Weekend gone

The weekend was spent in support of the museum where I volunteer, Wilderness Road Regional Museum. The weekend was the Newbern Fall Festival, the major fund raiser for the Volunteer Fire Department and because of the traffic it brings, the major fund raiser for the museum. The town of Newbern was the first county seat of Pulaski County and was established in 1810 by Henry Hance, who actually moved Wilderness Road to go through the town. As you travel through this small town, you can see many of the original homes still in use, but enlarged to accomodate modern families. Even the museum is the original Hance house, Hance store, and his son’s house with an addition to combine them. The Museum has no admission fee and is manned solely by volunteers. The property has several of the old buildings, including an old German barn and several outbuildings and the addition of a reconstructed outdoor kitchen building. To support the museum, several events are held each year with donations requested and some fees to help support the events. There are three events, Founder’s Day, Spirit Trail Day, and a Holiday Caroling event where two gorgeous Belgian Horses are brought in and pull a wagon through the property and town with small groups who have reserved space to ride. And the Fall Festival and Old Christmas without the ride.

For these events, the local historical reenactors come out in costume and set up at the museum for the day or days it occurs. We have a Revolutionary War unit of which I am a participant as a follower and spinner, a Civil War unit, blacksmith, period leather worker, bobbin lace maker, Colonial toy demonstration, and weaver. Sometimes there is a scrimshaw horn maker, a basket weaver, and candle dipping. This past weekend, an old cider press was put to use making apple cider to sample and in the yard, a kettle set over a low fire in a hole with volunteers stirring apple butter being made. Brown beans and cornbread sold, a raffle of several hand made items donated, and an apple pie contest. People wandered through for two days, watching demonstrations, looking at the old tools in the German barn, sampling cider, and on Sunday, purchasing some of the apple butter made Saturday with more to be canned up for later sale.

It was a successful event even though it started off damp and drizzling on Saturday and I came home tired and sore from sitting on the wooden bench spinning all weekend. It is nice that these events can be held outdoors or in the large open barn so it feels like a safe event.

Cabin Crafted

At times during the worst of the pandemic here, I considered ending the shop as sales on the internet don’t really happen and there were no events. We live in a county of deniers, by statistics, it is the worst in the state as far as cases per capita, though not at the bottom of the pile for vaccinations. Masks have been a non item even during the absolute worst periods. With both of us vaccinated and hoping for boosters, I have recently done a couple of events outdoors, keeping my distance from others by the arrangement of my booth and keeping a spinning wheel between me and visitors. This weekend, I will be both vending and functioning as the Revolutionary War working woman/spinner at Wilderness Road Regional Museum where I volunteer, less now than before Covid. I will be set up on a roofed, open sided porch, which feels fairly safe and will probably be masked most of the time. Before Covid, I would often allow children, with their parent’s permission to sit on my lap and help me spin, then giving them the bit of yarn they spun. I won’t do that now and may never return to that level of comfort. When I participate at the Museum events, I always donate an item to the raffle and/or a percentage of my proceeds to the museum fund to keep them open to the public.

For the past year and a half of so, my wheels have gotten little use unless I am doing a public event. My interest returned to my spinning roots and the use of spindles. My favorites are the Turkish spindles, all but one of mine, beautifully crafted by Ed Jenkins in Oregon. They vary from the gorgeous Black and White Ebony tiny spindle to a couple larger ones that I use mostly to ply yarn spun on the others. The non Jenkins spindle is a tiny one not pictured.

Depending on the event and my mood, there are other spindles in my collection. The only one I use with any regularity is the Bosworth top whorl spindle on the left in the next photo. The center spindle is a Dealgan, a Scottish whorless spindle that I use for demonstration purposes and the Mayan spinner that I can barely make function, but kids love to see it. There are also two tiny spindles that are more decoration than functional, I have considered making ornaments from them.

In preparation for the weekend event, I have finally updated my online shop and the link at the top of the blog now reflects my current stock, though I noticed that some of the pictures are sideways. I guess I should try to figure out how to repair that.

I have been using up the bits of leftover yarn from making the breed blanket. My first project to use them was a wool hat.

And I spun another breed for the blanket, but must say, it wasn’t one I enjoyed. It was gray Norwegian wool, a quite coarse longwool with lots of guard hairs that shed while I was spinning it. It was plied as I spun and is ready to knit, but I haven’t brought myself to the point of picking up the needle to start it as it isn’t soft at all and will have to go on an edge of the blanket because of what I have already assembled.

We will see how this weekend and the Museum Holiday Markets turn out before I decide whether to get serious about restocking the shop for the future. I’m hoping the Saturday rain finds a different location to fall upon. We have gone from drought to soaked.

Another Autumn Day

It is hot again, not mid summer hot, but warmer than I prefer when out walking or working in the yard. It is delightfully cool at night though and sleep with a window open above the bed is routine. Often in the late night, we hear coyotes (coywolves, coydogs) or whatever roams the woods and fields at night. About a week ago, I was awakened by one calling to distant ones, but it was right under our window, It must have been close up to the house, which was a bit unnerving. This morning, after it had dawned and the sky was already lit with morning sun, we heard them again, closer to the house than the woods beyond our fields.

With 13 hens in a coop designed for about 9, even with being free range hens all day from morning til dusk, they foul the straw so quickly. We purchased 2 new bales a few days ago and after a convenience center (trash) run and our daily brisk walk, I donned the “go to do dirty work, jeans” and rolled the wheelbarrow over to the coop. The dirty straw that will make hot compost was forked out and spread on one of the beds that were weeded last weekend. It will break down over the winter, the hot fertilizer will feed the soil, the straw will add compost and help keep the weeds from coming back up before frost. Since the coop is requiring more frequent mucking out, there will be plenty more to add to the other beds. The hens are so nosy. As soon as I begin doing anything over there, they all gather to see what is going on.

I noticed that the comfrey plant that is outside the fence has again gone under the fence. It will have to be dug out again. The leaves dried for salve and soap making. The bed in the top right corner of the photo is the fall greens bed and there are 3 rows of seedlings up. The Spinach Mustard has not come up there or in the hydroponic garden. So much for free seed samples.

Last night I finished the second pair of mitts that I was test knitting. I used my handspun yarn and went down a needle size, knit an extra inch on the cuff on this pair.

And as the month is closing on the September spindle challenges, I did a Breed Blanket assessment. I have spun 20 different breeds of wool and knit 37 squares for the blanket. Though not all of them are attached. The next 3 months will be dedicated to darker wools to provide some balance to the whites and light grays that have accumulated and layed out around the already joined squares to get a pleasing appearance.

Tomorrow, I will assess what was spun and knit for the month for the 15 minutes a day challenge. I have fulfilled that one so far with today and tomorrow to go.

October will be here and some knitting must be done if there is going to be any stock for fall and winter markets. I really want to get my loom warped and weave a scarf from yarn spun the past couple of months.