Thursday, September 25, 2014

3 Bags Full

Yes, the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio was this past weekend, and I came home with 3 bags of lovely, crimpy, greasy wool.
 My alpaca/wool blend yarn has sold better than the 100% alpaca yarns, so much so that I have only 1 skein of it leftI plan to blend this 12# of cormo cross wool with about 12  to 15 pounds of alpaca for my next batch of yarn.  The wool is "in the grease" which means it will lose up to 25% (or more, but I hope not) of its weight in washing and I hope to have 20# of finished yarn.  

Here's a close up of the wool.  I washed a sample of it and believe it or not, it is quite white once washed.  I neglected to photograph my washed sample however. 

The Wool Gathering was great.  The weather was wonderful, though extremely blustery on Sunday.  It was overcast in the morning, but cleared off by noon and there were huge occasional gusts of wind that made the whole tent flap noisily.  Here are some scenes:

Mom took this with her camera of me next to my yarn.

My booth.  Looks pretty much the same as last year.

I even had entertainment on Sunday as there was a group doing fencing demos between my tent and the next one over and I had the side of the tent open to let in light.  

I think the festival was a success.  I know there was quite a crowd on Saturday and a bit less so on Sunday.  Lots of wonderful vendors with fun things.  I purchased a novelty:  A turkish drop spindle that was made on a 3-D printer!  I forgot to photograph that as well.  Next week, I promise.  The spindle was only $10 and is so cute and colorful and novel that I had to have it.  The maker is a shop called Turtle Made on, but they do not have any photos of their spindles on their site, or I would link it.

I stayed with Mom and she attended the festival with me on Saturday, but was getting ready for a trip, so did not go with me on Sunday.  I brought her dog, Luca home with me to stay while she is away.  The city dog gets to visit the country dogs.  He loves being here and gets lots of exercise.  He especially loves to swim which he does not get to do at home.  This is one of the dogs' favorite spots on one of our walks, a deep spot in the creek.

Fall has arrived and it seems that the colors and the light change daily now.  Our forecast this week is for fabulous weather through the weekend.  This lone sugar maple is already golden.  

And the golden rod is in full bloom in the fields that have not been mown, like this one on Wayne National Forest that we hike through several times a week.

 Grover and I are still having a great time at agility class.  Just before I started to write this post, I printed off the entry forms for a trial in Zanesville, Ohio in November, which I plan to enter as soon as I figure out what to enter.  Grover got his AKC/PAL registration a couple weeks ago, so he is ready to go.  We still have 2 months to prepare!  We will be entered in novice and I observed the novice class at the trial a couple weeks ago and it seemed like something we can do.  A couple of my classmates (who are experienced handlers with novice dogs) were in the class and did very well.  We shall see.

On the fiber front, I started a scarf that son Sam/Zac/Satchmo requested.  He asked for a grey scarf.  Not the most exciting knitting, but he will wear it, so he gets it.  He bikes to his job in Portland, so I hope to finish it in a couple of weeks and get it to him.  It has a kind of basket weave pattern, which makes it a little easier to work on, as there is stitch variety.  

And I have still been working on my sweater.  I need to get this finished in a month so I can wear it to the festival I am attending in Rhinebeck, NY.  Knitting a "Rhinebeck Sweater" seems to be a tradition among New York Sheep & Wool attendees.  This sweater has a lacy pattern on the back and a solid front.  Here is the back as it is now:

This is knit in some of my hand-dyed wool/alpaca blend yarn that I reserved for myself.

I sold a couple of rugs at the Wool Gathering, so I am contemplating the next warping of my loom and hope to start that soon.  Maybe today, if I have time.  We shall see.

Just south of Young's Dairy, which is where the Wool Gathering is held, there is a field just full of sunflowers.  I stopped early Sunday and took a few photos on my way to the festival.  Here is my favorite.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back From Bend

No real farm stuff this week.  I missed posting last week because Sam and I flew out to Oregon to spend a week with our two sons and son Ian's fiance, Michelle.  Despite difficulties getting there (which involved flight delays in Pittsburgh due to bad weather in Chicago, which resulted in missing our connection on to Portland, which would have resulted in our sleeping in the airport at Midway Chicago and arriving in Portland almost 24 hours late, all of which culminated in our deciding to fly in to Seattle and rent a car and drive to Portland, arriving at 6 am Portland time on Saturday instead of 10 pm the night before) we had a great time! 

Last year, we stayed in Portland for a week and so we decided we would like to get out of town for the week and make it a real vacation for Ian and Zac and Michelle as well.  I suggested that they choose a place within a few hours' drive that they were interested in seeing and Bend, Oregon was the chosen destination.  It was chosen for its weather, outdoor activities, and its many local breweries.  We rented a 3 bedroom "cabin" on a private lake, which was one of 4 such cabins and for the 5 nights we were there, we had the entire place to ourselves.  The lake was shallow for the most part, but there were kayaks, stand up paddle boards and canoes there for our use and it was peaceful and beautiful.

 On Sunday, the day after we arrived, we went to a lava tube area and hiked about a mile or more underground through a cave which was formed by lava.  This was weird because there was no electricity in the tube, you either brought your own headlamps or you rented a lantern, which is what we did.  It was interesting, but kind of cold and spooky, though there were a lot of other people in there.

Through the week we also did some other hiking.  

Here is a view of Mt Bachelor from the ridgetop across the lake from our cabin that Sam and I climbed up to one morning.  

Tumalo Falls was accessed from a trailhead only a couple miles from where we were staying and we went out there with everyone one day.

And on Wednesday, Sam and I took a 10 mile round trip hike up another trail that was hiking distance from our cabin.

There was also a hot tub on the cabin deck, which was  really nice after a 10 mile hike!

And of course, there were the breweries.  My husband is a home brewer and beer enthusiast.  My boys also enjoy a good brew and I prefer wine, but am learning to like some of the wonderful craft beers that are to be found more and more readily these days.  So Bend has an "Ale Trail" Bend Ale Trail   Basically, you get a "passport" and have it stamped at 10 local breweries and you get a souvenir pint glass made of silicone with the Bend logo on it.  We all came home with Silipint glasses.  But it was fun.  Most of the breweries serve food and one, Deschutes, gives a 45 minute tour of their large facility (they are retailed in 27 states currently), which was very interesting.  The tour is free and includes samples.  Book in advance on line if you plan to go.

Most of the breweries will let you choose a sampler tray of their beers which consists of 6 to 8   4 oz samples.  They number them or mark them in a way that you can tell what you are drinking.  I believe these were 6 oz samplers at Brew Werks and we just shared them.

It was a great week, the weather was incredible.  Bend is in a high desert area and the days were around 80 or a little above with the nights dropping quickly into the 40's and 50's at this time of year.  I am totally sold on the area.  I could go back again and again.

I did do some knitting, but not much.  The photo at the top of the page is of some fingerless mitts I knit from some of my own hand-dyed alpaca yarn.  They are to be a sample in my booth this weekend at the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs Ohio and were a great small project for travel.   I leave Friday around noon for the 3 hour drive to Yellow Springs to set up and be ready to go on Saturday morning.  I will stay with my mom over in Dayton and she will join me at the festival, which will be nice since I was so busy last year and had no help. 

So since arriving home very early Saturday morning, in addition to preparing for the Wool Gathering, I have managed to keep quite busy.  On Sunday I attended the 3rd day of an agility trial put on by the club where Grover and I take classes.  I helped out a bit and asked questions a talked to a lot of people.  I have also been processing tomatoes.  I canned 7 quarts of tomatoes on Monday and started a big batch of sauce yesterday which will be ongoing for a few days, I think.  I hope to get another 7 quarts of sauce canned.  More on that next week.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall is in the Air

It may be 90 degrees out there right now, but the days are getting shorter and have gone from summer's dark green to the golds of early fall.  There is a constant insect hum and it just feels different.  
Plus Labor Day is now in the past.  We had our annual Labor Day party and I was astonished at how many little kids were here.  We had more babies and toddlers than I have ever seen before and older kids were in the minority.  I got to meet the newest member of the family, my niece's baby boy Blake, born in July.  He's a big handsome boy and seems a very content baby.

There were a lot of people here on Saturday.  So much food.  I am always afraid there won't be enough and there is always too much.  Unfortunately by the time I thought to get my camera out, it was getting dark.

 Cornhole is always fun.

Some of the vehicles by which people arrived.

The weather was hot but good on Saturday but the rain moved in early Sunday morning and stuck around all day.  It did not keep a couple of visiting teenage boys and my niece's husband from enjoying the zip line at the pond, however.

And of course there was dog play

Grover made a new friend who was about his age, but much larger.

And this is how a dog looks when there is no room for him in the ATV coming home from the pond in the mud and he runs along behind (much to his disgust)

So by the time everyone went home on Monday, I was wiped out and I think Grover was as well.  We were both a little off at agility class on Tuesday night, but we should recover soon.  

Here are a couple shots from around the farm this morning.