Thursday, April 16, 2015

final farmers market

Nice short season for the Princeton winter farmer's market. Today was the last day until December. Now they will move outside and go to a weekly schedule for the summer, but that's just too much for me to undertake, plus it is way more difficult to sell wool outside in the summer. So this was it, but thanks to the beautiful weather outside today, it was busy with lots of people moving through.

Birds-eye view of the merch

Including a blogging friend, Liz Adams, who though we live not too far from each other, I hadn't met in person before today. What a pleasant surprise to put a face to the name! We have communicated via blog comments for a while now and she was just as lovely in person as she is on her blog. She beat me to getting a blog post up about our meeting, so you can read all about it from her perspective here. It was wonderful meeting her, and I was especially happy to hear that her cat liked the catnip ball. I think the photo of Marigold laying all glazed over and catnipped out is my favorite.

Next up in visits was my college freshman, who has biked down from campus to see me each day of the farmer's market, making it well worth doing for that reason alone. Today he stayed and chatted for a nice long while, and even helped me pack up the table at the end of the day, resulting in a record time for getting everything together.

Next up: Maryland Sheep and Wool! Thanks to this preparation for this market, I am in decent shape at this point, even if my "to do" list is still a mile long. But now I can cross off "Meet Liz Adams in person"!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

sheep roles

Poor sheep. Forever getting roped into being extras in whatever crazy project the boys come up with. Prom-posals, photo essays, and tonight a video for Spanish class. (What is it with Spanish class?)

I was trying to take a picture from a unobtrusive distance, but if you look carefully you may be able to make out the kid to the right, covered in an entire bag of cotton balls from my husband's office, pretending to be a sheep. The dog was just as confused as the sheep.

A trail of cotton balls was left all over the farm. We will be mowing cotton balls for the next two months at least.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

spring has sprung

All the signs are present: daffodils are blooming, grass is greening, and I am dyeing yarn and making dryer balls to get ready for Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Best sign of all: there is warm sun to dry things out. That certainly makes the process quite a bit easier, not to mention more pleasant.

The weekend was spent trying to make some progress with getting the new roving ready, though unfortunately I haven't made it to my second round of skirting fleeces yet. I will get there before Maryland and have them with me to be sold in the booth or go to the processor, I am determined!

Finally returned to my office chair after an afternoon/evening in the basement (actually the whole day, come to think of it) dyeing and weighing and found this on my desk chair:

Guess she figured that she would use it if I wasn't. Too bad I can't put her to work updated my long-neglected farm website.

Friday, April 10, 2015

spring break

My writing mojo seems to have taken a break along with the local schools. Plus too much work at the office, unfortunately for the one kid left at home during his spring break. On the days that I wasn't working, I made sure we had adventures together, one of which was the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia yesterday to see the "Art of the Brick" exhibit by Nathan Sawaya. I went because of my Lego fan but ended up enjoying it far more than he did, I think. The artist had many thought-provoking things to say about the nature of art and creativity and media. The fact that he is a recovering lawyer also resonated!

Today was Terzo's last day of break, so I took him to the office with me for a few hours and then dropped him off for a few special hours with his brother at the university campus, very near my office, while I returned to work.

That joyful smile is an indication of just how excited he was to finally have the chance to bike around campus with Primo, something he has wanted to do since the day Primo moved in. When I returned to pick him up, he announced it was "one of the best days of his life." How lucky we are to have Primo so close, and even more so that he graciously puts up with our frequent visits; we were there just last night for dinner to celebrate Terzo's 11th birthday.

Meanwhile, Mr. Japan is searching out sheep for me on the other side of the world.

My brother is using an app called "Cluster" to share photos privately with the family back home. It has been a great way to view their vacation as they travel around. Secondo seems to be having a fantastic time. Prayers for a safe return on Monday; he is missed terribly!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

one less easter boy

Happy Easter! Just two  boys in suits this year...

And not the two you expected, I bet. We were lucky to have two instead of just one; Primo came home yesterday, just in time to hunt for his Easter basket this morning.

The third?

Secondo is halfway around the world, in Japan with my brother and his family, and by all appearances having a ball. The Easter photo was forwarded to me by his older brother, off Snapchat. We got the obligatory "hey, we got here safely" e-mail two days ago and then not much since. The stories will have to wait until he returns and then we will have to drag them out of him in typical teenage boy fashion.

We had a lovely Easter dinner without him but missed him terribly. Terzo was deputized to collect a few Easter eggs from the church hunt for his brother.

Plenty of drive and enthusiasm there, and even a little air time in pursuit of his prey...

But I'm not sure any eggs will be left when his brother returns in a week.

Friday, March 27, 2015

fleece return

Just a little over two months after we dropped off the 2014 fleeces at Sweitzer's Fiber Mill, guess what came back today? 

A little hint: our mailman, who is easily annoyed by any amount of extra effort, was very, very annoyed.

This box weighed a ton, and was bulging at the seams, but ALL the roving was in there, vacuum packed to an amazing degree. Heather had called earlier in the week to let me know that the box was on its way, and to open up the bags and let the roving breathe as soon as it arrived.

The boys and I were greatly amused by the sound of roving taking its first gasps of air.

OK, so we are rather easily amused. But all told: this is what came out of that box!

Hats off to Heather for getting it done and back to me exactly as promised. The mill did a beautiful job and I am well pleased. Look at this grey (and my weirdly wrinkled hand), the combined fleeces of sisters Jasmine and Kevyn!

Can't wait to get working on it this weekend—right after the 4-H livestock symposium Saturday, at which the club's lambing equipment video will make its debut, and Sunday, when we will be shearing, and starting the whole process over again.

Though I am bound and determined that I will be dropping our fleeces off to Heather at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in May, and not repeating this particular debacle.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

almost to shearing

When we woke up on Saturday and the heft of Friday's snowstorm was fully apparent, we were once again very grateful that we didn't shear on February 28 as planned. So were the sheep, I'm sure.

No lambs for us this year, so there was no reason to do it early. It could wait. But now, it's time. I don't care that we are supposed to get more snow showers on Saturday. They are getting sheared on Sunday, and that's that.

Today we moved them up from the larger back pasture, where they have been for months, to a smaller pen near to the barn, so we will have an easier time getting them inside on Sunday (unless it does in fact rain/snow, in which case we will move them in on Saturday to keep them dry—must have dry sheep for shearing).

It was a nice surprise to see their dear faces when I pulled into the driveway after running errands today. They have been out of sight in the back for so long! That is Holly and her daughters Lucy and Molly, not necessarily in that order, playing the roles of the Three Fates in the Shed.