The Spring Muse

“Here’s health to the master and his stock
Likewise to shepherd and his flock
Wishing that all live and none die
None go blind, but all see
None stray, but all stay
As a help to the jolly old dog”

The Shearers Toast, Traditional Folk Song, Carla Sciaky. 1992 Spin the Weavers Song

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This song is always with me during the spring months. Since I have been raising sheep, almost 7 yeas now, I have found much strength from Carla Sciaky’s little known, but very magical album Spin the Weavers Song.

Walking out side on a day like today with the sun shining and a warm breeze that carries the lilting voices of forty song odd lambs, I have a feeling that anyone would yearn to be a farmer, even for a day. Spring does that too you. At least for me it brings strength to start big projects, finish old ones and dream for hours on the projects for another spring. Fiber mill co-op anyone?! This year, although snow still lingers and ice prevails, it is no different. This year my projects include plans to build a chicken coop (my 4 year old is dying to have egg collecting duties and it has been too long that I have not had hens on this farm!), a sap boiling area (really my mom’s big plan, but I am happy to add my grunt work and maple trees!), and of course my familiar yearnings for a fiber mill. Although in the short term I am looking into a better dyeing studio set-up, what to build and what will work for years, instead of months…

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There is nothing better after a slovenly winter of knitting and cooking to work outside and go to bed with that completely and utterly exhausted feeling. I believe that even if you have not done much physical work on a spring day, the emotional and inspirational involvement is just as draining.

Today the girls and I walked out to where last fall I drove stakes in the ground to mark out a possible home site. We are desperate to build a house, especially now that we have spent another very cold winter in our old farm house. Walking out to this beautiful location… just beyond our existing house… was incredible. The warmth of the sun and the expanse of the openness was even more wonderful than during the darkening days of Autumn when my house building was at its frenzy. But now all I can do is wait to hear back from the bank… fingers crossed.

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My dyeing studio needs an update, last summer and fall and dyed outside and that was wonderful unless it was a windy day and my propane burner was a wild flame. My porch works right now while dyeing a slower, but it is a lot of hauling water from our tub and hauling yarn back to the kitchen to be spun dry in the washing machine. My new favorite plan is to build a green house and have part of it be a dye studio and part be lambing pens in the spring months. I love this idea of being able to watch the lambs all day long in the sun!

Happy spring everyone. Knitting projects still abound here, although now i feel like knitting with cottons and linens. You?

When the yarn has all been dyed…

When I was in college I owned a rather fun and unique long pea coat in a soft pink tweed. I loved it at the time and have kept it ever since… In a closet upstairs. We recently had a beautiful fall day, although it was rather chilly, and it got me thinking about warmth and looking for a new coat. I remembered my old friend up there in the closet and decided to rejuvenate it with a fresh color. I brought my 100qt pot out once more for one last dyeing expedition before my primitive dyeing studio is turned to ice. Mixing a deep purple and a ruby red I lowered the wool coat into the pot, it fit perfectly and came out a reddish purple color.

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This was still to pink for my palate so I mixed up some turquoise and a bit of blue and plunged it in again. This time she was perfect! A deep purple with specks of turquoise blue throughout.

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My dream has always been to knit and then felt a pea coat type coat, but that is a daunting project and for now rejuvenating this great coat is fine for me!

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