Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wabi-Sabi at Cabin Spring Farm

Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional
Leonard Koren

Today, my assignment  to find my inner monk and artist, was to go out and take pictures in the tradition of wabi-sabi.  Here is my project.

I can't seem to get a slideshow to work so here are a few selected photos from the slideshow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Ah, the opportunities when things overlap.

  Monday there were 10 kids here, in the house, for a "no school fiber day".  Since there was no school Tuesday either (teacher inservice), we had a second day of fiber fun with 5.  Monday afternoon, I received an email from a fiber artist in the Lynchburg area, asking if she and two friends could tour the farm on Tuesday.  I hate to turn down anyone for a farm tour, especially a fiber enthusiast, so I explained the situation and invited them to come see our fiber art in progress and take a peak at the rest of the farm.  I found out that the reason they were coming to Lexington was to put some felt hats in the Stitchin Post, a local fiber arts store.  I asked the artisan if she would come by the farm first so we could see her hats.  She did, everyone tried on hats, we took pictures, and had a great time together.  The women came just before we broke for lunch so I was able to give them a quick tour while the kids and Beverly ate lunch.

I am so glad I went with the overlap plan.  The kids had a lot of fun, the Lynchburg ladies enjoyed the farm and said they would be back, and I met someone else who wants to explore tapestry weaving.  You just never know what will happen when you don't allow yourself to get in the way of the overlapping plans of the Universe.

When we lived on the Cape,  MANY people came to visit in the summer.  We never said "no" to anyone so there was often an overlap of some family members and friends that did not initially know each other.  I remember one visitor once remarking that it was always fun to see who would be overlapping their visit.  One summer, Lyndy commented to me that there were only 2 days, I think it was,  the whole summer that no one was at our house.  I had not realized.  No one ever wanted to be entertained so it was easy.

Distaff Day at Bowerwood last week went great!  We had 11 spinners and a few spectators.  When I arrived to open the doors and set up some chairs, 3 people I did not know, were just arriving for an indoor picnic.  One introduced herself as one of the founders of Boxerwood.  She told me they came for a walk around and a picnic and heard the spinners were going to be there, so they would stay out of the way.  I insisted they use the big table in the area between where we were and the kitchen.  At that time, I had no idea how many spinners would be there, but was used to overlapping and knew it was the right thing to do.

A photographer from our weekly paper, came by to take some pictures of us spinning and turns out she is an old friend of one of the picnickers, so they catch up.  Overlapping, is an interesting phenomena.

Here are a few pictures from "no school fiber day".   The repeat campers are getting older and taller and  I remember when they were as young as the camper in the last picture.

Such concentration, I love it.

Friday, January 16, 2015


My fingertips are sliding off the keys as I write this morning.  Mira, Zorra, Amelia, and Charlotte made sure to grease up my fingertips before I left the barnyard.

Mira and Zorra especially love to get scratches, and will leave food to come get some if I am in the area.  Charlotte and Amelia will come when the food is gone.  This morning all four were lined up facing me to get their heads, necks, and shoulders rubbed.

Mira has downy fleece below her chin and around her face.  She has a little grease along the back and sides of her neck.  Charlotte doesn't seem as soft in the downy areas but she doesn't like the same kind of touching either.  Zorra is soft all over and not as greasy.  She is the only one of the Finn or Finn crosses here that like to be touched, and she will let me part and look deep down into her locks and dream of spinning her fleece.  Amelia, likes a lighter touch and not as long.  She is the go to sheep if you have cracked fingertips in the winter as she has the most lanolin in her fleece.

I have been working with the fiber that came back from the mill.  They use gentle soap to clean the fleece rather than the chemicals that commercial mills use and do a fine job -but- there is not much lanolin left.  This year I think I will try to process more of the fleece here.  I can't believe it will be time to shear again in 3 months.  I will use the suint method again this year as I had great results with it, last.  It took some of the grease out but not all so there is some of the wools natural water repellant left. 

Some spinners like to spin in the grease and wash the wool after.  I will try more of that too.  So interesting to explore.  One day still, I would like to make some good quality lanolin.  It is kind of like making maple syrup out of maple sap, which I have done.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Camera

This morning the local camera club had an outing at the library where they invited people to come in with their cameras and have individuals from the club sit down one to one and answer ?s.  So I went and learned some good things.  

My biggest problem with my cameras is that I don't have them when I want them.  This afternoon, however, as I walked down to feed the animals, I put my camera in one of my reusable shopping bags so I could put it over my shoulder and not bang it around.  When I was 1/2 way down to the barn I saw Cirrus and Sal practicing higher flight and they came over the fence again.  This temporary fence in the picture is a good 10 feet out from the barnyard fence.  They flew over everything but I was so caught up in it all that I didn't think to take the camera out of the bag.

I thought I would go ahead and feed the sheep their hay and see if the geese would fly back over but they started walking down the driveway.  I started walking back down to the gate and called them and they turned around and came walking back.  They walked back through the gate and went to their run and went right in- enough excitement for one day.

Then, I took my camera out and the sheep came to have their pictures taken.  Cirrus must have squawked

and Gretta and Zorra turned to see what he wanted.  Look at their beautiful fleece.

 The sheep don't like most of the tools I carry around.  But for some reason they love the camera and will often get too close for a picture.

Good geese hanging out in their run.  Unfortunately the puddle pond and their tub are frozen hard so
they are back to taking baths in a bucket of water again.  That is what I really wanted to get a picture of, why I brought my camera down to the barnyard, but I had to deal with a frost heavy under one of the doors to the geese pen

 and check the sheep's minerals and take some nice pictures of Amelia and Mira and Sarah blending in in the back.

I have a new way to take videos of the sheep and geese with my new mini iPad, but will have to wait until next week to try that.

I was so excited about the new things I learned about my camera this morning but now I will have to keep taking pictures so I don't forget all the things I learned.

I will try to remember to take some interesting pictures of everyone spinning tomorrow at our 3rd annual Distaff Day spinning.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Who Will Come?

It occurred to me a few days ago that if John was going to be away for a week, I should have a  week long Ruckus.

Ruckus, at Cabin Spring FArm, is when people come and play with fleece and equipment and create and try out things they have been curious about.  It is about finding out what you can do with wool.

We usually have a Ruckus Day once a month for 3 or 4 hours.  When it is cold, however, we tend not to have Ruckus Days since the Fiber Studio is not heated.  BUT the house is heated and John isn't here so we can bring whatever we want into the house for a few days and surround ourselves with fiber projects.

I just thought of this great idea a few days ago.  I dashed off an email to ninety some people on my Virginia fiber enthusiasts email list, put up 3 flyers in town, and talked to a couple of people but tomorrow is the 1st day and I have NO idea if anyone is coming at all this week.  I suggested that people let me know if they knew ahead but I don't know if people know ahead unless they can't make it.  It could be an interesting week.

As much as I would like people to come, it doesn't really matter since I have decided to commit to doing a great deal of fiber work this week.  It is just more fun to have others to play with.

After a mild day today (around 60 degrees), it is going to be 35 for a high tomorrow.  At least it is supposed to be sunny, finally.  And the weather inside will be just fine, by the fire.

I don't know who will come, but I do know it will be the right people.  Can't wait.