right now :: recovering, exhilarated

For twenty years, we have held a gathering of eclectic, “holistic”, “alternative” farmers, gardeners, and homesteaders at Long Hungry Creek Farm.  It’s a sort of a family reunion where new folks are always welcome.conference 3

I’ve probably attended more than fifteen of those twenty years worth of gatherings.  (We call it a “conference”.)  And usually the weather is great.  Sometimes, it gets cold that weekend.  Sometimes it rains one night, or part of a day.  I cannot remember that it has ever ever rained so much and at the same time been so cold for the weekend of our get-together as it was this year.

I was completely unnerved.  This is an outdoor event.  We put up an extra tent in the yard – a big tent.  But I knew it wasn’t sufficient.

Truth was, it didn’t matter.  As soon as the people began to arrive, my apprehensions began to melt.  The people who attend this event are wonderful people.  Some went to town and got rooms at the local B&Bs.  Some camped in the rain.  No one complained.  They drank a lot of coffee and hot tea.  They ate the warm meals with gratitude.  They may have even attended MORE of the workshops than usual, because they were held in protected locations.conference 4conference 2

Both Friday and Saturday were cold and wet.   Sunday, the clouds broke and the sun warmed us, through and through.

We celebrated the goodness of another season past.  We exchanged our thoughts, and our laughter.  We delved into the mystery of the living soil, the good and beautiful earth that we share, and the simultaneous struggle and victory of being human.  This is the new agricultural revolution.  It is populated with good company.conference 1

I am grateful to everyone who took part in the weekend.  I am still sleeping it off.  And I am still exhilarated.

the whole process.

It started out looking like this…IMGP0394And slowly but surely, became this…IMGP2305From sheep to baby blanket… It’s the first time I’ve ever accomplished the whole process from start to finish in many many years of wanting it to happen! 

(The pattern is Concentric Squares Baby Blanket by Fiber Fiend, http://www.fiberfiend.com)

In between the beginning and the end, there was a whole slew of processes. If you’ve been following along with our stories in this space for some time now, you may recall the tending and shepherding of the sheep all through the cold winter months. Or even before that, my family’s trip to Pennsylvania to fetch my flock of Shetlands and then being crammed in the truck like sardines for the long haul. Then spring arrived and shearing needed to happen. Remember when the Hill and Hollow crew came to save the day with their electric sheep shears? And remember not quite as long ago when my family had an overnight stay in a hotel and as my luggage I took a dirty sheep’s fleece for scouring in the hotel bathtub? And the borrowed drum carder? And all of the spinning? And then the indigo dyeing? (Which was a whole process in and of itself with the seeding, weeding, growing and harvesting!) Finally, my favorite part of the process, the hours and hours of knitting… knitting while the kids swam in the creek, or in the early gray mornings, or while I waited for supper to cook, or while I accompanied Eric for chores (but not being able to walk and actually help out with chores because of my leg. Moral support is good too!). It is a long-winded process I will admit! But it’s also incredibly satisfying…IMGP2307(You can see the color change between dye lots… I wasn’t totally thrilled with this feature and did try to overdye the whole blanket to make the blue more consistent, but alas, there is still a definite line. Oh, well. Maybe next year when the indigo is ready, I will try again.)

When I finally finished the baby blanket, the kids asked me how much I would charge if I were to sell the blanket. I just had to laugh. 

So the blanket is all finished. Now I just need a baby to wrap up in it…IMGP2310