Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

 WE are thankful for family and friends, grass grain & hay, a fine feast of people food, and cold nights with sparkles in the grass and sparkles in the sky, at the end of a very fine day.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"What Makes You Different ?"

"What makes you different than other people doing the same thing as you?"  That was the question repeatedly asked at the conference I went to in early November.

I have been thinking about this question a lot lately.  I think I relate to the question because of my history with homeopathic medicine.  Homeopaths asks, "what makes your bout with the flu different than another person's?" What is unique about your flu?  Did it come on suddenly?  Is it worse at a particular time?  What makes it better (being outside, wrapped up, moving slowly, not moving at all etc.)?

There are lots of other fiber farmers. Some that especially like natural colored sheep.  Many that process their own wool (or at least part of the process). Others also instruct in the fiber arts.  So what makes me, me, in regard to the whole fiber arts thing?  The one word answer-- chaos!  I farm chaotically, when I wash wool - chaos,  dyeing?= never the same, spinning=? _______.  Every day is different, every day a surprise.

Sometimes, when I need to be, I can be very organized BUT it takes a lot of intense focus.  Some chaos is O.K. though.   I never know what the outcome of anything will be, but who doesn't like a surprise?

No one can spin yarn that looks like mine.  It looks alive; it looks like someone tamed it just enough to  stay in a yarn and not jump back on the sheep.

If enthusiasm was more valued, I would be golden.  Unfortunately, predictability and production seem to be what our society looks for.

Maybe that is why I relate to kids, and they seem to like me.  Kids generally think surprises are fun.

I like things that can be many things.  I like clothes that can be worn in different ways for different occasions or different moods.  I want to produce wearable art that will live up to this.  I want to make art that is interactive.

FARRR AWAY is the fiber arts component of Cabin SpringFarm.
and product will be under the AWAY label, because at Cabin Spring Farm there is plenty of Adventurous Wool and Alluring Yarn.

Maybe the 2 word answer to the question posed at the conference is Chaos and Surprise (or is that 3 words?).

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Not Yet

Not yet, but it feels like it may be coming soon.

Today was a cold November day.  There was some good sun, so I thought it would be nice in the fiber studio but it was still cold especially on my hands, so when a fiber friend came over we decided to spin by the wood stove in the house.

I hadn't spun in a few weeks and when I sat down to spin, I couldn't keep the wheel going.  I finally figured out it was the chair I was sitting in.  Strange.  Because of the way the seat sunk a little, it changed how my leg muscles worked.  At least it didn't take me too long to figure out what was going on.

Meanwhile, the sheep and Cher enjoyed grazing by the cabin again.  Now that the upper pasture has little grazing left, and cabin dwellers are gone until spring, the animals have been spending more time in the lower pasture and around the cabin.

We decided not to have guest in the cabin over the winter because winters around here are just too unpredictable and access to the cabin can be difficult in any kind of wet and cold.  It will be nice to have a few very quiet months.

John has some furniture and cabinet building lined up in his shop and I have plenty of fleece to spin, whether in the fiber studio or by the wood stove, so I guess we are ready for whatever comes, though I would like to drive some fence posts before the ground gets too cold.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


 When I was in Oregon, I was thinking about how I should find a good shell to make a diz out of.  (I can't believe spell check doesn't recognize diz as a word).  Anyway, as I was thinking about finding a good shell, I approached the great and beautiful Pacific Ocean and the first thing I saw on the sand was the perfect stone on the table to the left.

As usual, I was presented with what I was looking for plus a whole lot more.

I was looking for something strong to drill a hole in and I received a smooth, wonderful to hold, stone with not one but several smooth holes already in it and they were different sizes.  It is amazing,  I love using it.  

Just before I left for Oregon, my friend who gave me the marigolds, brought me some more.  Another nice gift.  Lyndy came over and gave me a gift of time.  She and I plucked the petals from the marigold flowers leaving the seeds and seed casing.  This time the wool came out a more expected color, a nice orange.

And here is some of Amelia's fleece.  First, its lustrous white, second, the bright yellow of the previous batch, and below the other two, the new orange.

Fall has many gifts for us and especially some wonderful colors to feast our eyes on.

It is interesting to see the colors next to the natural color of the fleece.

I love Charlotte's fleece, but I am not thrilled with the overall gray it comes out when it is combed.  It is nice dyed but I don't want to dye it all when it is so wonderful in its natural state.

I will have to find another way to prepare it.  

I love all the gifts from nature.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

So Much for Kindness

The dead mouse in the trap in the cabin this morning probably doesn't think I am so kind.  But he/she led such a wonderful life here at Cabin Spring Farm until last night.

A wonderful 1800's Cabin to live in barely disturbed, dark drawers with plenty of room to bring and eat his nuts on top of some nice dishtowels.  Even fresh soap to nibble on.  And a late night snack of peanut butter just outside it's favorite closet.  OOPs.

I'm sorry but I tried relocating some of them.  There were at least 6 that I shook out of the big vermiculite bag in the garden shed that ran off into the woods.  I paid good money for that bag and I wasn't going to toss it.  They eat the soap everywhere.  I think we have been very kind.

One of the main problems is that Blake (the resident black snake) and his smaller friends have gone to sleep for the winter and mice don't hibernate, they just invade our home, John's cars, the cabin and the barn closet.

Enough is enough my kindness wore thin.  But, I didn't put out poison.  No, I put out a late night treat of peanut butter.  Sure, it was on a trap, but it wasn't disguised.  He/she could have resisted.  I have been resisting treats.  There is a whole bowl of Halloween candy on the counter and I haven't had a single piece.

I was listening to Philosophy Talk a few days ago and the topic was "Morality and the Self".  They were saying that sometimes if people consider themselves moral then they will allow themselves to be amoral (like cheating on their taxes) and think that is O.K., like they saved up their brownie points and cashed them in.

Is that what I have done?  Saved up my kindnesses and then bam?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Kindness of Others and Ourselves

Karen blogged about the "kindness of others" the other day and she is probably one of the kindest people I know.  I think it is important to celebrate the kindness of others but I also think it is important to recognize that we ourselves are kind.

For instance, today, I took 3 more buckets of sheep manure to one friend and visited another.  This evening I gave the sheep some hay for a treat and took a 6 year old friend to the community table for dinner. I even, finally, called a sister in law and good friend I have been thinking about calling for a week now (unfortunately she wasn't home).

The friend I gave the manure to gives me plants and seeds, the friend I visited with, lent me her pack when I went to Oregon, the sheep give me lots of fleece, and my 6 year old friend tells me many important facts and keeps me up to date with the latest robot toys.  My sister in law mailed me back a library book I left at her house and sends me notes and all kinds of things.

I have had a life full of kindness.  I believe that kindness breeds kindness and sometime unkindness breeds kindness.  This make the world full of kindness.

 Kindness is one of those magical things that happens everyday, if you are noticing, and that is something to look forward to each day.

What kindness will tomorrow bring, I wonder.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Vacation Over

I am home from Oregon.

It was great to see my brother, check in on the Pacific Ocean, and just take a break from the day to day.

  My brother looked great. He really likes living in Oregon and loves retirement.  We had alot of fun and he helped me test the strength and flexibility of my recovering ankle.

The first day I was there, we climbed a mountain that had some very steep stretches and lots of rocks to maneuver at the top.  I must say, I was very pleased with how well I did.  A couple of days later, I was plowing through loose sand dunes and jogging on compact sand.  It was foggy and drizzly when we arrived at the ocean and you could hardly see where the gray of the ocean stopped and the gray of the sky began.  We spent Halloween night in a small town on the coast and saw a few kids in costume.  Our waitress that night was dressed as a zombie princess and she looked SO spooky I could hardly take my eyes off her.

The next morning we knew we were in for a "postcard day".  We drove a little further up the coast stopping at a few more beaches and had breakfast in a small fishing village where sea lions were barking.

Every day we saw sheep, and as my brother says, "nobody in Oregon has 9 sheep".  They all have hundreds grazing on many acres of short grass.  I worried about them;  I couldn't tell if they rotated pastures and there was no barn or trees for them to rest in out of the sun.  Maybe there are shade structures in the summer.

Today, my first day back, I decided I better take better care of the sheep at Cabin Spring Farm.  I let them go down into the pasture below the driveway for better grazing while I took down the electric wire fencing.  We are going to put up woven wire to divide the upper pasture into three rotational pastures.  It was just too difficult to keep the electric wire in good working order so the sheep would not tear it down to get where they wanted to go.  They just had no respect.

While I was up in the pasture, I noticed it was much easier to get about and I felt so much stronger than before I left.  I also noticed that the sheep and Cher have a much nicer view than their Oregon counterparts.

Vacation over and back at it;  I am ready to tackle new projects with new strength.