Friday, May 25, 2012

Fiber Festivals, Shearing, Skirting: It's a Fuzzy Life!

Any water, any where.  Rowdy appreciates that Larry, our township trustee just recently improved this cooling off opportunity where the creek runs under the road.

But he is not the only one who takes advantage of water to cool off.

This alpaca loves the pool.  I was hoping she would sit down for me to take a photo, but she seemed to think I was up to no good and refused to oblige.  You can see she does spend time sitting in the water by the mud on her belly.  The pool needs to be removed at least a day before we shear this bunch.

This past weekend was the Upper Valley Fiber Festival in Troy Ohio, which you may recall I have spent a lot of time preparing for.  

 My booth looked good and was spacious.  I had a nice variety of yarns and rovings along with rugs and some lovely quilted project bags made by my mom.  Unfortunately, the fesitval was very small and sparsely attended, though I did make a few sales.  This festival has been around for only 4 or 5 years, I believe and it is very hard to get something like this off the ground and running.  The problem is that if you don't have lots of vendors you won't get lots of buyers.  Then the vendors decide not to come back and it kind of just fizzles. I can't help but think that the fact that the Great Lakes Fiber Show in Wooster is held the weekend following this is also detrimental to the success of this show.  Many people will choose one or the other and the GLFS is about 3 times the size and well-established.  The folks who did attend the festival were great and I talked to some really nice people, including some readers of this blog who grew up here in Monroe County and now live in Troy, Ohio.  It was nice to meet you Melissa and Doug....stop by next time you are in the area.

Now I have never attempted to promote something like this, but I would have liked to see some local news channels there on Saturday, or local radio or something.  Usually media  likes to do little features of things happening in the area that are free for people to go to.  I will have to think long and hard about attending this again next year.  At least I got to spend some quality family time.  Also, I have lots of product ready to go for the next show I go to, which I don't even have on the calendar.  I won't be at the Wool Gathering this year because my niece is getting married that weekend. 

So, while I was away, Sam had the help of the neighbors putting in our first cutting of hay.  Apache will eat again this winter!  Our other neighbors, who do the first cutting off our 4 acre creek bottom hayfield and round bale it for their cattle, were out this week mowing.  I expect to see round bales in this field today or tomorrow.

 Shearing has really not moved along.  We have had such a bad time with the improperly sharpened blades for our shears that we kind of gave up after taking an hour to shear 2 alpacas on Monday.  The good news is that our newly sharpened blades arrived in yesterday's mail and we can get back to it tomorrow.  The bad news is it is supposed to be in the 90's all weekend.  That makes for hot sweaty alpacas (and people).  But we really need to make some progress. 

We loaded our 4 geldings and 1 weanling male onto a trailer early Wednesday morning for their trip to their new home in Tennessee.  Their new owners arrived late Tuesday night after a horrible travel day and spent the night in our guest house.  It would have been nice had they arrived earlier as they had planned so we could have had more time to spend with them, but sometimes plans just don't go as we hope.  

So Saturday is shearing day and Sunday I head off to the Great Lakes Fiber Show in Wooster, OH.  I am taking a class called "The Chemistry of Dyeing" on Sunday afternoon and plan to do a little shopping prior to the class.  I also have 16# of skirted white alpaca fiber to  drop off to Morning Star Fiber Mill to have made into yarn.  That's a big bag of hair!

I also sent my skein of lace weight alpaca bamboo yarn to the show with my friend Tari (remember her?  She did the Wool Gathering with me in Sept) to enter into the skein competition there.  Tari is vending at this show and will be there all weekend and skeins have to be there for judging by noon Saturday, so she is dropping it off for me and I will pick it up Sunday after my class.  I entered it in the UVFF competition, but there were very few entries and it took second place behind a fluffy white wool yarn.  In this show, it will be judged against other fine yarns. 

I have not done anything with the bees this week except work on weed removal around the hives.  I plan to start building more frames this coming week and need Sam to build me a couple more boxes.  We don't need them just yet, but a friend (Tari's husband) said his hives have already swarmed once this year, so I want to be prepared.  Need to work on that.

Poor old Ginger, if Rowdy isn't trying to eat her food, it's someone else!  Ornery chickens!!

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