Friday, March 28, 2008

March 28th, 2008

This is my first post and I have been sitting at my computer half of the day striving to come to a complete finish with the initial stage of this blog and I am almost there. Much easier than i had anticipated. It is the 28th day of March and it is snowing again. We are ready for spring,some sun and some brown muddy ground would be nice. The animals are ready too. We have just received another 6"s today making our yearly total somewhere over 160"s of snow. It is time for a change.
I have spent a good part of the winter gathering information for The 8th Annual Maine Fiber Frolic
It has gotten easier over the years promoting this small fair for the state of Maine.Everyone on the steering committee knows the routine and truly does volunteer their free time to this non-profit sheep & wool event. I am lucky to work with a small group of committed fiber fanatics who still laugh and have fun!. Until this year we had been meeting once a month on Fridays in Freeport, Maine at Friendly's to discuss the Fiber Frolic. This year we have managed to get-er-done mostly over the computer. What would we do if we had to go back to telephone, answering machines and snail mail?
I am pleased to announce the gathering of some very talented fiber artists ,Sharon Costello of Black Sheep Designs will be our guest fiber artist and Aloisia Pollack of Maine our guest master knitter. We will bring many other talented fiber artists to Maine's Windsor Fairgrounds on June 6th & 7th to teach 15 varied fiber workshops. Please check out our schedule of classes

Sunshine Daydream

It is snowing again in western Maine. I think it has snowed almost every day since this month began .I believe we have over 160"s of snow on the ground and it is the longest and snowiest winter that most of us can remember. This has been the winter of finding great books, spinning all the odds and ends from the leftover rovings, skiing and shoveling, shoveling, shoveling.

I look up at my horse's nose when I feed her, watch my sheep hop over the fence to get whatever treats they know I am carrying. My fence lines are non-existent! We have learned to be very creative this winter with keeping our sneaky Merino ram away from our lovely ewes who do not need to get pregnant. We have 15 mostly Merino sheep, corriedales , columbia-finn, and one romney -finn. All of our sheep are raised for fiber only ........we do not eat our sheep. I also keep angora rabbits who have beautiful fiber to mix in with my Merino wool.
We have a sheep shearer that comes to our farm once a year in April to shear our sheep. I use Matilda sheep coats on our best wool sheep. At shearing time the coats come off, go in the washer and get put away for next fall. After each sheep is shorn the wool is placed on a mess-wire wood framed table. The wool is 'skirted' or all the manure and debris is removed. It is then stuffed into a clean plastic bag , placed in the studio out of the sun and waits to be delivered to our local small fiber processing mill. Some of my wool I clean in an old fashioned, still working wringer washing machine. But with 15 or more fleeces it is too much wool scouring to do and so I leave that to the experts and I spend more time dyeing the wool. I sell all my natural dyed wool at several festivals throughout the season.
I love to use native plants that are plentiful and easy to gather. Spring plants consist of apple bark (light red), spring green ferns, St. John's~wort (yellows) and lichens that have been soaking all winter (purples-reds). Most spring colors are light yellows but it is fun to get a new fleece washed and colored before summer. My favorite natural dye book is ~A Dyer's Garden by Rita Buchanan.
Summer may never come until July this year but today while it is snowing out, with no sunshine in the forecast, we will dream about those spring flowers and those beautiful natural colors from the plants in our landscape.

'Knot'-Romney /Finn gift from fiber friend Diane Knowlen

'Knot'-Romney /Finn gift from fiber friend Diane Knowlen
The Winter of 2008

Winter of 2008

Winter of 2008
Where is the fence???