Tag Archives: Salt Bay Treadlers

Home again, home again

My slice of sky with a morning moon
My slice of sky with a morning moon

I don’t have much jiggity jig in my step, however.  My husband and I had to make an emergency trip down to NJ because his 90 year old mother was unwell and we really didn’t know what the outcome was going to be.  So off we went, really early on Sunday morning,  and blasted down.  7 hours driving with a quick stop or two.  My hips and back don’t do so well on long travels anymore, but it wasn’t too bad as we were able to share the driving.  And the traffic even in the suburbs of NYC is so bad these days, we had massive culture shock!

Yes, definitely my baby
Yes, definitely my baby

My mother in law is now on the mend and we came north yesterday.  My older son had been taking care of the goaties, and a friend of ours did the pigeon care.  It was a total relief to be home, and when I got outside this morning I was wonderstruck by our peepers, the quiet, and my very own slice of Maine sky with the moon still hanging there.  What a relief!

Goat kid selfie
Goat kid selfie

Pippi is warming up for her big event, but I believe she is still a few days out.  I am looking forward to spending some time with her as she gets closer to kidding day.  SnowPea’s babies are on a tear around the paddock, and can always be found out by the big rock.  They allowed me to take a “selfie” of them looking over my shoulder.  And then mama called them over to the feeder and she asked them to hang out by her for awhile.

Okay, Mom, we won't go far!
Okay, Mom, we won’t go far!

And then tonight was our monthly spinning/knitting group.  Great laughs with some wonderful women.  Can’t get much better than that!  What an amazingly great day.

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Summer ends with a fiber-filled weekend

The Mawata (multiple silk cocoons stretched into a square shape
The Mawata (multiple silk cocoons stretched into a square shape) I stretched at the workshop, then dyed with woad

Saturday, a friend and I were lucky enough to get into a workshop down at PortFiber in Portland. Taught by Robin Russo, it was a day spent learning about the history of sericulture (farming silk worms) as well as a lot of hands-on work with silk cocoons, reeling silk, pulling cocoons into “hankies,” and then spinning wild and cultivated silks. It was an absolutely fabulous workshop, and I would highly recommend any workshop with Robin! She is a wonderful teacher. She even brought in silk moths who were mating and laying eggs.

Intact Bombyx silk cocoons
Intact Bombyx silk cocoons

Yesterday was spent at Hatchtown Farm having a spinning party/end of summer blast. As usual, we had lots of food, laughter and fun. Sitting on the porch listening to the crickets and watching the crazed grasshoppers and dragonflies was very therapeutic!

Spinning party!
Spinning party!

One of our spinning friends, Chris, set up a woad experiment for us to work on during the afternoon. She grew the woad plants over the summer, and got the initial dye pot set up yesterday morning. When we got together, she continued the process and we got to put a bit of fiber into the pot during the afternoon. It was magical! The woad was a lighter blue than most indigo will dye, and it’s beautiful. Chris threw my little misshapen mawata into the pot and it’s turned fabulous shades of blue.

Some of the woad-dyed fiber
Some of the woad-dyed fiber

It was an exceptional weekend to end the summer fun. The weather totally cooperated, and of course, the heat and humidity are coming back just in time for school to begin!

The Deluge

Tesser during the deluge today
Tesser during the deluge today

Today was definitely Wet Wednesday. I don’t know how much rain we had, but during the night we had lightning that was too close for comfort, and at some point around 1:30 a.m., there was definitely a lightning strike in the neighborhood. Close. Even Tesser the Chihuahua zipped out from under the covers when that one hit. Everyone is waterlogged, but the weather sounds much better for the next 5 days or so. The paddocks are waterlogged and mucky beyond belief, but with the change in the weather, this should get better.

So at least tonight the rain has finally stopped, and our Treadler’s trip to Vinalhaven is all scheduled for tomorrow morning. I am very excited. I have to finish getting together my spinning and knitting projects, and will be ready and waiting in the morning. Nothing better. Spinning, knitting and great food, here we come!

Winter white

 

Winter wonderland
Winter wonderland

Woke up to a winter wonderland again. The warm temperatures have pretty well melted the old, dingy snow and ice, and yesterday afternoon some wetter snow began falling. Thank goodness we did not get much here, but every twig and blade of dead grass is coated. It’s an amazing white world out there!

Yesterday afternoon the Maine Cooperative Agricultural extension held one of their traveling workshops on handling raw milk and milk products. It was close enough that I was able to go, but 3 hours wasn’t nearly long enough! I am not usually able to get to the full day workshop on dairy and milking room sanitation which is held in March, so this at least was a bit of a help. Lots of great information, but better yet were the attendees and the extension staff. Lots of knowledge in a group like that. Lots to think about as I work toward the possibility of getting a licensed dairy up and running.

Girls being patient, waiting for breakfast
Girls being patient, waiting for breakfast

In the meantime, today we are off to our Salt Bay Treadlers rescheduled Christmas party. I can hardly wait :*)

August is flying already

Sheep art
Sheep art

The first full week of August and the pressure is on.  Back to school gets closer all the time.  I have been busy this week and yesterday, luckily, was chock full of fun things.  Well, the doctor visit and a shot in my bursitis hip wasn’t exactly fun, but it sure beats the pain!

Crazy chicken art!
Crazy chicken art!

After the doc, I made my way (slowly due to all the traffic) out of town and went to meet my friend Chris at Halcyon Yarn in Bath.  Outside of a wonderful shop in itself, they were hosting a small crafts show on their upper two floors.  A good friend of ours, Heather Kerner of Spiralworks Felt, was participating.  Since she and her family live at least an hour + away, it was an opportunity to have a little visit with them. And the fair was wonderful!  Lots of lovely finished items were available, from knitting books, to sheep and chicken art, to woven, felted, netted and sewn items.

Lavender sachet pillow
Lavender sachet pillow

I was good and restrained myself… the only thing I bought is a lovely lavender sachet cleverly sewn from antique linens.

Salt Bay Treadlers first Wednesday meeting
Salt Bay Treadlers first Wednesday meeting

After I got home and did chores early, I rushed back to town for our first Wednesday spinning night!  It was full of great conversation, wonderful food, and lots of fiber.  I thought I would remember to take more photos, but alas, I only snapped one.  Needless to say, it was a fun evening.  Wish we weren’t all so busy that we couldn’t do more of them!

Today I am home and doing some cooler weather cooking, braised lamb shanks.  I had to look for a new recipe since recently my husband is having trouble digesting cooked tomato things.  :*(  I love my other recipes, but hopefully this one will be a winner.  It has lots of red wine in it, so how bad could it be!

July spinning retreat on the horizon

Tesser the Chihuahua may be the only one enjoying the heat and humidity!
Tesser the Chihuahua may be the only one enjoying the heat and humidity!

I am definitely looking forward to this coming weekend.  Our little spinning group, the Salt Bay Treadlers, has organized a 3.5 day retreat.  The Maine Spinner’s Registry does one in the summer and typically it takes place at a ski resort.  Two years ago Chris, Christine and I joined the larger group at Sugarloaf.  It was a fun weekend, although an extremely hot one.

This year 5 of our local group decided that we wanted to do some kind of get-away, but being a July weekend, did we want to go to the mountains, or possibly find a way to go to the ocean?  Connections were made, and we ultimately found a house to rent on the island of Vinalhaven.  It sounds like heaven right this minute, and I can’t wait to get out there on Thursday.  The heat and humidity continue, making life and farming just that little bit more challenging.  I really shouldn’t complain, most of the country is experiencing the same weather conditions, so it’s not anything anyone else isn’t coping with.  And at least close to the coast we are finding occasional onshore breezes every once in awhile.

Nonetheless, the thought of some time closer to the water with plenty of lovely walks, swimming, time for spinning/knitting as we please, and good company, is a powerful one.  Indeed, I find the preparations are a large part of the enjoyment of the weekend.  All of us are trying to decide what special projects we can take with us to work on, which books to pack, and also preparing all kinds of great food to share.  We are actually quite organized, and hopefully we have everything that we need, and probably will have a lot more!  All of us are enthusiastic, wonderful  cooks, so it should be a wonderful treat.  I am hoping to have lots of lovely photos to share when we return.  I don’t believe that we will have internet access, which should make the weekend even more relaxing :*)

Treadler’s Party 2012

We had a great Salt Bay Treadler’s holiday party yesterday in Brunswick.  Chris provided an amazing spread of food which was augmented by all the we brought, and then we did a lot of spinning, knitting and crocheting all afternoon while a very soft snow was falling outside.  It was perfect and wonderful!

The tradition at this party is to wrap a gift and then while music plays we pass the gifts around and when Chris’ Santa hat stops singing, whichever gift we have in our hands is ours.  I prefer this to the usual Yankee swap, and we each opened our gift one at a time so we could all enjoy it.  It was lovely!  I am hoping that Christine of Maine Fiber Arts enjoys the cowl I spun, knit and adorned with buttons!  She got it!  And I got a beautiful pair of crocheted fingerless mitts and a bottle of red wine from Crystal the massage therapist!  Lovely all around.  It was a memorable day and I hope that we can manage it every year!

 

(The cowl pattern I found as a free download on Ravelry.  The pattern is by Verbascum and it’s called the Button Row Cowl)

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Button love

Buttons!
Buttons!

Most of us grew up in a household that had a button box or bag.  We had a very large, old tin filled to overload proportions. When I was in first grade my grandfather, a tailor, taught me how to sew buttons onto fabric.  He was recuperating from cataract surgeries at our house, and we used to sit in the sunroom and sew.  I had all different kinds of fabric scraps, and after he taught me how to do a running stitch and hem the material, he taught me how to get buttons on.  I happily sewed buttons onto fabric in all different designs, and then just as happily cut them off and did it all over again.  I was a very bad asthmatic as a child and I was used to doing quiet activities, particularly in the spring, and in my memory it was spring (although I have no one to corroborate that!).  My troll doll collection all got new clothing that was adorned with many buttons the year after that!

Button milk bottle
Button milk bottle

I have no idea where my mother’s button tin ended up.  Suffice it to say, I don’t have it.  Every once in awhile I pick up some buttons, and when I anticipate a knitting project that will need them, I begin looking.  I must have been moaning about not having a button box one day to our friend Chris, and a few months later, she showed up with this really wonderful gift:  an old glass milk bottle filled to the brim with buttons!  I just love that bottle, and for many months have had it sitting on our coffee table as it is so colorful.  I love looking at it.  My husband also appreciates the milk bottle, coming from a dairying family as he does, and it’s nice that molded into the glass is the name “Drew’s Dairy Inc, Augusta, Maine.”  We have collected old milk bottles for many years, and the ones that my husband loves best are the ones that have the name of the dairy molded right into the glass.

So as I was finishing up a knitting project yesterday during the bad weather, I tipped out the button bottle and had a lot of fun picking through the little jewels.  I happily took a lot of time to  choose the correct combination of buttons for my project.  The project was finished up this morning, and unfortunately I cannot put a photo in here as it is a gift that will accompany me to our yearly spinner’s group Christmas/Solstice/New Year’s party tomorrow.  I will post a photo after that.  Maybe whoever gets the gift will let me photograph them in it :*)

4th of July

Bonbel’s girls staying out of trouble for once!

We spent the rest of yesterday checking on our little doelings and making sure that they had fly repellent on them.  Our special little one spent most of the day tucked in beside her mother sleeping, and I have to give Pippi a lot of credit, she hung with her baby until dinnertime without being far from her.  By the time I did chores last night the little one was playing hard with her sister and her cousins while the moms got down to serious eating.  So I think she is on the mend and her hornbud looks dry and hopefully uninviting to the local fly population!

Last night we had a wonderful meeting of our Salt Bay Treadlers in Damariscotta.  It was an extremely fun evening with plenty of food, laughter and spinning.  I got to bed a lot later than usual due to my asthma acting up, but it was ok as I didn’t have to get up at any specific time today.  It turned out to be a much more pleasant day than I had expected and I got a bunch of things accomplished.  I didn’t get down to the Round Pond parade due to my breathing, but I got some organizing around the kitchen done which made me feel a lot better.  And then I spent most of the afternoon catching up on a book I am reading, The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater.  I started this book a few years ago and then work got crazy and I put it aside.  It’s one of my favorite types of “adult” reading, a memoir of a woman changing her focus in life.  Buying an olive farm in Provence and all of the attendant woes is right up my alley.  I loved all of the Peter Mayle books about moving to Provence and I am equally enjoying Carol Drinkwater’s experiences in southern France.  It’s nice to be able to take a humid afternoon off to just sit and read and I am happy that I did.  Some of the stress of the schoolyear is beginning to ease.  It was a good day!

A Summery holiday weekend

The day began with heavy fog and clouds, but it has finished up as a gorgeous, sunny afternoon.  I am afraid that it’s the non-stop Fiber Frolic preparation weekend, but we were pleasantly surprised with some unexpected company this afternoon as well.

Carded batts

Our friend Jocelyn, of the Salt Bay Treadlers, came up to get some goat milk for a litter of baby bunnies that she has had born at her place.  Beautiful chocolate angora bunnies, but a large litter for the first time mama.  So we had a chance to have a nice visit, and she helped me pick some clean fleece to get it ready to put through the carder.  Before I knew it, our son and grandson had stopped by for a visit and we had a lovely time.  They had been to the beach and Sawyer was full of news about their fun.  Nothing like a 3 year old to provide a lot of exciting chatter!

And so the day has flown by.  I am happily sitting here in my shorts and t-shirt, sipping a glass of wine with a slice of John’s wonderful semolina bread, while the steak is on the grill.  Can’t do much better than that!  In a little over two weeks the school year will be over, and the hard work will begin 🙂