Saturday, July 17, 2010

Spring 2010

It is early March and the time is right for getting into the greenhouse. The winter long enough and the need to plant and grow tiny seeds into spring seedling. The seeding begins and the gardening season is starting to warm our winter bodies. Lifting and moving large bags of soil mixing manures and stoking yet another wood another growing season begins and we are glad for it. Our newly expanded greenhouse gives us 28 more feet of growing area and we hope it will be enough.
Our smaller hops used within the greenhouse help us to get a start on the late fall seedlings that have been dormant all winter. A little water, a lot of warmth and some TLC will get our beets, arugula, swiss chard, lettuce and kale's growing quickly.
It is always very exciting to see these seedlings emerge so quickly...hopefully it will stay warm

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???