Maine Fiber Frolic 2017 Poster
MOFGA Common Ground Fair Poster

We’re Setting Up a New Shop for the Woodshop

color photo: closeup of a handspindle's whorl -- woods: orange Padauk and creamy Ash

An Amelia’s whorl: a layer of Padauk from Africa on a solid base of solid North American Ash.

 

 

I’m really excited. After years — yes, YEARS! — we’re finally putting together a “shop” to display and sell the little, wooden thingies I turn out in the barn. Pam noticed that a good friend, Michele Michael, is using an online “shop” powered by a neat little outfit called Big Cartel.

color photo: closeup detail photo of Nøstepinde handles
I’m uploading photos and descriptions of a bunch of fresh-from-the-shop Nøstepindes as well as spindles that came home with us after the NETA Spa down in Freeport.

Rhinebeck

I apologize once again for the late posts.  The 2 previous posts were almost done when I was overcome with preparing for Rhinebeck so I’ve just published them.

I don’t know where this past week has gone…can it really be a week since I was on the road headed for NY?!  It was a great show…always so good to see old friends and meet new fibery folks!  My friend and fellow Coopworth owner, Nina,  came along, kept me company on the ride and helped-helped-helped in the booth!  She is THE best!

The transition to the new booth space went pretty well.  We weren’t able to get our new banner/sign to stick to the very cold metal wall of our booth but thanks to our neighbor, Creations by Joyce, we were able to use the back of their very hefty booth structure.

Our new space in Building B

Our new space in Building B

Will have to make provisions for this in the future.  Other than that…all went well.  There was a steady stream of visitors to the booth and Jim’s spindles were very popular.  We welcomed two new CSA members, too!

I’ve been trying really hard not to obsess about the weather but I feel like I have to mention how COLD it was this year.  When I was packing my bag, I looked at the long johns in the drawer…thought about taking them and then didn’t.  Actually, I based that decision on feeling that if I put them on, I’d never be able to zip my pants! Better get on that before I freeze my butt off…literally.  I was happy that I remembered to pack a pair of fingerless mitts.  It rained, drizzled and threatened but it didn’t keep the serious and curious from making the rounds and spirits were high.

The camera that I actually remembered to bring along hardly came out of its bag…just too dismal.  But I did go by the Keep the Fleece Tent (they actually had heaters!) and took a few shots of the World’s Longest Scarf…still a work in progress.

Here's the scarf laid out on several banquet tables...it's made the circuit about six times and there are many more pieces to be added.

Here's the scarf laid out on several banquet tables...it's made the circuit about six times and there are many more pieces to be added.

I looked and looked but couldn’t find the Hatchtown Farm CSA Team’s piece…a little disappointing. One of the volunteers said it probably hadn’t been joined yet.  There were loads of boxes of pieces still waiting to be added!  I think the weather was causing some problems as it was impossible to stretch the scarf out or even take it out of the tent but they’d made a valiant effort to display as much of the scarf as they could…they’d put a bunch of banquet tables together and then the scarf was layed out at least six times around and it was growing every minute!  I’ll be checking in regularly at Keep the Fleece to see what’s happening.

Just a few of the boxes of scarf sections waiting to be attached

Just a few of the boxes of scarf sections waiting to be attached

This volunteer is joining scarf sections.

This volunteer is joining scarf sections.

This fairgoer has donated a few rows and will sit and knit for a little while...in the heated tent!

This fairgoer has donated a few rows and will sit and knit for a little while...in the heated tent!

This volunteer is knitting rows that have been donated by sponsors...she was busy all day!

This volunteer is knitting rows that have been donated by sponsors...she was busy all day!

Good-bye Summer

Fall is well and truly upon us.  Rain is more common these days, colder nights have produced some frosty mornings and oh! the leaves are turning — it’s a great year for color!  The rhythm of the farm has changed from the frantic pace of summer — moving fence & sheep often every other day, caring for temporary residents like the roasters and pigs and continually hauling water to all the various groups.  Now the meat birds and pigs have been packed into the freezers of our foodie friends…and our own, too.  Pasture paddocks are getting larger and the moves are happening less often.  There’s still grass to graze but that will soon come to an end and water consumption is far less in this cool weather. 

There are still a few items on our to-do list before the snow flies…hay is at the top.  We have some pre-bought which we’ll pick up at the end of this month but we still need another 5.5 tons.  Sadly, the hay we purchased in September tested as “poor” quality — you cannot judge hay by its color! — so it’ll be returned and will have to be replaced.

Jim takes random core samples of about 15 bales so we have a good mix of the forage. We send the sample to a diagnostic lab in NY and keep our fingers crossed.

Jim takes random core samples of about 15 bales so we have a good mix of the forage. We send the sample to a diagnostic lab in NY and keep our fingers crossed.

Getting good quality hay will be a challenge this year but we’re still hopeful.  It’s likely it’ll have to come from Canada.  Making hay on the Maine coast isn’t easy even in the best of years.  This year, it was impossible…too much rain and no way to get into soggy hay fields to cut on time.  Consequently, the grasses were wa-a-ay past prime (most had long gone to seed) by the time the first cutting was made.  By then it was too late in the season to get enough growth for a second cutting.  On top of that, low yield has driven the prices up — everyone has to make a living — so we’ll be paying quite a bit more than we did last year for hay with less nutritional value.  It may be difficult to keep to our “grassfed” goal but we’re sure going to try! 

If we don’t get too much rain in the next few weeks, Jim will be able to get the manure spreader out on the pasture and fertilize — maybe get some lime down, too.  We’ve scheduled a cleaning of the girl’s winter paddock and the boy’s “frat house” will be going into the burn pile…it’s just too nasty and has to go!  Don’t worry…they’ll still have shelter in the nice greenhouse.   

For now, though, Jim’s been in the woodshop producing tons of sawdust (and spindles, too <G>) in preparation for NYSS&W Festival and I’m packing up woolie stuff.

We're Moving...

BIG NEWS…Our booth at Rhinebeck (NY State Sheep & Wool Festival) will be in a new location…Building B.  After many years in our lovely spot on the loft of the horticultural building (aka Bldg 22), the local fire marshalls decided it was too crowded to be safe and the festival organizers gave all of us on that side of the loft our marching orders.

Hatchtown Farm 2009 Booth at Rhinebeck

Hatchtown Farm 2009 Booth at Rhinebeck

  I don’t think any of us are really thrilled about the move but hey! what can we do…  A majority of us from the loft will still be together in Building B and that’ll fun because we’ve been neighbors for such a long time.  And there are a bunch of other vendors who’d been asking for larger booth spaces who will be moving in there, too.  So be sure to come see us!  Building B is the place to “B”!!!

Click on the map for a larger view. 

Winning Fleeces!

Galen's fleece -- great crimp, lustre & hand...and the pewter blue color is amazing!

Galen's fleece -- great crimp, lustre & hand...and the pewter blue color is amazing!

Once again…photos have held this up.  I’m so sorry but I’m having a heck of a time with this photo thing…it shouldn’t be difficult but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it.   BUT here they are — shots of the winning fleeces from Maryland S&W Festival.  I’m SO excited!

Bandita coloring is "English Blue" so her fleece is darkers greys around the edges and she has a saddle blanket of pale silver blue.

Bandita's coloring is "English Blue" so her fleece is darkers greys around the edges and she has a saddle blanket of pale silver blue.