Friday, January 18, 2013

Shearing Day 2013

Shearing Day 2013 will be Saturday, March 30. This is an informal, free event held annually here at Havencroft Farm. The farm and both Common Threads and Laffing Horse studios are open to the public that day. We'd love to see your smiling face.

Hocus Pocus and the girls would like to invite You to come visit!

Highlights of Shearing Day
9:00 a.m. - Open House begins farm, garden, spinning and weaving studio, broom and woodworking studio
10:00 a.m. - Shearing Demonstration on a stand
10:30 a.m. - Sheep and goat hoof trimming demonstration
11:00 a.m. - garden tour and open discussion
12:00 noon - bring a brown bag lunch and enjoy some of our herb tea, goat cheese and fresh greens with us.
1:00 p.m. - Farmer's Cheese making demonstration
2:00 p.m. - Shearing Demonstration on a stand
2:30 p.m -  Sheep and goat hoof trimming demonstration
3:00 p.m. - Spinning demonstration, and other fibery fun.
4:00 p.m. - Time to head home and Thanks for Visiting!

By that day, Lena and I will have most of the sheep and angora goats sheared, so we will have lots of new fleeces for sale. We will do one shearing demo at 10:00 a.m. and another at 2:00 p.m., with hoof trimming demos at 10:30 and 2:30. If all goes well, we should have lots of lambs and kids on the ground and many will be for sale. Last year, both Basil and Demi provided lambing demonstrations during Shearing Day. The year before Nilly gave us Gift on Shearing Day. Of course, we can't ever schedule anything like that, but it might happen again.
There will be lots of handspun yarn, handwoven shawls, beautiful brooms, fleeceyful rugs, fleeces and other farm-made items for sale.

Wow, 2013... hard to believe. I also think we did our first shearing day on Laffing Horse Farm in La Junta, Colorado in 2003. So this must be the 10th Anniversary of this fun open house. I do hope you can join us.

Leave a comment here or send me a message, email or even call if you have any questions. Carrier pigeons don't work, Kitty is a heck-of-a-good hunter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One knot at a time

I am a weaver. I take fiber and make cloth - one strand at a time.

As a weaver, I select my yarns, mostly by texture, creating my own colors in the dye vats. I wind each yarn into a ball, so that I can easily measure it.

One strand at a time, I measure my warp yarns. This current warp has 242 yarns, each one 8-yards-long. More than a mile of yarn, 5,808 feet. It's easy to snarl up a mile of yarn. You have to handle it carefully. One step at a time through all the processes.

I chain up my warp yarns as I measure them into loose braids. Then I lay them over the front bar of my loom. One strand at a time, I draw the yarn through first the reed, then its correct heddle and then I tie it on to the back beam. 242 knots, tied in sequence, one knot at a time.

I don't weave because I have to to cover my body or to stay warm. I live in the real modern world, and could buy things at stores. I weave because it feeds my soul. The rhythm, the regularity, the order, the whole body dance with the thread. I am a weaver.

And right now I see that I need to be a weaver with the rest of my life. The great snarls of projects on my desk, the tangles of things needing sorted, the bits of fluff that really belong somewhere... I need to take each piece of paper, one at a time, put it into a workable form and gather the forms into a chain of events. Then I need to thread them through my computer, my pen, my calculator and begin tying them into finished projects.

One knot at a time. I can do this, I am a weaver.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Relief and hope and rain

I can feel the drought hardened knot of tension in my gut begin to soften as the rain continues to plummet down. I adore warm winter rains. This one is a really gully-washer, up from the gulf coast. The warm clouds lumbered in, bellies full of rain, and they are dumping it here on the Ozark plateau.
That knot in my belly has been hardening and tightening these last two years. It's a knot of worry and fear. Worry that the drought is permanent. Fear that the green forests will wither and burn. Worry for my farm, my family and people as a whole. Water, water, water - of the three things needed to sustain life, it seems to be the most precious and threatened.
This worry will not go away. Even with 10-inches of snow on Christmas Day and a 6-inch gully washer this weekend, our lakes are still low, the land sucks up water like a sponge and the sleepy trees are not yet drinking. But the knot is softening.
I know worrying is not productive, and carrying tension is even harmful. I know all that we can really do about catastrophic climate change is be aware and adapt. In the long run, I want to be an advocate for water.Water is the most valuable treasure this earth has to give.
And right now, I'm just going to enjoy the rain and snow.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Digital dilution

I've been writing this blog since 2005, after I gave up my career as a journalist. In skips, hops and jumps, it chronicles our search for a home from our droughted-out farm in Colorado and our move to Arkansas. Some of the best writing is early in the blog, when I only came to it muse-inspired.
Since our move, I've viewed it mostly as a way to share our life with my friends and family we left behind. It covers whatever I think might interest them. This past year, I've tried to consider it as a way to connect with folks I don't know, to let them share our life on our farm. And for several years, I've used it as an adjunct to our flock book.
I write about sheep for sale, I take pictures of which ewes are in with rams, so people wanting lambs can consider them. I write when we start breeding season and when we pull the rams from the ewe pens. I love taking pics of my pretty Jacob sheep and I love sharing them. This year, we started breeding with Cowslip and Boomer in the sheep flock, and Herkimer and Yampa for the goats. I remember taking the pictures and writing... something.
So yesterday, when I wanted to start a lambing date calendar, I went back to look for those posts... nothing. I searched the year and considered. I knew it was September... well maybe October, we did breed late this year. I dyed some more warp yarn and washed the gorgeous Thyme wool yarn that I had spun on Saturday.
Then I remembered the Common Threads Facebook page.
Yep, there were the breeding dates (Sept. 19 and 25th) that I was looking for. And all the information I needed, "Cowslip loves Boomer."
As digital has become a more pervasive part of our life, I've gone from poetic writings of surreal moonlight nights to adolescent graffiti. Does it matter?