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.