Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Putting on My Big Girl Pants

Today was a real farm day for me. It started out with shearing my sheep, spraying and seeding the back pasture and dealing with something I did not want to deal with. But sometimes we just have to suck it up and get 'er done. While trying to get the extension cord down for the sheep shears, I noticed what I thought was a dead snake caught in the wire and netting up above. But while pulling the cord, the snake moved. Now everyone who knows me, knows how afraid and what a phobia I have of the 's' word. Growing up in South Dakota, the prairie is riddled with rattle snakes and I have come upon them in the wild. Even here on Sugarloaf Mountain, I run into them while hiking and biking. I have never been bitten, but that doesn't prevent me from being scared to the dickens of them. 

Whenever I tell people I hate snakes, and I don't care what color they are, 100% of the time they reply, "Well they keep away rats and mice." I WOULD RATHER HAVE RATS AND MICE!!! I can kill them easily with poison, grab my son's defense lacrosse stick, scoop up the dead rat, run down the driveway and expertly throw the rat across the road. I did that 16 times so I know what I'm doing! I have been known to stab a rat with a long pointy stick till dead too. True story. I know that sounds inhumane, but that rat had just moved into my brand new kitchen and it escaped the trap twice, so I had to show it the exit.

Anyway, back to the snake story. Since there was no one home but me, I called my neighbor, Joey, just home from college, to come over and assist. He's not too keen on snakes either, but I said I would go up the ladder and he was here for moral support and to catch me if I fell off the ladder or take me to the emergency room if the snake bit me. (Another neighbor got bit by a black snake and his hand got so infected, he was in the hospital for 3 days!) So I went out armed with a ladder, scissors, wire clippers and salad tongs. Believe it or not, the salad tongs were very necessary! I had really thought this through. But this wasn't my first rodeo. A long time ago another neighbor (well actually this happened twice) called me over to extract a snake from this black netting that was covering her strawberries. What is it with this netting?! It seems snakes are attracted to it. Anyway, short story is tree pruners were involved. And not for the netting. 

I made many attempts cutting away at the netting, where it had gone under the scales and wrapped very tightly around the body. Oops! I got the head out without finishing up the snake/wire/netting knot and it kept lashing out with mouth open. I screamed like a girl many times, said the 'f' word a lot, apologized to Joey and held the head shut with my salad tongs while I tried to cut the netting with my left hand. I don't do well with scissors in my left hand but didn't trust that hand to hold the snakes' mouth shut. I then had to yank on the body to undo the knot and help it through the wire. The thing I hate about snakes is their slithering and it slithered A LOT.  And tried to wrap around my arm. I don't know how much you've handled snakes but they are strong suckers! I tugged and tugged. When I got it nearly out, we decided we needed something to put it in and I thought of a cooler so Joey ran to get a cooler. But the snake got away because I couldn't hang on to the head any longer as it had it's whole body to work with now. So off it went under the chicken coop where I will have to keep my eyes peeled every time I go out there now. But I think Joey has more respect for this old woman who pinches snakes heads with salad tongs!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Another Sheep & Wool Fest Done and Gone!

The day of set up dawned clear and sunny. I was up early and saw the first light highlighting Audrey's sheep next door. The apple tree was full of blossoms and I knew this was going to be a terrific weekend.

We unload my 80 crates packed to the brim (expertly by Anne) and started arranging them. I brought the most yarn ever.

Anne busted some moves on the table.

Anne and Bev in some heavy discussion about world events or my slubby yarn, not sure.

After 6 hours of arranging and rearranging crates, samples, baskets and stuff, we stepped back and admired our set up. I called it "The Amphitheater of Color"! A total surround of deep, rich colors for the senses.

Nuno felt scarf kits aplenty

The end of the day….notice the bottle of wine and glasses!~

As dusk set in, we hauled our tired butts home, ready for a good night's rest.

Another beautiful day. Cool weather, clear skies, and no wind make for perfect yarn selling weather. 

Anne donned her hand spun, hand knit skirt and the darling little cardi that Audrey finished at the last minute! I picked it up on my way to the fairgrounds. I had asked her the week before if she could knit something out of my new yarn, Shimmy, by the weekend and she of course took on the challenge. 

One of my customers carrying her 'bouquet' of colorful yarns. Look how nicely they coordinate with her outfit.

And a mom with her darling little girl holding up some slubby to see if it goes with that blond hair. Yep!

I brought my newly made felt vest as an example of what one can do with felting and this customer asked how much it was. Well, I hadn't thought of selling it as I hadn't even had a chance to wear it, but what the heck….I'll make another one.

She was thrilled and I was happy that she was happy.

This was a unique and clever way to carry bags of fleeces.

There was much hanging out, yarn bombing of trees, spinning, knitting and of course yarn talk.

Anne was part of the Sheep to Shawl contest where a shearer shears the sheep, a team of four cards the wool locks, three people spin the yarn and one person weaves. This team is called Harley's Angels because the sheep's name was Harley. 

Here is the finished scarf which won FIRST PLACE! Way to go Angels!

Here's part of my team…Claire, Anne and Natalie. Michele helped out on Saturday but since she was going to Australia for four months in a couple days, I thought she could use some time getting ready. And of course Bev helped set up on Friday. Without my Dancing Leaf Farm team, I couldn't do it.

All packed up, ready to say good bye to another successful Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Sheep & Wool Here We Come!

The morning started out beautiful and stayed true to spring weather all day long. Finally, after all the rain we had this week, it dried out and everything is in bloom and happy to see the sunshine.

It's a big move day and Grace had packed the trailer to the limit.

We couldn't even fit it all in the trailer and my truck so Anne had to come over with her van and we loaded that up too.

We hauled it all to the Howard County Fairgrounds where the Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest takes place. Luckily, it's less than an hour away from the farm. 

The booth started to take shape. We placed about 80 crates of yarn into place.

Anne had to show us her dance moves when she was on the tables. There was a pole nearby which she decided NOT to use.

I really couldn't believe how much yarn we had when we put it all together. 

It's been spread all over my house, basement, studio, outdoors for so long that I had no idea it would amount to so much.

But we put it all in place and I think we're ready for the onslaught tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing my fiber friends and meeting new ones. 

After our vendor dinner, we loaded our tired bodies up, said bye bye to the fairgrounds and traveled home for some wine and hot tub time. Much deserved I might add.