Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Saying Hello from the Past

  


My Great-Grandparents and my Grandparents lived and worked on this piece of Kentucky ground I now reside upon.  It is evident every day that this is their farm.  I merely take care of it, honoring their years of labor and love of the land.

My Grandpa used to say he wanted to be buried in his tobacco field, so when he passed they just   "set the fence back" at the church cemetery that is on the corner of the farm. He got his request.  I often look over, when I walk the front three acre field next to their final resting place, and talk to my grandparents or pay homage to their memory. 

There are constant reminders of their presence here at the farm.  My barn is at least 100 years old and even though it is now an obsolete tobacco barn, it has worked for our sheep, goat, chickens and horses. To me, however it is more than just a functional barn to house the hay and animals, it is a piece of history that I am blessed to still be a part. We did quite a bit of work to save the grand structure and keep it looking as original as possible.   Despite advice to "build something more functional and practical", the sentimentality surrounding the barn prevented me from replacing it.
 
"My barn" has worn wooden turn knobs from years of use by hard-working hands. The rise of the barn loft steps are made for a six foot plus stride.  Each time I walk those steps, it is as if Grandpa says Hello. As spring arrives, I notice daffodils planted decades ago booming near where the old house stood, or behind where the original cabin was located.  Grandma saying Hello.   
 
I found a letter among the things in the old house written by my grandmother.  It said she always wanted the farm to be productive.  As I go about my daily chores and the myriad of other duties as wife, mother, business owner etc.  I think of those words.  They were written by a woman with a deep faith in Jesus.  Jesus also calls us to be doers....of the word and not to have idle hands.   As I plan my day, week and future I am reminded that those who have gone before have so much to teach us.  I am reminded that it is good to take stock of how we are using our time.   I am reminded to guard against squandering the blessings I enjoy.  I am reminded to be productive not only in my temporal activities but also in those that will have an eternal consequence. 
 
In our efforts to be productive,
what can we leave for those who will come after us
to make a difference in  their future?   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

The Sixth Annual
Kentucky Sheep and
 Fiber Festival
Masterson Station Park
   May 16 - 17, 2015

Flowers made from Georgie's wool!
Spring has arrived!  For a lot of fiber people in the Bluegrass and around the country, that gets us thinking about festival time! Traveling around to enjoy the spectacle of beautiful wool, yarn, wearable items etc. that talented fiber folks have been working on through the winter.  This is also a great place to hob-knob with friends and pick up supplies, try out that drum carder we have had our eye on or take the plunge and get a new spinning wheel.
 
In Kentucky, we are lucky to have a wonderful festival of our own.  It is hard to believe that the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival is in it's 6th year!  It is a family friendly festival that has lots of booths to browse, sheep to pet, great food to enjoy and many educational workshops to attend.  
 
WWF Chai meeting some friends at KSFF.
 
What also makes this festival so much fun is it is held in conjunction with the Bluegrass Classic Stockdog Trial.  It is just a short walk or shuttle ride to the trial grounds to enjoy watching these amazing dogs and their handlers.
 
Bluegrass Stockdog Trial 2014   (Amazing photography by Abigail!)
 
This year I will be teaching two of the workshops on Friday. 
Wool 101 and Hobby Farming 101.   
 
 I am so excited to be able to share some of the wonderful information that I have gained over the years in the Hobby Farming 101 class.  I was blessed with a fabulous sheep mentor and value her willingness to impart her years of knowledge as I began my own sheep farm.  Plenty of making mistakes and spending many hours caring for sheep has brought me to a place where I want to help others who are walking this same path. Of course, the Wool 101 class just lets me spend 3 hours sharing about, handling and working with wool!   
 

Ahhhh! Fleece!
 
On Saturday morning, I will be assisting Tracy Bray, of Silver Wheel Yarn, in the judging of the Wool and Skein competitions. 

Tracy (and CJ) are so cool to hang out with!



Follow the links below to get more information about these events!

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival Workshops

Bluegrass Classic Stockdog Trial

 
 

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 Lambs

The Nice Lady and Blossom regarding each other for the first time.
 As the sun rose over Green River Knob the morning of March 8th, the gathering light revealed the two newest members of the Windsor Wool Farm flock.  Paolo and Cherry blossom were welcomed into the farm family by 4 cats and the other mothers in the lambing shed waiting their turn.  Soon after their arrival, "The Nice Lady" (TNL), as the shepherdess is referred to by those that live at the farm, showed up to greet the first lambs of the season. 
 
Butterfly with Paolo and Blossom

Paolo and Blossom are the progeny of Butterfly and Dreamer.  They are Bluefaced Leicester/Merino-Border Leicester crosses.  This is the first time that a non-Border Leicester has been used as a sire at the farm. Dreamer was the long awaited ram after his mother had twin ewes several years in a row.  Butterfly is also a special sheep because she is often times referred to as the Perfect Sheep.  She has all the desired qualities TNL has been trying to achieve in her flock.  So these lambs were highly anticipated!  Even though their arrival was without fan-fare on a  beautiful, quiet, mild March morning it was an event none the less.    


Paolo telling Blossom a secret.

  
TNL with Paolo
 

There is nothing that is quite so joyous at the farm than the arrival of lambs.  The miracle of life and the meeting of a new member of the family is such a blessing and a balm for those not so wonderful times associated with farming.  Each lamb born at the farm is the culmination of many hours of careful thought and planning.  Special care is put into the nutrition, housing and care of the ewe and ram.  
  
Cherry Blossom
 

 It is interesting to see how each lamb's personality starts to form immediately.  Blossom is the apple of her mother's eye.  She is sweet and spunky. 
Paolo making faces at the camera!
Paolo is a long-legged boy showing signs of being a bit of a ham!  Love those ears!
 
 
 
This year lambing is occurring during the season of Lent.  It is easy to understand the meaning of "Precious is the Lamb" when you behold these little ones.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Farming

Mmmmm, so what do I like most about farming? Could it be the 17 inches of snow, the sub-zero temperatures, the deluge of rain followed by several additional inches of snow (after finally seeing the last snow melt), the promise of more sub-zero temperatures or the fact that the pregnant ewes are on day 154 and on 24hr lamb watch during all of this. No, my favorite part of farming is that I am up at night sitting in my warm barn that my Great-Grandfather built, that I have the blessing from God of beautiful hay from the 3rd cut last fall to feed hungry animals hunkered down in the barn, that there was a heart-warming moment yesterday when BES the ewe, that never thought of being friends with me, let me pet her head and has reconsidered our relationship. Unlike my grandparents, I experience all of this with many modern conveniences such as heated water buckets. Just around the corner will be spring and green grass and bouncing lambs and garden planting. It is brought to mind that we are exhorted to have an attitude of humble thanksgiving in all situations. On this snowy day, I am thankful for the opportunity to be a farmer.

Friday, June 20, 2014

I have started a new page on the blog dedicated to Wool. 
 
You can preview available fiber and link to my Etsy Shop! 
Enjoy!
 





Washed and Raw Fleece Available!