Tag Archives: relaxation

5/2/2017 Play Day

The hardest worker and the most dedicated slacker need an occasional play day.  One of my friends, the owner/operator of Sunrise Valley Farm is the source of the Leicester Longwool fiber that I love to spin.  This is the time of year where her ewes have recently lambed and she had invited me to come to their farm and see the babies.  After dropping grand daughter at preschool this morning, I ventured out to a part of the adjacent county that I had never visited before to their beautiful farm, a mixture of animal pastures for their 3 alpacas, the flock of sheep, a flock of myotonic goats with babies, turkeys, guardian dogs, chickens, and a sole noisy Guinea hen and wooded hillsides.   After a bit of time talking about some new ideas for their Farmers Market stall that will open on Saturday, we ventured out to the barn to see the one little bottle baby.


This wee little gal’s mom accepted her ram lamb brother, but not her and being a bottle baby is very used to being petted and rubbed.  She was too big to hide in a pocket to bring home, but I did enjoy having some baby time.  Some of the other lambs would come near, but didn’t really want to be touched as we walked in their pasture.

The young goats bounded around with the adults and were closely guarded by 3 of their guardian dogs.  We only watched them from a distance.  The turkey flock milled around, Tom strutted his stuff trying to impress his ladies.

It was an enjoyable morning, followed with some conversation over a cup of tea, then time to return home to an abbreviated afternoon duties as Jim had done the preschool pick up run and early afternoon supervision and as he was headed to his monthy Harley club meeting, took the grands to Taekwondo.  This left me with a late afternoon and evening at home alone.  A bit of perennial bed  weeding, a harvest of more asparagus and egg collection were all the chores managed outside.  Some reorganization of my spinning corner was accomplished and some prep  of the Cabin Crafted stock in preparation to vend at the spinning retreat the end of the month.


It is nice and restorative to have a day off occasionally, a chance to visit friends, and get some baby animal time.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a pleasant day as far as weather, perhaps the bean bed, sweet potato bed, and three sister’s garden will get turned and weeded in preparation for additional planting.  I forgot to check to see if the potatoes were up yet, but I did see evidence that we will have peas this year.  The bunnies don’t seem to bother the peas, but after losing all of my beans to them last year, that bed will be netted this year and the three sisters garden will likely have a low plastic poultry fence around it so the Anasazi beans can get tall enough to climb the corn before the rabbits get them too.

The electric wire needs to be run around the top of the fence to deter the deer.  With only a 4 foot fence, they can hop right in and feast and they too will take out the beans.

The extended forecast looks like we are going to have an early frost free date this year.  My garden has never been started quite this early before.

Retreat. Refresh, Renew

On Thursday morning, after another night of snow and little sleep fretting about whether I would be able to leave, I put my little CRV in low and crept up the drive and road in about 6 inches of new snow, not knowing what the paved road down the mountain would reveal.  I left more than an hour before I was to pick up my friend who was riding with me, just in case I had trouble.

The paved road was covered in snow with only tracks from a couple of vehicles but it was drive-able and when I safely reached the main road into town, they had pretreated it the day before and it was wet but not covered.  Since I had time, I stopped at a local coffee shop and bought a bagel sandwich and a cup of coffee to go and made my way to her house.  Though my friend’s address is a town address and she lives on a street with suburban type lots lining both sides, the lots are large and the street surrounded by farm fields, so the road to her was similar to ours snow covered, but flatter.  Friend was retrieved, suitcases, her product to vend and spinning wheels loaded and off we went to the retreat that is in a lodge in a state park near the New River Gorge in West Virginia.  We had stopped and lunched at Tamarack, a cafe run by the Greenbrier Hotel in a large ring shaped building around snow covered gardens with hand made crafts and food items displayed throughout.  A great place to eat and browse for gifts and crafts.  As I had walked out and left my tea mug on the counter at home, I indulged in the purchase of a pottery mug to take with me.

imageOur room on the 4th floor looked down on the frozen snow coated section of the New River.  The retreat is held in the Lodge conference room and lobby.  It is a gathering of fiber artists, spinners, knitters, weavers, and crocheters.  Many are vendors as well as participants with displays of fibers to buy, jams and jellies, jewelry, and hand made woven or knitted articles for sale.

Spinners, weavers and knitters, socializing and making yarn.
Roving from an abandoned flock of sheep, rescued and 20% of the price of the sale goes back to the rescuer to help her feed and have them sheered. This one in daughter preferred colors, so purchased to spin into yarn for her to knit.
Felted wool dryer balls from one vendor at a good price, so added to our collection.

The Lodge provides us with a complimentary breakfast, specials at a good price for lunch and dinner and even made Red Velvet cupcakes and coffee as a mid day snack at a low price.

We visit, watch each other spin for new techniques, shop at the vendors, chat, eat and have a nightly cocktail party catered by delicious food offerings from each retreat participant.  As many folks leave on Saturday, the door prizes, donated by the vendors and some participants and a gift exchange drawing occur around check out time. I won two bags of coordinated roving to spin and received two skeins of beautiful sock weight yarn to knit.  Wonderful prizes and gifts.  Some folks come for a day, others for a couple and some for the three days.

I have made new friends at the two retreats I have attended, come home with new recipes, fiber to spin that came from the farms of some of the participants or from the door prize drawing.  My big purchase at this retreat was a pound and a half of Coopsworth over dyed roving, enough for me to spin into yarn to make myself a sweater, the first time I will have enough to make a significant project spun and knit by me.  I will share photos of it when I have daylight and begin to spin it.  It took me both days there to fill a bobbin with 4 ounces of fine Dorset Lamb that I bought last retreat and now home, I will spin the other half to ply.  It is natural creamy white and may become my first dyeing project.

I miss my family when away, but the retreat refreshes and rejuvenates me so I come back relaxed and renewed to them.  As a treat, I also returned to a clean refrigerator and a vacuumed and dusted house and clean kitchen, thanks to my daughter.  Glad I bought her the gift.

My friend and I reserved our room for the fall retreat before we left today.

The Retreat

Thursday morning, I departed, leaving Mountaingdad home to care for dogs, chickens, and for part of the weekend, also Son #1 and Grandson #1, while I traveled two hours west with a spinner friend to Hawks Nest State Park for a 3 day spinning retreat.  And a treat it was.  In route the other 4 of the other spinners from our local group met us at Tamarack, a delightful juried craft market with a cafe run by The Greenbrier.  We wandered and ogled the wood, glass, pottery, weaving, prints, and quilts then had our lunch in the cafe before making the last half hour trek to the park.

There we were treated to rooms, most that overlooked a long section of the New River Gorge.

The view from our room and from the conference room of the retreat.
Check in area of the lobby.
We didn’t even unpack before we set up our wheels and started to spin, Shetland, Mohair, Cotswold, Dorset, Alpaca, Yak and Silk.  Many vendors with more fiber to tempt this hungry group of fiber artists.


Spinners and weavers, tables of fluff, chatter and knitting, all lots of fun stuff.

At night we partied on goodies brought from home and pot luck shared with beverages of choice.  To town we zipped for lunch at the Cathedral Cafe for homemade soup, salad and bread, then homemade Chai tea and carrot cake.  Another evening to town for pizza, salad and beer or rootbeer.

Three days of new friends and old, food, fiber and fellowship.  Each of us leaving with a goody bag of fiber samples, notebooks, pens, pencils, patterns and a door prize each of wonderful donated weavings, fiber, photo frames, salsa and chips, bags or other wonderful surprises.

In spite of the chattery good times, much yarn was made, much was woven or knit.  I succeeded in over 400 yards of a mixed fiber skein.

This will be added to my growing mixed fiber yarn of naturals and colors that will be a blanket someday.
This will be added to my growing mixed fiber yarn of naturals and colors that will be a blanket someday.
This hot mess of overspun Merino that looks like a 106 yard long hair scrunchy.
This hot mess of overspun Merino that looks like a 106 yard long hair scrunchy.

And 100 grams of beautiful Merino that is awaiting the other 100 grams to be spun and plied that will become a gift scarf for some lucky person.

The Hot Mess was Merino purchased there as is the Merino that is only half done and the 8 ounce bag of Dorset Lamb fiber the Hot Mess is sitting on.  I will enjoy more spinning reminders from the weekend and look forward to the next retreat in late winter of the one next fall.  I will return.