The Moveable Feast Food Blog

The Moveable Feast is a Personal Chef Service that serves the Hampton Roads area of Southern Virginia. This blog is an extension of my web site and will go into more details about food and any food service industries. Any pictures and or recipes that are published here are all the property of The Moveable Feast unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How I spent my Birthday!
I wanted to spend my birthday yesterday doing something that would relax me, be fun and educational all at the same time. I came to this event by a series of people knowing people. You know that old cliche, "It's not what you know, it's who you know."? Well this is the perfect example. My husband and I took a little three day vacation last weekend. Because of the need to put things on the blog, we tried not to eat at national chain eaterys and to do some homegrown local shopping. The perfect place to do that was the Farmer's Market. We went to the Market and walked around and met this very nice lady, Sherri Huffer from Mt. Sidney, VA. She had a little table where she was selling her wool yarn and some other items. I focused on the wool yarn. I crochet and love the try new yarns. I have never crocheted with 100% wool.

I talked to Sherri and asked her if there was a place close to me that would teach me how to spin and about wools. She asked for my E mail and I gave her one of my business cards. I never really expected to hear back from her but sure enough the next day I got an E mail from her with the name of a lady in my local area. I shot the woman an E mail and then we had a phone conversation. She lives about a 45 minute drive from my house but to learn spinning it would have been well worth the drive. Mary Scott from Serendipity Farm & Studio, told me that she was going to be attending a Heritage Festival in the Chesapeake City Park and I could come there to meet her and take a look around. I knew I had time on Saturday so I did. I had a ball!!

I think I have "country" in my veins from way back, because I felt right at home with all those little 4H kids. They were so proud of their animals. They work hard all year keeping those animals fattened, washed and shaved. Pride is busting out all over the place when you see them leading their animals out to the rinks to be judged.

I met some really nice folks and wanted to show what we saw and talk about what I learned. I have been reading Farmgirl Fare for a few months now and just love the pictures of the sheep, llamas, Dan the Donkey, the chickens, cats and dogs. Susan leads the kind of life I want to lead! Some day...
I met a nice woman and her two children who had a pen of sheep at the fair. I am sorry I didn't get her name but she was so nice and patient about answering my questions. I now know that the sheep with the black face is a white wooled Suffolk sheep. It's raised mainly for meat as well as the others in that pen. Her son was showing the Suffolk but I wasn't able to stay and see if he won anything. There were some pretty fat little sheep in that pen. They had heavy coats. Mr. Freeman from the Gum Tree Farm, was there to do a shearing demo. It was the neatest thing!
The ewe's name is Rose. She wasn't very cooperative and ended up fighting with what she had which was a wicked kick with some sharp hooves. Mr. Freeman got a bit of a cut on his hand.

This is an Angora Goat. He was so gentle and was more like a pet dog than a goat. I think we can all guess why he was so gentle...poor thing. lol! His wool was extemely soft and I see why wool from this kind of a goat makes a great sweater. I did find out from Mr. Freeman when he was shearing Rose, that folks here in this area shear twice a year because the average temperature year round here is 40 and it's still a bit too warm for the sheep with all that wool. So they shear in spring (hopefully before them lamb) and then again at the end of summer before fall gets really cool. That gives the sheep time to develop a little more of a coat before our winter sets in. I did hear that these are very pampered sheep because they have their own barn.

I learned from this from reading Farmgirl Fare that Donkeys and Llamas were great watch dogs for the sheep. Here is Mr. Freeman's Donkey. Sorry I was too busy admiring him to get his name. Mr. Freeman said that he loves women. He wasn't sure if it was the smell of their body lotions or perfume. When a woman would pet the Donkey, he would wag his tail just like a happy dog. He was a huge hit at the fair. There was also a team of Mules pulling folks around in a wagon.

Here are some ladies that I met from the Southeastern Virginia Spinning Guild. I could have sat there all day and watched them spin. I am going to attend their meeting this coming Tuesday and see what I can learn. I am going to call Mary Scott for some private lessons to get me started.

Along with all of this all of the animals and spinning that I was drawn to like a moth to the flame, there was a bee keeper selling his honey, candle makers, Chesapeake Master Gardners, the local Extension Agent talking about canning and preserves, a Black Smith, Rabbit and Guinea Pig Rescue, Pottery, weavers and all kinds of other items.

We did make some purchases and know that we will do business with these folks again. I bought some "by the scoop" organic lavendar, a Christmas tree ornament (hand made) and some honey from the beekeeper, Ken Carmondy. We bought some spring honey, which is very light. Then I had to taste some Cotton honey. Now that was a surprise. I seem to have a palate for honey, but not for wine. The Cotton honey was very strong and dark. At the very end of the taste is tasted like green grass. I wasn't sure that I was going to like it but I bought a jar anyway. It was just such a novel kind of honey. I had some on a whole wheat english muffin for breakfast today and have to tell you that honey like wine, mixed with food produces a whole different taste. The honey was strong but at the end tasted like Orange Marmalade. Who knew. I have to say that all-in-all I had a great time for my birthday. I learned some new things about wool and lamb's meat and even reafirmed that I love lamb buy having a cup of lamb stew. It was good and I have now got to hunt down the recipe. I don't think that you are ever too old to learn something new and chase a dream.

I want to send out a special thanks to my blog buddies,
SoCal Foodie, Accidental Scientist, Lucullian Delights, Cooking Diva and my friend personal chef Kathy Gold, for all making such a big deal about my birthday. I have such wonderful friends and I only hope that I can be the same kind of friend to all of you.


At 11:10 PM, Blogger ilva said...

What a nice post this is! So you are taking up spinning wool? I immagine that it must be very relaxing to sit there with the wheel whizzing and the thread running....
Do you know that we have 4H in Sweden too? We usually go there in the summer an when my children were a bit smaller I always brought them to look at the 4H week that took place behind my parents house and they always looked forward to it!
I'm happy to hear that you had a nice birthday, I allways think it is such a special day of the year!!

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Vickie, that was a lovely post. You are welcome, btw! It's always nice to get birthday greetings, you can never have too many!

At 8:03 AM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

Dawn,I have been reading Farmgirl Fare and just was so tickled to find out that a lot of the stuff she posts on her blog was confirmed by the farmers that I talked to this weekend. The Donkey and Llamas are just gaint watch dogs for the herd of sheep. So I feel like I learned a lot. Now my wish list for retirement has changed. I need a small herd of sheep, two or three goats, a donkey and one or two Llamas. I think I need a few chickens too. Lord! I need to stay home. My wish grows the more people I meet via the blogs.

Ilva, I think that 4H is such a great program for kids. It teaches them so many things that I think most kids now-a-days are missing. I love that these kids parents are so supportive and it's more like a "family" project. I wish I had been living in the country so I could have been a 4H kid. Now I could be a grown up 4H person, can't I?? lol!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger s'kat said...

Oh, I hadn't realized it was your birthday weekend! Happy late birthday to you!

It sounds like you had a really wonderful time, seeing everything up close and personal, and being able to talk to so many different people. Good luck on getting spinning under your belt!

At 10:47 AM, Blogger michelle said...

Vickie - What a cute post! And such a cool way to spend your birthday! My favorite picture is of the angora goat - he's so wooly! I'm glad we could all spoil you with happy birthday wishes :)

At 2:50 PM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

S'Kat-I just love these kinds of events where you talk to people and they are so into what they do. They are just full of great information.

Michelle, I know some people will think it's hokey, but I had a ball and I can't wait to go to the Spinner's Guild meeting tomorrow night. I think they take food. Oh, Lord, now I have to come up with something! Cripe!

Isn't that goat cute. He was so soft. I would love to have a goat like that. Mr. Freeman said he goes to a lot of petting events like this past weekend and is used to everyone sticking their hands through to pet him.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Ed Tep said...

Happy, happy belated birthday!!! That makes you a scorpio, right? It sounds like you really found a great way to celebrate it.

At 3:28 AM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

Yup, I am a dyed in the Scorpio. I have read about the moods of a Scorpio and I am not sure is accurate but it's pretty close.

How was your vacation? Did Zoe have a good time? Better yet did she get a vacation T-Shirt?

Thanks for the birthday wishes. I had a great time and it was like being in a small country town all over again. I just love that kind of stuff.

At 6:07 AM, Blogger Nerissa said...

A happy belated birthday. Your jaunt sounds like fun. Spending time with people who maintain farms and old arts like spinning (I was going to say ancient but drop spindle is much older if I recall correctly), canning and weaving would be idyllic. You've made me all nostaligic for reading Tasha Tudor books!

You mention that llamas have a watchdog kind of role? I used to talk to a cattle farmer online who had some. I never thought to ask him what role they played. I wonder if it is the same for cattle?

At 12:41 PM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

Thanks diningdica, I had a wonderful day as you have read from my blog. I just love all of that old time, hand crafted, country kinds of things. I don't know why exactly but I seem to think I am from another time in history I guess. I have gone out to Henleys and picked both strawberries and blueberries and then come home and made jam. It took us a long time eat them all but they sure were good in the throws of the winter months.

Is Tasha Tudor that elderly lady who writes books? I seem to remember once a little thing about her on the CBS Sunday Morning news show. Is she still alive?

Yes, I think that the drop spindle method is way old. I saw one of the lady's from the guild do that this past weekend. She had a devil of a time keeping it spinning the same direction the whole time.

I read about the Llamas being watch dogs on another blog and then sure enough heard the exact same time from Mr. Freeman. I thought that was really funny. I hear Llamas hate dogs pretty much too.

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Elisabeth said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

I told my sheep they had an online admirer. :-)
Drop spindling is very relaxing and rewarding. You're going to have so much fun with your yarn, and you'll have plenty if you spin on a wheel. :-) When I have some wool carded up from my babies I'll be happy to send you some to play with as a late b-day gift. It won't be until spring, but by then you'll be an experienced spinner.
Take Care!

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Nerissa said...

Yes, Tasha tudor is now an elderly lady who has been writing childrens's books since about 1938 or so. She is passionate to the hilt about everything of olden times, partic the 1830s. Her son built her a copy of an 18th Century (I think) farm house in Vermont, she makes and wears clothes of circa 1830s, she makes her own candles, cloth, cheese, butter, etc... There are a few books out that are utter praise of her life including a cookbook (she's supposed to be a cook extrordinaire). As you can see I'm a huge fan of hers.

And I always felt out of place and belonging to another time myself. Nice to meet kindred souls

At 1:43 PM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

Dining dica-I had a feeling that was who you were talking about. I must have looked her up on-line after that show. I do remember seeing her lovely garden. She was standing in some flowers. It was like she was frozen in time. I will have to go back and read about her again! So have you tried any of her recipes?

elisabeth-who wouldn't love those cute sheep. They are really wooly and now that I am going to learn to spin, they REALLY are cute! lol! I would love a bit of wool. I went to a Spinner's Guild meeting and I have two observations about the group. One, they were mainly younger women under the age of 55. There were only two that I could tell were over 55. Two, I noticed that almost everyone one of them knits. I am a crocheter! Now I am going to have to learn how to knit. I had a nice. Some, three, brought their wheels with them to sit and spin. I just loved how dedicated they are to the art of spinning. I have a feeling I am going to go off the deep end with this! I can't wait!!!!


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