Sunday Muse

“All colors are one thing, seen in different states of motion.  And that is science’s brilliantly poetic answer to Keats’ complaint that science unweaves a rainbow.”

“…So all these colors can be derived from one of them by moving at an appropriate velocity.  So really, the existence of one implies the existence of all the others.”

“…And the properties of one imply the properties of all the others.  So in a really deep sense, they are the same thing.  But in a complementary sense if you don’t move, they’re all different.”

~ Frank Wilczek, “Why is the Earth So Beautiful?” – On Being conversation with Krista Tippett

Sheeps and Peeps Farm Hearthstone Wrap

While it’s too warm to wear right now, we sure are enjoying snuggling the recently completed Sheeps and Peeps Farm Hearthstone Wrap.  Knit with about a skein and a half of our white Sheeps and Peeps Flock Yarn and part of a skein of flock yarn naturally-dyed with walnut.  The pattern is available Taproot Magazine Issue 25 :: Hearth and is written by Amanda Hester Smith.  While the shepherdess decided to forego the tassels this time, there is probably another one of these in our future.  Maybe naturally-dyed marigold with grey or brown trim and tassels?  What do you think?

Let’s Sum It Up

Hadassah and her twins

Hadassah’s ram lamb and ewe lamb

Herse and her twin ewes

Maibh’s ram lamb

Matilde and her ewe lamb; Sarah and Sally

Matilde’s ewe lamb

Lambing season has come and gone, so it’s time to take a look at the numbers.  Only two of our girls chose to lamb inside the comfort of the barn, about a quarter of them moseyed down over the hill and had their little ones in the woods, while everyone else decided that the pasture was the best place to be.  Almost all the girls had early morning lambs and somehow, we miraculously got through the whole season without a single all night lambing session!

Our girls, along with new ram, Montague, and third-year ram, Frey, performed admirably.  97% of the ewes exposed to the rams had lambs.  84% of the ewes settled on the first cycle.  There were 20 singles, 15 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets resulting in a 1.47 lambing ratio.  There were 24 ewe lambs and 29 ram lambs.  37 of the lambs are white and 16 are black or silver.

Helen had the smallest lamb – a little black ram weighing 6 lbs 11 ozs.  Althea had the biggest – a big black ram weighing 14 lbs 3 ozs.  The average birth weight was 10 lbs 5 ozs.

And so, our favorite time of year has successfully come to an end… now on to the big job of taking care of everyone through the long, hot summer.

Secret Knitting

Snow has returned, so it seems like the perfect day for the big reveal of the secret knitting.  Beginning with two skeins of our Bertha yarn (that had so many imperfections that they were not salable) here are the perfect lambing accessories.  Our love and admiration of Bertha is knit in to each and every stitch, along with the love and admiration I have for my Sister Shepherdess as I knit a set for her as a surprise gift.

The hand-warmers are the Lambing Mitts from the Tolt Yarn and Wool blog.  The garter band can be worn up to keep our fingers warm during the late night pasture checks, then rolled down when we need to attend to those newborn lambs.  Blue stripes on my sister’s and green stripes on mine so we will be able to sort them out when we lay them down in the barn.

Bertha’s yarn and scraps of our single-flock yarn make these extra special barn-life accessories.

The headband is mash-up of several different patterns knit in a Bertha yarn-dyeing experiment that was inspired by lichen growing on an Adirondack chair.  I think there will be more of this to come after lambing, as both shepherdesses are delighted with the result.  I added a little bit of hand embroidery to match the stripes on our hand-warmers.

An ode to Bertha and a surprise for my Sister Shepherdess – perfect for a snowy, April day.

Sunday Muse

From “Hope and Contraditions in Appalachia” by Travis Stimeling, West Virginia native and associate professor of music history at West Virginia University.  In the quote below he is referring to J. D. Vance, author of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and Elizabeth Catte author of ‘What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia’.

“My Appalachia is an Appalachia of contradictions. But unlike Vance’s desolate and hopeless Appalachia, my Appalachia is, like Catte’s, a hopeful one. It’s one in which people still check in on their neighbors and gather together to share a few songs, regardless of their faith, politics, race, or class. It’s one in which I, as a straight white man, can stand proudly in solidarity with my queer neighbors to demand equal treatment under the law and learn more about how to support other people’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness through compassionate listening and deliberate action. It’s one where cutting-edge scientific research is conducted every day and where future technologies and traditional folkways both provide guidance toward a bright tomorrow.”

Please take a minute to read “Hope and Contraditions in Appalachia” in its entirety.  Our wish is that it will give you, as it did us, a renewed sense of hope in the future of West Virginia and the Appalachian region.  Elizabeth Catte is challenging our people to take control of the narrative about Appalachia, to counter negativity with our own stories.  Travis Stimeling has inspired us to join in and share more about our home among the hills.   #MyAppalachia

Sheeps and Peeps Farm Kelpie Shawl

One of the best-loved things that we’ve knit in our Sheeps and Peeps Farm Yarn is our Kelpie Shawl – pattern by Jared Flood.  It was knit with size 7 needles.  The main color is our beautiful Posiedon yarn and the contrasting stripes have been knit with our farm yarn – naturally-dyed with Beet leaves, Goldenrod, Hibiscus and Jewelweed.

It is a favorite at farm conferences and is just like wearing a big, warm sheepy hug!