Friday, June 22, 2018

Fiber Camps

This summer's fiber camps were very different.  For one thing, we had more varied ages but not on the young side.  This time we had a mother/daughter duo, a grandmother, and a great grandmother who started knitting again after 40 something or was it 60 years.

We had SO much fun.

Our New Toy

Wednesday was the farmers market, Tuesday our new tractor came.  Today, I bushhoged the lower upper pasture- another chore checked off the list.

The exciting thing about this tractor is that it has a front bucket and a BACKHOE.  I have thought backhoes were really cool since I was about 5 maybe.  It was sad to sell the big blue Ford tractor but one can have too many tractors (not spinning wheels but tractors, yes).  Having a bucket and a backhoe makes more projects possible.  I think that is a good thing.  We shall see.

John scraped the driveway to his garage.  That had been completely covered over in weeds.  I want to dig the puddle pond a little bigger, John wants to make steps down to his garage,  he is also going to dig out the fire pit and make it nice.  I want to rearrange some soil by the compost pile and dig out some poison ivy.  I would also like to level some areas in the barnyard.  We may need to make a list with priorities.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Catching Up take *%(&$ (Farmers Market)

With SO much time between blogs I could title them all Catching up. Maybe I will just do several at once and release them a few days apart.

I always find that it is easier if I start with yesterday and work my way back.  Yesterday, I went back to the farmers market after being away for two weeks with fiber camps going on.  It was a hot day with just enough breeze to be comfortable most of the time.  Lots of people coming through and again many interesting conversations.  It is fun when there are so many people interested in what I do.

Yesterday's theme at my booth was "the insulating properties of wool".  Wool is not just for winter.  I wet felted some sleeves for milk bottles because so many people get their milk share every week.  This was a suggestion from a couple of customers.  I tested them on the front porch in the shade with two bottles of water next to each other, one with a sleeve and one without.  After an hour, the one with the sleeve was almost 10 degrees cooler than the one without and only slightly warmer than when I put the sleeve on.  Unfortunately, the milk people came by with very brief conversations about something else.  At least I won't have to make more before next week.  Who would think that on a hot day the best seller would be dryer balls.

I have been in the research and development phase of farmers market products for awhile and have finally decided what it is that I want to bring to the market.  For the most part, I will be producing "fun functionals".  (pictures soon)

I put some mulch fleece on one of the potted lavender plants that one of my market buddies was selling and a few minutes later a master gardener that was going to be doing an herb workshop came over and bought an ounce to give her students with  their take away herb plants.  (future customers)

I am not making millions yet but John loves it when I come home and tell him I made a lot of great contacts.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Catching Up

Where to begin...  Spring waited until I got back from the road trip out west but then immediately sprang.  So much to do.

The sheep were sheared on Tuesday but they have figured out who is who and barnyard life goes on.  We lost two of the new goslings at a time when I was feeling particularly sensitive about all the sadness that is going on in the world but I was able to use my accumulated spiritual resources, put things into perspective, acknowledge the world's grief, and reset.  I wonder if the animals think they don't have control of what life brings OR do they believe that everything that happens they brought to this life for a reason. 

Yesterday was the 3rd week of the outside farmers market and a very interesting day.  The day started off slowly and then so many interesting people came by to talk about wool and spinning and all sorts of things.  There was a woman visiting from England who told me that many things that get delivered from farmers are wrapped in wool to keep the goods cool.  Then she can send the wool back the next week or put it on her garden as mulch.  Many sheep in England and the English have lots of ingenuity and common sense in my book.  Then there was the woman that has a wolf (3/4 wolf blood).  She has a significant amount of fur from him which she would love to have made into a blanket.  Another woman wants to start spinning again but need to get her wheel from Richmond.  She may bring it over to fashion a new drive belt and see what else it needs.  One woman bought 3 skeins of yarn from Gretta's fleece.  Was she the one that wanted to be added to our spinning group or was that someone else?  Can't remember which story goes with who.  Many interesting conversations and a decent monetary day.

Research continues on natural dyeing so many beautiful pictures should find their way to this blog in the next few weeks.  There are three jars with 3 different lichen soaking in the fiber shed.  They have to ferment for at least 3 months (that will be Fiber Camp in June).  

Spinning, wet felting, and weaving have also taken some of my time lately.  I continue to give Mira her apple cider vinegar most days.  It seems to be helping with her arthritic symptoms.  She didn't like the golden raisins soaked in gin remedy; to sticky. 

The above was written 4 days ago.  Since then Helena hatched out 3 goslings but one went missing the first day.  Now we have 4 adults Sal's gosling that is about 2 +weeks old and Helena's 2.

Sal's gosling is very interested in the little ones.  He is already 4 times bigger than they are.  Hard to remember him being so small.  They all travel  in a group but sometimes Cirrus pecks at the little ones and then Prince steps in.  The older gosling hangs out a lot with Cirrus and one day went after Prince when Prince was going after Cirrus.  That was pretty funny. 

Time to take pictures of the goslings before they are all full grown. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 27, 2018


Donald, Annie, and Little Gray look like they are fast friends in this picture.  It is always interesting to see who makes friends with who and why.  Since Little Gray's mom pushed her out on her own, she has decided to make friends with all the barnyard animals.  The geese, however, harass her whenever they feel like it.  They are especially difficult since the arrival of this years goslings.  Cirrus and Prince won't let anyone get a close look.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


"AWAY" at Cabin Spring Farm stands for Adventurous Wool Alluring Yarn. The first half of April I was away having a spectacular adventure.

Rosemary and I took a road trip in the green VW Eurovan weekender that I call my greenhouse.  It has been doing close to home travel and hauling for the most part the past year but we decided to take it for a road trip to Tucson Arizona and back.  We packed a spinning wheel, drum carder, drop spindle, hand carders, wet and needle felting supplies, a large pot for dyeing and plenty of wool fleece and alpaca along with all the camping gear.  And of course we took our knitting.  We also took cameras and watercolor supplies.  We used almost everything we took with us.

We carded wool made some felt and dyed it with native plants we found along the way, where we could collect them.  We also spun yarn to add to the dye pot.  We took a 2 hour introduction class on Saori looms in Tucson.  The whole trip was a "Fiber Extravaganza".  But we also took short hikes in the desert, learned to bake bread over coals in a cast iron dutch oven and made pizza inside two enamel plates.  We camped in the desert, in high country along the Rio Grande, and water saturated ground in the midwest, in State and Federal campgrounds for the most part.  We drove through amazing canyons that we were not expecting and also some unexpected snow on the grasslands.

All the while we were traveling, John was taking care of the farm.  Every time I checked in he would report he had the same number of animals he started with.  What an amazing guy I live with.

In case anyone is interested, here are a few pictures of our adventures.

White Sands New Mexico

A morning sunrise in the desert.

Catalina range in Arizona


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Marking Time

On the farm, you know it is Spring when the animals are not as influenced by a can of grain.  They would rather stay out and eat grass.  Yesterday, I had to use 2 days worth of patience because none of the animals wanted to be where I wanted them to be.

Four and a half bales of hay until my road trip.  Rosemary and I are celebrating 50 years of friendship.  We are hoping to take a spinning wheel with us and some fleece.  We want to see what different plants out west are used for dyeing.  We will take a couple large pots to steam over the camp fire while we are roasting marshmallows.  Not your typical vacation but perfect for Rosemary and me.

Most people think that rooster crow at the crack of dawn.  Actually, roosters crow throughout the day and way before dawn.  They are not good markers of time.  The lumber mill is a much better marker of a new day.  They start up at 5:45 week days.

It used to be you could mark time by when flowers and trees bloomed, especially daffodils.  They used to be a first marker of Spring but a few years ago, they bloomed in January and this year it was mid February.  The peach trees are just breaking bud and 2-5 inches of snow are on the way.  At least the temperature shouldn't be damaging.