oy-Vey or Hoo-ray. Which will it be????

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Attitude Adjustment

I am tired and want to go to bed but I have to plan. Its been a long time since I had to prepare for school. I didn't sleep too well last night, from 12 to 4 maybe. My teacher friend, Rosanna, picked me up this morning at 7:30 and I got home at 6. We had to travel to our sister campus in Masonville, near Walton, near Sidney, which is an hour east of here. Teeny-tiny Walton is famous for the facility where New York City gets its water. After hugs and greetings we listened to a speaker telling us how to avoid catching swine flu. Then we broke for union meetings. Lunch was pesto pasta with pieces of cheesecake so big I was embarrassed to take one and eat it in front of anyone. Late at night in front of the TV I would have had two, but in public, forget it. Our afternoon motivational speaker from the Univ. of Vermont was terrific. My head was dropping but I had to find out from a few different people about my classroom, student list, how can I get a desk, etc. BOCES is growing, classrooms are being switched around and things are a bit chaotic right now. Rosanna and I drove over to our campus in Norwich and checked out our classrooms. My room was an art room for the last two years and is not really set up for teaching. It will take me a month or so to get it right. I had to haul GED textbooks and binders from upstairs, and move another teachers summer school stuff from the middle of my floor. There are several new teachers on the special ed staff and one is assigned to me to help with GED. I also have an aide, a Vietnam War vet who is a fantastic chair caner. Rosanna and I stopped for groceries on the way home. I dragged my behind into the barn to find it didn't burn down and the chicks are still alive in the bathroom. Let's see what tomorrow brings when I face the skralings (that what the Vikings called the indigenous people they found).

Time to Go

So hard to leave the farm after a glorious summer here. If I was able to stay home would I appreciate it as much? Hard to say. Human nature is such that we take things for granted. I will wonder and worry about my little, and big, friends all day long. I feel like I am leaving a giant day-care center unattended. Who knows what I'll find when I get home. The chickens in the bathroom are flying out of their box. I saw their mother yesterday, in the back barnyard with the angora bucks. She had one of the two chicks I left with her following her around. The eggs I recently rescued are still peeping inside. I almost threw them away this morning when I heard a protest coming from inside one of them! Kind of like Horton Hears a Who!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Wild Flowers

There are advantages to not mowing the barnyard.

Last Fleece

This is probably be the last fleece I'll get dyed for a while. It's back to the salt mines for me tomorrow, and this gorgeous weather can't last much longer. My beautiful kitties will miss the lovely fiber to nap on.


I got a call from my neighbor that a few bales of the second cut across the road were ready for us. Matt pulled the wagon up to our elevator and we started loading. It's lovely, green, and sweet smelling with strings tight enough so the bales won't fall apart when I pick them up. The best I've seen this year. Only 100 but it's a start. Matt is leaving for out of town business but when hay is ready we say OKAY. But my elevator didn't say okay. Loren fixed the motor when last it broke, but it's down again. We carried the bales into the barn ourselves.

Colorful Barnyard

I don't know who's prettier - this little Bantam rooster, or the colorful bits of fiber on the grass from all the different fleeces I've dyed and dried the past few weeks. I should pick them up but they will soon be blown away by the winter winds or covered up by snow and ice.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I found some lovely faded grey wool (still called black in the sheep world) fleeces in the shed and dyed them orange. It seemed right with the trees starting to change. I did two large fleeces today, and some spruce angora from Kim's stash. I'm building another monster run with lots of different colors. Can't help myself!!

New Chicks in Town

When I was feeding my bunnies last night I heard the unmistakable cheep-cheep coming from the ceiling in the barn. A hen had laid her eggs in a cubby in the wall! She was gone, nowhere that I could see. It was dark and getting cold. I found a box and guess what - another hatched and one is hatching! You can see it's beak in the egg. I wish Luke was here, he was so thrilled with this process. I am, too! The last thing I need is more chicks to look after, as I have 13 in another box in the bathroom and school is starting, weekends away, etc. But I couldn't turn my back on the little creatures who want so much to live. I told my long-suffering husband that we are like Puerto Ricans who raise chickens in their apartment in the ghetto. He could relate to that, being a city-boy from Newark, NJ, and laughed. Around here, all you can do is laugh sometimes!

New Bags

I had some cute new bags out at the market yesterday but not too many lookers or takers. One lady walked four blocks to get money out of a cash machine to buy a Celestial Sun bag, so I can't complain! Many Colgate parents were there, and there was traffic, but people were holding on to their money. A couple of times husbands would say don't you want some soap honey? and their wives would say no, I don't want any soap. They market is always fun and uplifting for me, as I see so many nice folks who like to chat. Gretchen from school's parents came through and bought some lime soap! Candace was there with her lovely earrings, too. I've worn a pair of hers for months...have to splurge and buy some new Candace earrings for the fall. I could tell when vendors started packing up early that they were slow, too. The vegetable man across from me, Ron Wagner, said he had the biggest day EVER at the market. Good for him. That tells me people are saving money for good food, not frivolous things. It will be interesting to see how the fall shows go.

Good Weather Continues

This lovely weather continues and will remain, hopefully, through next weekend. I have a wash tub full of black BFL X soaking overnight. I'll get it washed and dry it today. I always have the next tub full in the works. I dried wet fiber on the kitchen table in front of the wood stove all last winter. What a difference this weather makes, and I want to take full advantage of it. I have several bags on the machine. My last two days of freedom will be very busy. So much I wanted to do in the apartment that will have to wait until shows are over. November is empty, except for school and farm. I have colleagues who are eager to go back to work...not me. I hate to leave the farm...but without the job I can't have the farm - then there's the medical coverage for both of us. When Matt had his colonoscopy they only asked him for a $10 co-pay. Now his back is shot and he's in pain all the time. Just my luck. He could hardly get out of his chair at the market yesterday, even with the pills. I told him I'm going to trade him in for two 25 year olds.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Gorgeous Full Moon

I let the sheep out to graze but had to watch them with one eye while I did my chores. Had to do Matt's chores too as he was collapsed on the sofa and could hardly sit up to eat his dinner. Shortly after he was prone again. This job is taking a lot out of him. After three days back from vacation he is totally strung out. Hope he makes it to the market tomorrow. After getting everybody else taken care of for the night, and skirting two dark fleeces for washing, I climbed the hill with Izzy and Thor to get the sheep back in for the night. It was a bright as day and my body cast a long shadow on the hill. Thor likes to walk while leaning against me, just like Knut. Izzy knew why we were there and ran far up the hill to drive the sheep down. Good doggie! The beauty of the moon on the barn and hill with the sheep filing one by one into the barnyard fence was a bit overwhelming, and I had one of those "moments" when tears well up and I can't believe I'm here.

Ain't It Grand?

How wonderfully sublime, to be home on the farm, working with my fibers in this glorious sunshine with beautiful kitties, drowsy from the warmth of the wool under them, and listening to the tractor motor cutting hay on Jan's field across the road! It doesn't get much better than this!! I have to go into the village to get the mail, reluctantly, as it tends to snap me back into reality. It's ham and Mary's cabbages tonight for dinner. Those piggies really got me through a summer of no paychecks, bless those little porkers. Then I'll bag up all this fabulous Suri alpaca, left over from NJ, and put the next two pots out to dry. One is some of Kimmie Cornerstones' angora which I found in the grain room upstairs - what a find! I forgot it was there. Angora soaks up the dye like nothing else and really makes my roving special. The other is some BFL lamb, which was shorn a little short and is full of schmutz, but I worked on it all morning and think it will be okay. Not much sewing done today, but I'll try to get another bag done tonight for the market tomorrow. A couple of ladies stop by every week to see "what's new." And the Colgate kids are back. Funny, the students hardly ever come to my booth but the parents do.

Another Lovely Day

Went to bed way too early and woke up at 3:30. Angela's Ashes was on TV. It made me feel like a wealthy spoiled brat! Everything is relative in life, huh? On deck for today...get more of that fabulous dyed Suri alpaca and angora dried in this perfect drying weather. I have 6 or 7 bags cut out and one under construction while waiting for the sun to come around the other side of the barn where my drying rack is. Critters need to be fed and watered. Just took a soak in my fabulous big white bath tub. For the last two days whenever I tried to bathe there was no hot water due to washing and re-washing fiber! Nice not having to leave the farm! Like I said, everything is relative. It feels even better to be clean when you are really dirty! I have two big batches of soap to cut and put on the rack. So nice when I had Hannah and Luke to spread them out on the bottom shelves for me. I miss those little buggers, but they belong to their parents, and I am happy they have such a nice life in San Jose. Farmer's Market tomorrow and weather forecast is good. First show a week from today. Not ready but I will give it a go. Very exciting...but I sure wish the Tulip could be with me!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hidden Treasures

I was throwing some bales out to the sheep tonight - don't ask why they are not out to graze in the full moonlight - it has something to do with leaving their own 50 nice green acres for the thrill of raiding a neighbor's pasture - when I found some hidden treasures. My barn chickens, who have the run of the barn, love to hide their eggs here, there and everywhere. It is always a nice surprise when I find them. The kitties are very excited when they hear the crack of an egg, and come running from all over the barn. I can't be sure how old the eggs are, so I donate them to the Kitty Cause. The protein is good for them and they are oh, so delicious!

Thunder and His Friend

Thunder has a friend who never leaves his side, or back, that is. This little chicken rides around on Thunder and is always "talking" to him. I took these pictures in the dark tonight when the little chicken is singing her night-night song to Thunder. She makes lovely trilling and cooing sounds right in his ear. No wonder Thunder looks so happy. This little chicken will have very warm feet in the coming winter.

In For The Night

Remember all those chicks who grew up in the bathroom when Hannah and Luke were here in July? Well, they are teenagers now and living in the chicken room. I love the way everybody tries to get up into the nest boxes, high and snug as they can get, when the first hint of darkness is coming. There are no predators in the chicken room, but it still feels good to snuggle with the grownups when the barn is dark and scary.

Good News

I like good news. Doesn't everyone? I just opened an email informing me I got in the Peace Council Craft Show in Syracuse. Candace told me about it last year, too late to apply. This time I got my app in and waited the five months they take to figure out if they want you, can fit you in , etc. I am trying to find some shows that are close to home. Nottingham High School is a little over an hour from here. I took my "FOUR" NY State teacher certification tests there last year. (Still have more hurdles to go before I am permanently certified in this state!) That makes five new shows this year. Gotta get that tractor, manure spreader and FENCING purchased. Some women dream of furniture, I dream of manure spreaders and tractors. On deck for today...cut out more bags while I have a clear table to do it. When I'm tired at night after school starts I can sit and sew, but cutting and sewing is much more demanding. Wish I could find a home sewer I could hire to put these bags together for me after I cut them out. But then I am so fussy about my bags...I've never had a structural failure yet. I did leave a pin in one and heard about it from the customer! Ouch!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Bit Dim

I'm feeling a little out of sorts today. I tried lying in the sun and soaking up the vitamin D, but the flies were so bad I had to go inside. The kitties who decided to keep me company weren't helping. I was up at six cranking up the dye pots and sewing bags. This sunshine just can't go to waste. I have three bright yellow fleeces on the rack now, with purple, red, and emerald green Suri alpaca fleeces on deck. I could really use a multi-level drying rack now! I wonder if I've been inhaling the poisonous dye fumes? Anxiety over going back to school (now, that's a given!) or the upcoming shows? I've worked SOOOO hard to get ready for the shows and once I'm there I love it. It's just getting there in one piece! Sometimes I envy the people who have their booth delivered in UPS boxes from suppliers, but then I like making everything myself. Matt is home from his Yosemite vacation with Sean, happy and reinvigorated. He's back at work, training weatherization workers who will keep people warm in the winter. I found a little goat kid trapped in the silo room last night and fortunately Matt was here to help me get her out this morning, otherwise I might still be running round and round with her. Life on the farm goes on...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Found Fiber

I was rummaging in the tractor shed, looking for some "new shoes" for back to school. I found a cute pair of paddock boots that might do. Out of the corner of my eye I spied some yellow wool under a blue tarp. Low and behold, three big bags of beautiful dyed yellow roving were hidden there. They were tossed in the shed when we moved here and covered until now. AJ, Matt and I did all the hauling. I got a job a month after I moved in, then there was the year in the trailer, and I've never had time to properly sort through all this stuff. This 28 pounds of wool/mohair/angora roving represents countless hours of work and will really brighten up my Mother Fiber Needle Felting Fiber Packs. They are basking in the glorious sunshine now.