Fiber Field Trip

Salt Bay Treadlers at our December meeting in Damariscotta

Yesterday our fiber group, the Salt Bay Treadlers, decided to take a field trip to Portland.  Now, we are a very dedicated group of spinners, weavers and knitters and are motivated by fiber of all types, but we also can be swayed very easily by good food.  So we decided to combine the two and have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Paciarino, and then go into Munjoy Hill and head for the Portland Fiber Gallery and Weaver’s Studio.

It was a stupendous day!  There were 6 of us fiberistas, so we took two vehicles.  We met up on the early lunch side at Paciarino’s.

Lunch at Paciarino, minus Pam who is taking the photo!

That restaurant is such a great experience; all of their pastas and sauces are fresh.  When you go in, there is a chalkboard that has the day’s menu, and they even have a little box showing the pastas and raviolis that are available.  The menu is limited, but every time I am there I have a very difficult time choosing my meal!  Yesterday I had their potato/gorgonzola ravioli with red sauce.  Between that, a beautiful salad of fresh greens, and the capuccino, I was in heaven.  Two of our friends had the Tiramisu dessert which they shared… it was amazing as well.

I would have been happy to leave it there, but then we headed over to the Portland Fiber Gallery and Weaver’s Studio.  I have visited there on a number of occasions and I always leave with some beautifully dyed fiber or yarn, after having a lovely chat with Melodi.  Thursdays is their day for a spin-in from 12-4.  I am not sure that Melodi knew what happened for a few minutes when we descended on them!  We had to move some looms aside, but then we got our wheels set up and got going.  There were two other spinners there, one an employee of the gallery, and one a lovely young teacher from NYC who was visiting during  the school break.

Christine, Jocelyn and Esther at the spin-in

We did a lot of spinning, chatting, problem-solving, and a little bit of fiber shopping as well.  The added bonus of the day was Melodi’s new puppy Annie Oakley, who was just as laid back and lovely as any puppy I have ever met.  She sat with anyone who grabbed her, so we all had a little bit of a cuddle!

It was a wonderful afternoon of fiber and friends.  The highlight of my vacation week so far.  A lovely day out filled with fiber, friends and amazingly good food!  We really have to do this more often.

Pam (of Hatchtown Farm) at the other end of the Paciarino table!

Blizzard days

Back stairs after the storm (pot of soup that wouldn't fit into the refrigerator)

Can you ever really be prepared for a blizzard?  We were quite busy around here on Sunday, trying to get things battened down.  We fully expected not to have electricity, so the generator was all ready with lots of extra fuel, the tractor was in place, and the candles were front and center with the flashlights.  It didn’t seem too bad until partway through the night when the wind really picked up, and even our tight little house rattled and shook.  Yesterday’s chores were a bit on the rough side, and I didn’t even bother with the camera.  The wind whipped the snow around so hard, I don’t think I could have gotten a very clear picture.  And aside from that, all I wanted to do was to feed the beasties and get back inside.

This morning didn’t feel too bad, and my husband had cleaned everything out with the tractor so it was much easier making my way up the driveway to the paddocks.  This afternoon I decided to take the camera and see if my fingers lasted long enough to get some photos.  The sheep were calmly chewing cud and were surprised to see me a little earlier than usual, but the wind is still so strong, I didn’t want to wait until the wind chills were in the minus numbers after dark again!

Here are a few random photos:

Just up from afternoon nap time


Ewe lamb Beezus (front right) and adult ewe Lupine (white, next to the feed bunker) amongst other ewe lambs, wait for their supper




Piggie house, snowbound (no pigs at this time of year)

It’s a white one!

Winter trees

We did get 3 or 4 inches of snow on Wednesday.  I got to work (my farthest school, 26 miles), began to enjoy the staff holiday breakfast, just to get the word that we were going home.  It was an adventure, but not too bad.  The snow really began to add up late in the day, and the next morning it looked beautiful.  It’s still on the ground, so we will have a white Christmas morning tomorrow.  As long as we aren’t buried under many feet of snow over the weekend, maybe we can do some sledding in the driveway!

It's breakfast!


Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which wait in the snow for their morning fare

Happy Solstice Night

My friend Jolly's holly

All the holidays of the cold season that involve lights are very satisfying to me.  At this time of year, when I am doing chores some days in the dark both morning and night, coming in to light the Hanukkah candles or to the tree and twinkle lights, just makes everything seem a little better, just a little brighter.  Not so dark.  I become obsessed with sunrise and sunset times as the autumn wears through to winter, checking weather websites and listening raptly to our Channel 6 weathercasters like they are prophets.  It must be a totally primal or genetic thing.  Of course I realize that the farming life makes the weather a very personal thing at any point in the year, but at this season it seems even more so.

Of course, this time of year also fills me with all kinds of joy, hope and gratitude:  seed catalogs and pregnant sheep and goats to tend until it’s almost spring, and then new life appears, bouncy and fresh.  That, family, friends, music, good food and a warm house help to keep the dark away.  And then who can beat those really cold, clear nights when we are feeding sheep their hay on the snow-covered ground and the sky is full of the winter constellations, clear and bright.

The best grandboy in the universe!

So we surround ourselves with greenery, like the holly from my good friend Jolly (thanks again Jolly!).  And then, who can resist smiling when they see this face?   Another blessing on any day of the year.


Signs of the times

Tree in place with lights. What else does it need?

Brain on overload.  Large conifer in the corner.  Dining room table that can’t be seen again.  Baking, or at least attempting to bake, and knitting.  Basically, trying to do too many things at once.  It’s been a lot of fun, though, as our grandson is at the age where he is really beginning to notice things.  And a 14′ tall, 7′ wide tree is difficult to overlook.  (I seem to remember asking our son to find a 4 or 5 foot tree out back.  He couldn’t find one that wasn’t a total Charlie Brown, so I told him to take the top 4-6 feet off of one that has to come down near the driveway.  I never expected him to drag the whole thing in!).

We also got sidetracked a little bit this weekend.  We thought there was going to be a huge storm coming up the coast, with a predicted 2 feet of snow.  I like snow, but that’s a little excessive!  It now looks like it has taken a turn out to sea, so we can get off high-alert and get back to more important things, like baking and decorating :*)

It’s official

Let's get some dinner over here!

Two biggies today:  the first snow of the season, and also the first day in working toward drying off the milking does.  The first thing being the surprise, the second I had planned for.  The weather reports all showed the line of snow to be north of here, but as I drove down to work today on the next peninsula east of here, things were not looking so fine.  The snow was a very dry one, so it was blowing a bit, but it really pounded down during the morning and as a result, the students were sent home early.  It took me an hour and a quarter to get home, the going was quite something!  When I finally got out to chores, it was dark.  My wonderful new camera, (Panasonic Lumix, FH20), took some great photos of the sheep and goats waiting for their dinner!  

Snow Pea and Pippi were suitably excited to get onto the milk stand after a 24 hour hiatus, and they really had a lot of milk.  But in the next few days of milking only once a day it should abate some.  Then we go to every third day… etc.  It’s time.  It’s way too cold to be out there doing this in the wind and the snow.  We will all get a rest until the spring.  I really have to sit down and do my due date spread sheet :*)

Ewes on the road

Ewes wait their turn for a ride home

This weekend was designated as “get the sheep home from the pasture down the street” weekend.  I am always tempted to put this off as long as possible as I always think of it as an exhausting activity.  It’s really only an hour or two of work, but I can’t do it alone so I need to have our son lined up for the move.  Yesterday turned out to be the day, and JD and I got the ewes penned with some feed and then we haltered them and put them in the car two at a time.  The difficult part is getting them into the car…  but once they are in there, it’s a breeze.

Sheep tushies in the back of the Subaru

We didn’t have time to get Jingle the donkey back yesterday so she stayed one more night by herself.  On the way back from a quick trip to town this morning John jumped out of the car and got her out of the pasture.  She walked like a champ down the road until the line where it turns from pavement into gravel.  She did not like that at all!  I went home and got a bucket of grain, but that didn’t help much.  All in her own time she decided that she could get going, and then we didn’t have  a problem until just before the winter paddock at the house.  It wasn’t pretty, but nothing we did made a difference.  Donkeys definitely have their own mind.  We ended up penning her in front of the open gate, and when we stopped hovering, she just walked in.  It’s always the way!

Happy Hanukkah 2010

Hanukkah is early this year

It’s the fifth night of Hanukkah and I finally got around to making latkes.  Grease and starch… can’t get any better comfort food than that!  Sawyer has been down with strep, so we have been doing a lot of cuddling and reading books this weekend.  And I am still feeling blah from being sick for so long.  But I always find the menorah such a gift of light during the shortest days of the year.   I am enjoying the evening!

Latkes from good Maine potatoes