Tag Archives: Craft market

A Month on the Farm – 12/20/2018

Tomorrow marks the first official day of winter and the shortest day of the year here on the farm, though the meteorologic winter began weeks ago.  I’m ready for the days to lengthen.  Being much a creature of natural light cycles, I awake each day around 5 or 5:15 a.m., but don’t want to get up and disturb the household until the sky starts to lighten in the east.  By sundown and full on dark, I am ready to snuggle in for the night, trying to stay up and awake with night owl hubby at least until 10 or 10:30 p.m., often to fall asleep in my chair before drifting off to bed.

The month has been a whirlwind with 5 craft markets in 5 weeks that require loading and unloading the set up and product from the car.

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This Saturday is the last one for the year with no more until spring.

The month also has included 3 Christmas celebrations, two in costume at Wilderness Road Regional Museum for their music, Christmas treats, and evening lighted tours as I spun on a beautiful old Walking Wheel that with a tiny bit of TLC by me, now works.

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I love this photo with the shadow of the wheel on the wall.  This one is credited to April the organizer of the events.  There will be one more on Old Christmas that I will also attend in costume.  The third celebration was with the spinning group to which I belong.  I have not been a very good participant of late with everything else going on, but made a point of joining them for that as many folks that don’t get to come regularly come for this event and I enjoy seeing my friends.  I hope to get back to the weekly spin days after the holidays.

The month provided another challenge as I bought a dozen winter chicks about 4 1/2 weeks ago.  They were fortunately already 2 weeks old and beginning to feather out.  The “brooder” I use is a huge 110 gallon flexible plastic stock tank with a heat table for warmth.  Not a fan of having the birds in the house, the stock tank is in the garage on a carpet covered platform about 4 inches off the ground.  It was cold when we brought them home and ended up adding a 250W red heat lamp and covering half of the top with a mylar sheet to help retain the heat.  This was functioning okay until we were threatened with and received more than a foot of snow.  Wet snow this time of year often results in loss of power, so the brooder was dragged around the back of the house and into the walk out finished basement where there is a wood stove, before the snow began.  The stove was kept going until we were sure the power was not going out, about 3 days.

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The snow was beautiful and before it was totally gone, the brooder was loaded onto a sled and dragged back to the garage.  By Monday, the littles were 6 weeks old, fully feathered and too big for the stock tank, so the thoroughly cleaned coop was layered with about a foot of straw and they were moved to tough it out without the benefit of supplemental heat.  We have had several very cold nights and all is well in the coop.  The basement then received a deep cleaning to remove the dust from having the chicks indoors for a week.

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I am working on teaching them to use the adult no waste feeder and no waste waterer, while providing the hanging feeder as well.  They are beginning to get their adult colorations.  By mid week next week they should know that food and water are in the coop and that is where to return when hungry and at night and they will be let out into the run.  I fear they are still small enough to get through the holes in the fence though and I don’t like to panic them by trying to catch them but until they will follow me back to the run for treats, they can’t free range.

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This view if you have followed the blog for long, often appears.  The end of that ridge in the distance drops to a gap to the New River.  That view is one of my favorites from the farm and it was just over 13 years ago that we saw this property for the first time in early December.  By January, it was ours to plan and build on.  If you can love a property in the bleak of winter, you can really love it anytime.

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The deck progressed in the past month as well, with a Thanksgiving weekend being spent by son and daughter in law preparing it for the decking, rails, and balusters.  Those materials are to be delivered tomorrow and by the first of the year, hopefully, we will be able to safely step out of the French doors of the dining room onto a solid surface, not a one story drop.  It is deceptive as the stairs come down on a flat created and held in place by a gorgeous stone retaining wall.  The deck itself is one story up from the grade below.

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With the prep for Christmas, the various events, cooking for family for Thanksgiving and preparing to cook for Christmas, little knitting or spinning have been done except for two pair of wool socks for a tiny farmer, the toddler son of one of the regular vendors at the market.  They have been knit this week after she asked last Saturday.  I hope they fit the little guy and can be passed down to his baby brother in another couple of years.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas or other seasonal holiday of this time of year and a Happy New Year.

Adjustments – Nov. 6, 2018

Every time my shop has been set up at a craft event, my space has been 10 X 10 feet, my pop-up tent is 10 X 10 feet when I am outdoors.  My application for the first event for me this fall asked for a 10 X 10 foot space against a wall and paid the premium application fee to get it.  Night before last a call came in and I was informed that there were no spaces of that size available.  My options were an 8 X 8 foot space in the middle of the room or a 4 X 12 foot space in the hall.  Not wanting a long skinny spot, nor being in the hall, I opted for the 8 X 8 foot center space and requested that the cost difference be reimbursed to me.

This produced a dilemma for me.  My stall is set up with a mannequin that is free standing, 2 tables that are 2′ X 4′ each, and the wooden ladder rack that I made that is two panels each 31″ wide hinged with a piano hinge so it doesn’t open fully.  And a space for me to sit on a small stool to spin or knit.  This needed to be arranged so that the stall is open and inviting, and not knowing who or how the adjacent stalls will be set up.

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Yesterday afternoon, an 8 X 8 foot space was laid  out on the kitchen floor and the tables, mannequin, rack, and my stool arranged until it looked appealing.  This produced another issue of where to hang the shop sign so that it is visible and not obstructive.  It hangs from the tent when outdoors.  Since the products are displayed in wooden crates much like old fashioned wooden soda crates, which have some weight to them, the sign will hang from the side of one down the facing end of one table.

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The other hanging sign is one that leads with “Why Buy Handmade?”  It will hang from the end post of part of the ladder rack.   The space is a bit tighter than that to which I am accustomed, but I think  it will work.  Hopefully, it will be a good event and worth the time put in.

Tomorrow is an opportunity to don my Colonial garb, grab a spinning wheel and help teach and demo to a group of home schooled youth visiting Wilderness Road Regional Museum for a history day.

I voted, did you?

One Down, One to Go

This Holiday Market morn dawned mild and calm.  I was very hopeful.   The car was loaded last night and I knew that I couldn’t pull in until after 8 a.m.   The market is an L shaped open sided shelter with a larger L shaped parking lot that is open during the week with metered parking, but is restricted for vendor’s stalls during the Saturday morning markets.  The regular vendors that are under the shelter must be able to pull their trucks and cars in to unload before the vendors in the parking lot can follow and pull through to unload, then all vehicles are relocated to a lot across the street that is faculty parking for the University during the week, but open unmetered parking on the weekends.  I arrived, spoke with the market manager to locate my spot, pulled in beside my neighboring vendor’s car and unloaded.  The market vendors, both regular and those of us that only do the Holiday market’s all work together to get pop up canopies erected, heavy items shifted and ready to sell when the 9 o’clock bell rings.  I had Lance with a huge tent selling glazed clay coasters and plaques on one side and Bethany and her husband selling hand thrown pottery on the other.  We got Lance’s tent and my tent erected, Bethany chose not to put one up with the wind threat.  My tables were set up, my product displayed, it looked like a perfect day.  The bell rang and business commenced along with the impending cold front.  First we got a light rain and I was glad I had decided to put up the tent as soap, yarn, knit goods, and rain don’t mix well. Then as the rain passed, the wind arrived.  One tent blew totally off of the food vendor’s stall and was caught just before going through a plate glass window.  Displays were being tossed and some blown down.  I didn’t fear too much for my tent as it had three 45-50 pound buckets of rocks and 20 pounds of leg weights holding it down.  One by one, vendors were walking their tents out from around their stalls and collapsing them before more blew down.  Eventually I began to fear for Bethany’s pottery and we collapsed mine as well as I watched a similar pop up tent break in the wind, using my heavy buckets to hold Lance’s huge tent in place until the end of market.

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You can see the wind blowing the table covers  and this was fairly early in the day while my tent was still up.

My shawl rack and my A frame hat and mitt rack would not stay on the table even tied down as the afternoon wore on, so I eventually just put the items on a table.  It was a good day of sales for soap and beard oil, a couple of hats, but no yarn or mitts sold.  The slouch hats were popular, I will try to get a couple more knitted before the December market.

Once everything was packed up and reloaded in my car, I drove home in snow showers. We had a 15ºf temperature drop and a 25 mph wind increase during the 5 hours and we continue to have snow showers, the first of the season.

I took advantage of being at the Farmers’ Market to get rolls for Thanksgiving, Daikon radishes to make Kimchee, the last bag of market salad for the season, some eggs since my hens are still molting and not laying, and a bunch of collards to enjoy with steak and potatoes tonight.  Monday, we drive to Wethertop Farm to pick up our fresh turkey.

I still have not thawed out, but it was a good day.  Now I need to make a few batches of soap, some lotion bars, knit some hats and start preparing for the December event.