I have had a bad run of computer luck lately. Or maybe it's a good run of bad luck. I don't know. I'm hoping against hope that Tim's computer guru can get me back up and running. Today would be exceptionally nice (please please please). In the meantime, I'm going to post a re-run from last year so that a. no one thinks something dire has happened and b. to remind everyone that the Kentucky Wool Festival is this weekend :-D.
I mostly picked this particular post because of the super cute kid hugging 20 - one of my favorite pictures. I'd forgotten that I'd whined about the long hours...and I'm already whining about the long hours this year. It's a hard festival. Fun, but hard. I'm not sure how many more years I can talk myself into doing it. I thought last year would be my last, but here I am.
We have a bunch of nice roving to bring, plenty of spindle kits, Christmas cards, a few wreaths and the 2015 calendars (including a new Hank calendar) will be done...I hope. I'll be teaching (along with everyone else in the wool tent) drop spindling throughout the weekend. There will be knitting, crocheting, weaving, needle felting, rug hooking, fiber prep, combing, carding, blending and plenty of spinning. It will be fun :-).
Come see us this Friday, Saturday and Sunday...and hopefully you'll see me back later today with a fresh post from a happy computer (please please please).
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I have to own up to a couple things about wool festivals. Well, going to wool festivals is always fun - end of that story :-). Setting up a booth of your own? Well...let's chat about it.
First of all, I'm happiest at home on our farm. I talk to the sheep, cats, dogs...or nobody. As long as the food bowls keep getting filled and some ears get scratched on a regular basis, everyone's happy. I can work along on something listening to the birds singing, sheep bells ringing, the occasional tractor off in the distance and the next thing you know, it's time for evening chores.
If you decide to put yourself out there and set up a booth at a festival (to be able to keep the food bowls filled ;-) you need to be prepared for a completely different day. Self promotion is tough. Or at least I find it so. Even though the sheep and I have worked hard to produce nice products, being able to stand there all day and say "Hey, the sheep and I have worked hard to produce these nice products and you should buy them!" is intimidating. Nerve wracking. Exhausting.
The fall Kentucky Wool Festival is extra tough because it's set up a bit different from your typical wool festival. It's a huge craft fair with a ton of really good food vendors. People come from far and wide, on average upwards to nearly 50,000 people over the three day weekend, to eat, listen to really good live music and socialize. Until 10:00 in the evening. The vendors have to get up early the next morning and do it all over again.
After a full day of hot, dripping sweat "fun" (84 degrees in October this year? Seriously?) and facing yet another long evening, I thought maybe I might be getting a little too old for this. I'd spent the day teaching kids of all ages what yarn is, where it comes from, how it's made... The muscles in my right hand and thumb were very sore from two days of demonstrating how a drop spindle is used - yes, you can get spinning injuries if you overwork muscles that are more conditioned for cleaning stalls ;-).
Then, someone I'd taught to drop spindle a couple years ago stopped by, re-introduced herself and we spent probably an hour Saturday evening talking spinning, knitting, patterns, Ravelry... It was just what I needed. And really, that happened all through the weekend. A customer who "always stops at our booth first thing every year" now comes ready to run things while I go grab a cup of
coffee. Just when I'd need a bathroom break, a blog reader would stop by. I needed to go take pictures of the shearing demonstration and another friend came by.
It's a team effort. The whole thing. Running the farm, growing the wool, shearing, processing, painting Christmas cards, printing calendars, packing it up, setting it up, taking care of it, tearing it down and heading back home to run the farm, grow the wool...
It was a good weekend. It truly is a blessing to be able to do what we do. Thank you to everyone for all the help and support and encouragement. And if we just met you this weekend, welcome to the family :-).
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Last year I'd stuck a Hug a Sheep card on the front of 20's sweater. I didn't think to do it this year. I'm not sure if this cute kid remembered that from last year or just thought 20 needed a hug. When I looked over and saw him I couldn't resist making him do it again for a photo. 20 was thrilled :-D.
I have a digital photo frame that runs through about 1300 (holy moly!) blog pictures throughout the day. Sometimes it makes me very homesick, but most of the time I think it's fun to see pictures I haven't seen in awhile. I'd encourage everyone to get one!
The calendars were a big hit (very flattering!). I'll try to get them online in a couple days when I get unpacked and caught up.
I like being able to display my handspun handknit sweaters next to ready to spin roving :-).
The lavender by the greenhouse re-bloomed just in time :-D.
I liked my card display this year. I'll try to get them back online later this week as well.
"If you try to sneak around and take my picture..."
Our resident heron, or maybe a cousin, has camped out by the little creek for the last few days. They usually stay back at the ponds, clocking in early in the morning and flying out just after dark. It's one of my very favorite times of day :-).
The boys have been itchin' to get in with the big kids for weeks now. Yesterday was a perfect day to move them over. Once they got a few punches by the 'wimmens' (who really didn't think some teenage boys were just what they'd been waiting for all their lives ;-) everyone got along just fine.
"Wow, look at all the junk they've got sitting around!"
I never really think about how short Maisie is until I see her next to someone else. She looks like she's giving them some inside information :-). Baaxter is standing next to me in these pictures. He wasn't really afraid to be out there I don't think. I believe he just felt more comfortable standing with his mom, watching everything for awhile.
I put them back in the "nursery" over night, but turned them back out with the main flock this morning. They love exploring in the creek and seem happy to hang out with Hank.
Chocula had a big time racing around with them yesterday (he loves to play) and looks like he'd sure love to be down there with the new kids this morning too....if that dastardly dog wasn't hanging around!
I had another good question on Saturday. "How early do you have to get up to take your sunrise pictures?" In the summer...pretty dang early. This morning? I slept in until 7:30. I could have titled this post "Luxurious" :-D. I don't mind when the days start getting shorter. I'm ready for a bit of a break.
Looks like the sheep were sleeping in too, as just Lila, Daniel, Heidi, Graham and Keebler (down the hill) were out and about. This shot was from the back porch. The rest were as I walked up the driveway to the barn, changing my angle/perspective. The sun was fantastic shining through the morning mist.
I love the steam rising from the little wet weather creek.
Weaslie barked (nervously ;-) at the boys yesterday when she thought they got too close to the gate. That had always been Iris's job and honestly I didn't think Tilly (Tilly is Weaslie is Miss Tilly, Tilly Bobby, Short Round, The Little Shriner...) ever paid any intelligent attention. I find this very interesting. I believe she's trying to do "the jobs". She enjoyed taking a little patrol with Hank this morning.
Good girl, Weaslie!
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I've had another good question about leaving comments on blogs. This one concerns commenting with a Google Account versus OpenID. The way I understand it, OpenID is if you have an account through another platform such as LiveJournal, WordPress,TypePad or AIM. Here's what I see when I try to leave a comment on my own blog.
I do happen to have a WordPress account, but I prefer not to use it...but sometimes when I try to comment on WordPress blogs it won't allow the comment unless I use it. Sometimes it's fine as is. Don't ask me why. When commenting on Blogger or Blogspot blogs I always use my Google Account. Just because something should be easy... ;-)
On my blog you only get the option (as far as I can see) to use a Google Account or an OpenID. I used to allow "Anonymous" comments, but I sadly had to quit that as I was getting killed with spam. By not allowing anonymous comments I can keep my family friendly blog free of un-family friendly spam ads and also keep from having to use the annoying and frequently frustrating "Word Verification".
Almost all bloggers, especially those of us stuck out on farms by ourselves with no one else to talk to during the day now but a silly corgi (who's main objective in conversation is pretty much just to try to talk me into going back to the house to drink more coffee and eat biscuits ;-) love to hear from our readers.
Many of you just drop me an email when you have some feedback and that's perfectly fine. However, many of those comments are classic - funny, clever, sweet... and when they are emailed, I read them and then they disappear. Comments left on the blog itself stay there forever so I can look back years later and still remember.
SO...the best thing *I* can figure out to suggest is to sign up for a Google Account. You don't ever have to actually use it for anything other than to comment when you'd like and to be perfectly honest, if you are concerned about Google tracking you or something like that...they probably are already doing way more than you think anyway.
Now, that being said, there's something called Google+ and I've stayed away from that as it has way too much of a FaceBook feel to it...something else I've tried (several times) and have not enjoyed or felt comfortable about one bit. I guess I'm just too old. Since I haven't had to sign up for a Google Account in a long time, I'm hoping they still have the basic option available.
To wrap up this epistle, keep in mind that I'm a self-taught and frequently wrong (and old fogy) internet user. I could be way off base with all this and if so I'm hoping someone(s) will LEAVE A COMMENT setting us all straight :-D. Here's a link to an article that may be way more helpful.
My classes on Saturday were great! The blogging/photography class was full of interesting, easy to work with, smarter than me (as usual) students and the drop spindle class was a laugh a minute riot, just the way it should be :-).
One thing I learned from the blogging group was how confusing it was to leave comments on blog posts. "I've wanted to leave a comment and can see where others have done so, but can't figure out how to do it myself." I actually remembered having trouble with that myself when I first started reading blogs.
Why does the Blogger default (and I think WordPress too) just say "Comments" and not "Leave a comment."? I'm not sure and while I preached about how you could just "google" to learn how to do anything, I've spent way too much time this morning trying to figure out how to change that...and have come up with no good answers. Anyone?
In the meantime, if you've wanted to leave a comment on a blog and couldn't figure it out, don't feel like the lone ranger. It's a common issue and lots of folks on "how to" forums have complained about it. Just find the word "comments" at the bottom of most blogger's posts (but sometimes at the top of a post just to keep things complicated ;-), click on that word and that should take you to an easy to fill out comment form.
It was Buddy! Robin found that old picture the other day and sent it to me :-).
So Buddy did at one point have cool hair. Actually, he still has cool hair. It's just not on top of his head ;-). Those curly cheeks are second to none!
Shortly after I took the grazing picture, the flock decided to head in.
Buddy, Woolliam and Chocula got left behind. Cotswolds are very focused eaters ;-).
That's a lot of bulk moving at high speed :-D. Notice Maisie eating over on the right side.
Buddy's gettin' it! Maisie's still eating.
My favorite Buddy expression is his ears back perplexed/grumpy look. He obviously wasn't done eating, but would never go against the group and stay out. Obviously Maisie has no issue with that - still eating ;-).