Thursday, May 30, 2013

Right This Way, Folks

From the barn we headed over to the kitchen.

Where Sanford explained how Good Shepherd Cheese is made.

20 couldn't believe his eyes.  Look at all that sheep cheese in the cave!

And then the best part - tasting!  We sampled blue cheese, smoked cheese, Pyrenees cheese, Wild Mountain Thyme cheese.  All wonderful, but 20 thought the blue cheese was extra tasty :-).

Then out to the big field to see the older lambs.

"We're best friends."

"And I'm super cute!"

"Will you tell us a story, Valerie?"

"Valerie's going to tell us a story???"

Look at all those attentive pink ears :-).  

As always, an enjoyable and educational visit with Colleen and Sanford Dotson and the sheep and dogs at Good Shepherd Cheese. Farmer's market season is in full swing around here, but if you aren't local and would like to try some amazing cheese, they said it's amazingly easy to ship :-).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Holiday Lamb Camp

It was a jam packed weekend. As always :-). One of the highlights was a trip to Good Shepherd Cheese for some lamb snorgling and cheese tasting. We'll start with some cute lambies and then let 20 takes us on an educational (and tasty) tour.

Mother of the year?

This is the golden lit lamb (picture 3) from above - a good example of changing your position to get a completely different photograph.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Puzzle Master

The Sheep Heid hat pattern is made for nine colors of Shetland wool. I have six colors of Sunshine wool. Figuring out how to divide up and order the lesser amounts of colors is a huge challenge.  I have been stumped on how to best showcase the beautiful pattern and Sunshine's beautiful yarn.

One of the "rules" of Fair Isle knitting is there are only two colors alternating on each row, so as you knit across/around, you may use brown and gray on one row, gray and white on the next...  Then, to complicate things, there are sheep heads and horns and other geometric patterns working throughout from bottom to top.  Then it hit me.  It's a puzzle!

Luckily the Puzzle Master is here this weekend :-D.

Janbaby will have me knitting in no time!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sheep Of Color

The shearers are back in town this week and Bill called the other day to say he had some wool for me.  You see, colored wool is very undesirable in the commercial wool market.  In fact, if you get some black wool mixed into a bale of white wool, it downgrades the entire bale.  

Used to be these pretty black, brown or gray fleeces would hit the garbage or ended up tossed into a junk bale to be made into industrial felt.  Now, if Bill thinks they might be of interest to a crazy sheep lady (who, yes, probably already has more wool than she really needs ;-), he bags it up and sends it my way.

Well, what do we have here?  Some really pretty Jacob fleeces!  Some people rescue dogs or cats.  I rescue wool, especially Jacob wool.  Well, and dogs and cats...and occasionally even a fleece still on a sheep ;-). 

I definitely have some work ahead of me sorting out good from bad, but for the couple that aren't super great, there are a couple that really are.  This one is exceptionally nice.  Great color and very soft.

This is an interesting one.  Jacobs are technically supposed to have very distinct black and white patches, like the previous fleece.  This one isn't so much freckled (a common "fault") as the black looks almost frosted.  Solidly frosted.  I've not seen that patterning before.  The beauty of colored sheep.

Look at the length!

Another very distinctly black and white fleece.  And here's where things get interesting.  It (finally) dawned on me that the black I was seeing was just that, black.  Usually the tips of a black fleece sun bleach to brown...  I went back through, turning them over and sure enough, these are the blackest Jacob fleeces I've even seen.

Since the producer had no interest in the wool, I can't imagine they coated these sheep.  The fleeces are pretty free of VM (vegetable matter) so I can't imagine they've been locked in a barn all winter.  Things that make you go "Hmmmm...."  

I bet there's a washer full in the morning ;-).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lost And Found

No one came looking for their lost bag of roving on Sunday.  I feel awful about that as not only is it really pretty, but it also wasn't cheap.  I have to say though that Michelle's comment about the left behind roving being why Maisie was so upset on the way home the other night completely cracked me up!

My first thought was to draw a sweet cartoon of her sitting quietly on the porch with a drop spindle creating yards and yards of nicely spun yarn...

...and then I realized that if Maisie got hold of a big bag of wool she'd just toss it all around...and then play with the bag :-D.

Let's see if it pays to be a blog reader.  If you left a bag of roving next to one of the chairs in our booth over the weekend, drop me an email.  The only other thing I can think to do is contact the seller and see if anyone's inquired with them.

*Updated:  The receipt inside the bag is a generic sales ticket and no business card included.  Does anyone know which booth used bright blue bags?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kentucky Sheep And Fiber Festival..With Some Border Collies Too

20 started Day Two down at the Bluegrass Classic Stockdog Trial.  He carefully watched the early morning Finals competitors (top 20 dogs) while I stood in the food tent talking and eating pancakes :-D.  A big woohooo shout out to Alta-Pete Stockdogs (Grandma's farm!).  Both Scott and Jenny Glen made it to the finals Sunday and Scott and Don WON!!!

Meanwhile, back at the fiber festival, Day Two started with much more space than Day One.  Yay :-D.  And I feel very confident that all the fleeces went to really good homes and I can't wait to see what everyone makes!  This is a front view (obviously... ;-) and the sheep are in a large pen over to the right.  Maisie was in a smaller pen in between.  And yes, she's perfectly fine and doesn't seem to have taken it "personally" ;-).

This hooked rug was a big hit and helped me sell several packets of cards/rug hooking designs.  My friend Susan hooked the chicken pattern and is now working on the horses.  I can't wait to see it!

I like the wool with the sheep in the background.  Here's something interesting - a felt artist came in and bought white curls.  Only white curls.  She said that when she used anything other than white to accent her pieces, no one connected it with sheep.  That they thought sheep only came in one color - white.  I'd love to hear some more discussion about this from some of you non-sheep readers. 

Stella's honey - always popular.

Saint Tim came up with these neat "table tent" designed signs to replace the flat signs that don't stand up, stay put or get anyone's attention.  Seems like I could have thought of that several years ago...  Sigh.

Petunia was a star!  Other than her trip to Kentucky from Nistock Farms, she's never been "off the farm".  She handled everything like had been doing sheep and wool promotion Her Whole Life.  She had a perfect pageant wave, shook hands with everyone, answered their questions, patiently getting up and walking over to any little kid who said "Come here sheepy." 

Henri had never done a meet and greet either, but did a fine job as well.  Keebs worked hard when he thought there were cookies to be had but was more interested in trying to steal donuts off the table.  B. Willard didn't put much effort into being social...but didn't put much effort into NOT being social and was popular as well...when it was convenient ;-).

We had a great festival all the way around and everyone ('cept maybe Willard ;-) is looking forward to next year!  I'd like to thank everybody for stopping by and especially thank John and Reg for all their hard work.  I have a great group of friends and family.  And that really means a lot.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lamb Camp At The Fiber Festival!!!

The University of Kentucky brought some cute, cute lil lambies to the festival.  And we were afraid Lamb Camp was over for the year ;-).


Sweet little heart shaped noses and look at that elegant momma, so proud.

 "Yeah, I know I'm her favorite."

"Whatever.  She told me I was her favorite."

"Why do I always have to go to sheep parties?"

Because, B. Willard, you are a nice boy and everyone loves to see you and run their fingers through your beautiful curls.

"O-kay...but the better bring me some cookies!"

"I LOVE sheep parties!!!"

20 single-handedly held off the forecasted rain for all but two super short showers all day.  Never underestimate the power of a stylin' sheep wearing bright yellow galoshes!

"I didn't have to come to the sheep party until this morning, but the nice folks across the way from us (Tailfeathers Farms) saw five mugshots hanging up last night and only four sheep and thought I was here and I'd escaped.  I sure wish I'd have escaped because this is a pretty crazy place to be and my mom keeps talking to lots of other people besides me and I'm sure that I'm missing all sorts of fun activities at home cause me and Blossom and Hank like to go on adventures all day and I'm sure Betsy missed me and I don't care if my mom says she'd have missed me today if I'd stayed home, I'm staying home tomorrow, so there!"

Maisie had a meltdown in the car on the way home this evening.  She really didn't seem to mind being at the festival all day and seemed to enjoy talking to everyone and letting them pet her, but whew, little kid too tired and hungry and thirsty (even though she had food and water all day, but it wasn't the green grass she was used to... ;-) meltdown on the way home.  I think she's going to get to stay home tomorrow.  Even though I am going to miss her :-/.

We got super lucky on the weather today and I think tomorrow might be more of the same.  A great group of folks coming through the booth today.  I'm always so humbled by how many people know our sheep by name ("Hey Keebs!" :-D) and come looking for us year after year.  It really means a lot.

P. S. If you left a bag of really pretty roving on one of our chairs today, stop by if you are going to be at the festival tomorrow or shoot me an email and I'll send it to you. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rain Rain Go Away

Come again some other day.  Like Monday.

I've done about everything I can...except load the truck and trailer.   So, here's a snuggly lamb enjoying a rainy afternoon last week :-).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

You Might Want To Put Your Coffee Down

We are setting up back with the fiber folks at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this year.  While I had a beautiful spot at the Bluegrass Classic Stockdog Trial last year (and they even threw in an adorable little chipmunk) I still couldn't see the trial field.  Ah, the good ole days...  Sigh.

They were looking for more sheep for display in the livestock vendor area, so I agreed to pull out a couple of the usual crew and added a couple new ones for color and breed education.  I wanted to hang something on the side of the pen to identify the suspects....hey, suspects.  Yeah, that's perfect! I'll set them up like mug shots :-D.

I tried using actual photographs, but it just wasn't "working".  I hated to give up on what I thought was a perfect idea though so this morning I sketched out some simple line drawings, colored them on the computer, dropped them onto the mug shot background...and I just can't stop laughing.

Your line up for the festival this weekend!

And...I'm sorry.  I think this is a scream.

I hope that brightened your day as much as it did mine.  Or maybe I'm just nuts...  SHUT UP! ;-)

Come see us this weekend!


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