Post Summer Solstice

Good morning! I hope that you're all having a wonderful first week of summer. I know that we are! Over the last few weeks we've had really wonderful additions to the farm, who I will introduce later in this post. 

What's Happened?

At the end of May, Valerie Buller, a local photographer asked if she could come to the farm and take some photographs. Of course we said yes! We spent a wonderful evening with Valerie while she captured Jeri and I working with the animals. It was a truly wonderful experience, and we are so grateful to Valerie for capturing the spirit of the farm and our sheep in each photo she took. 

Valerie taking some product shots with the sheep involved.

Valerie taking some product shots with the sheep involved.

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Please feel free to check out more of Valerie's wonderful photographs under her Rough Coat Photography business here

At the start of June, Jeri and I went away to Vermont to participate in the New England Fiber Art Summit. This 4-day intensive event was hosted by Tammy White of Wing and A Prayer Farm. Tam is an all-around great gal, who loves to love and nurture both all the animals on her farm, as well as all the guests who visit her! The weekend was filled with laughter, pie, and learning. We learned how to rug-hook, journal, knit faire-isle, use Calendula to natural dye, and we also learned how to knit traditional Shetland Haps! In between the classes, we ate wonderful meals prepared by Char, Tammy's daughter, and got to chat with some of the finest in the fiber arts industry.

The teachers, the hosts, the students, and of course, Joan, Tammy's Livestock Guardian Puppy.

The teachers, the hosts, the students, and of course, Joan, Tammy's Livestock Guardian Puppy.

We also participated in a sheep-wedding! We took Ash, our Wensleydale ram, up to VT, where he will live now, and he "married" 3 of Tammy's Wensleydale ewes.

The groom with his bowtie on. 

The groom with his bowtie on. 

The wedding cake! Designed by Gesine Bullock-Prado

The wedding cake! Designed by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Jeri and I came to VT with one sheep to sell, but went home to PA with two! While spending time in the pasture, Jeri fell in love with a little Shetland ewe named Dot, and of course you can't have just one! Therefore, Percy, a Shetland wether (who became my buddy) also got to head home to PA.  

Percy

Percy

Dot

Dot

After our whirlwind weekend away in Vermont, we were able to get the sheep shorn, and all of the hot lasses and lads are enjoying the breeze sans fleece now! 

Kuzco and Marley, post haircut. 

Kuzco and Marley, post haircut. 

Nate shearing Fred

Nate shearing Fred


What's Current?
 

Farmer Matthew and Shepherdess Jeri have been super busy at the farm, starting early in the mornings to reclaim land and fence in a new pasture for breeding/lambing/quarantine. They have been working hard over the last few weeks to cut down brush, mark out post holes, and put up fences and gates. I've been in the store tending to customers and putting out yarn, in addition I've had OODLES of fleeces to skirt in hopes we can pop to the mill before the end of the month. 

Putting up the gate to mark the new pasture area. 

Putting up the gate to mark the new pasture area. 

Phillip's fleece

Phillip's fleece


Until next time! 

Best,
Irina

Post MDSW Relaxation

Good afternoon! Whilst writing this post I am curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee and my most current knitting project. The last few months have seemed to speed by. One moment I hit "publish" on my last blog post, and the next moment we're nearing the end of the University semester, and have completed MDSW. 

What's Happened?

This year was truly an enjoyable show, despite all of the rain. We met lots of lovely people and got to catch up with old friends. We brought an abundance of Yorkshire Medley, and the rest of our flock yarn among other things. 

Over at the farm, our last few months were spent aerating and seeding the pasture. Can you believe that 2 years ago we had just started looking at a plot of meadow and forest that has transformed into our farm? But yes, you heard me correctly, we purchased a meadow with weeds and barely any grass; just stalky greens shooting up each season with no nutritional value. Therefore, even 2 years in we are continuing our rehabilitation of the pasture. All the hard work is seeming to pay off, as each day the pasture looks more and more green. 

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We seem to be settling into a good rhythm moving into the summer. As long as we continue to get steady rain, the pasture should continue to flourish. 


What's Current?

Jeri and I have been quite busy skirting fleeces and making fun new things for the shop and festivals.

First off, look at these fabulous Felted River Stones. They are beautiful decorations, and functional! Use them as dryer balls (2 or 3 per load of laundry) to reduce static in your clothes 

You can find them for sale in-store, or online.

Next up, Jaime, our friend and local hand-dyer, is getting ready to use fiber from Susie our Wensleydale to try her hand at lockspinning. 

Want to grab some locks for yourself? Head on over to this page of our online store, or stop at the shop during regular business hours to check them out in person! 

Also happening at the moment, I'm currently the guest poster for the PA Women's Agricultural Network Instagram page. Head over to https://www.instagram.com/pawagn6954/ to check scenes from the farm until this Saturday! 

and the BIGGEST news of all....

Flying Fibers is pleased to announce that we are in the top 10 of Selective's #thinkBIG competition! We move on to the next round now and winners will be announced May 17th. Thank you all for your support.

Have a fabulous rest of your week! 

-Irina

Strange Winter, Snowy Spring

Since the last post we have gone through multiple months and a season. Our winter schedules were packed with planning, working, learning, teaching, and farming. Almost directly after the last blog post, our Speckled Sussex Hens started laying. We had 3-4 eggs a day for the longest time. The Speckled Sussex are known for laying in the colder months, and we were always excited each day to collect our eggs from the coop.

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 We were "egg"sploding...or so we thought. We are now getting about 8 eggs a day and we are getting really great at making quiches or omelettes and giving our farm fresh eggs away to friends. 

The winter was grey and gloomy, with unseasonably warm days that even had the sheep sweating. I finished a pair of mittens out of the last skein of our Natural Black Wensleydale DK yarn for my Mum in February, on a day that was 56 and sunny. 

I know that these mittens will be appreciated next winter, and they hold the fleeces from all of Mum's favorite sheep, and that makes it so special. 

After a whirlwind time hiking our way up to NYC to bring the longwool love to the big city at Vogue Knitting LIVE, we settled into the hills of Lebanon County for our second annual fiber arts retreat. It was such a fabulous weekend away with a great group of ladies full of fiber inspiration and cheery chatter. Thank you again to all who participated, and a special thank you to Farmer Matthew for holding down the farm while Mum and I were gone. At least this year Fred didn't break down a fence to get to the ewes! 

Once we hit February, the weather started to get strange, with days so frozen the sheep didn't have soft ground to step on, or other days so hot that they were panting while waiting for their feed.

The ram pasture (including some of our favorite wethers)

The ram pasture (including some of our favorite wethers)

The ewes

The ewes

All of these ups-and-downs with temperature brewed a tornado to hit our area, luckily there was barely any damage to our place, and the animals weathered the storm well. The pasture started greening up immediately after the heavy rains, and for a few days, we caught glimpses of spring. Light breezes, greening countryside, 50 degree weather, and soft ground. It was so beautiful, and all the animals were having fun frolicking in the fields while they could. 

The Spring didn't last long; enter Winter Storm Stella. 

Thankfully, we only received 12" of snow this year. 1ft was much more manageable than the 2.5-3ft we received last year with Winter Storm Jonas. We were able to safely get out to the sheep, and Farmer Matthew's snowblower was even able to tackle this snow with no trouble! 

So, we're back to Winter Farming. Frozen water buckets, shoveling snow off the roof of our temporary Lad (in-tact and young rams) shelter, but also sledding! The sheep are handling this level of snow much better than last year, and we're hoping all of this moisture soaks into the ground and grows some grass seed from last season. 

 

Now I'm going back to winding Yorkshire Medley so that Mumma can hit the dyepots before MDSW. 

Happy Sunday! 

New friends and good wool!

Sunday, November 20

Walking in a winter wonderland...

Walking in a winter wonderland...

 I'm starting this blog post watching the snow fall around a beautiful 65-acres farm nestled in the hills of Delanson, NY. We are currently set up at our friend's farm waiting for the weather to lessen to go out to the barn and meet our newest flock additions. Jeri and I are welcoming two new Wensleydales to the flock, and two new Teeswaters. Yes, you read that right! We are introducing Teeswaters to our flock of rare breed British longwools. We have admired the Teeswater fleece and wool for some time, and Virginia kindly has set us up with a breeding pair. A beautiful ram lamb, and an aged ewe. Virginia owns The Yellow Farm in New York. She is known for her high quality fleeces, her prize-winning sheep, and her love of the fiber arts! You may have seen Virginia at Vogue Knitting LIVE: NYC with her lockspun garments and yarn, or showing her sheep at Rhinebeck. She can be found online partnering with her friend Pam to bring you Shepherd's Talk


Tuesday, November 22

Working on my second Wovember project 

Working on my second Wovember project 

Getting home with our new sheep was definitely an adventure! We were able to get on the road around 2:30pm once the plows moved through the area and salted/plowed the roads. That morning was not wasted at all! We were so fortunate to spend some time working through NAWSA business (check out the new website!), drinking coffee & tea, knitting, and clearing snow away from the truck. 

Ready to hit the road! 

Ready to hit the road! 

Those my friends, are knee high muck boots. It was a deep snow for sure. 

Those my friends, are knee high muck boots. It was a deep snow for sure. 

All four of our new babes were loaded into the trailer and off we went! The roads in New York were splendid even though the snow was getting heavier and the winds were blowing harder. Proper grit on the highways and clean roads made us feel safer as we pulled the trailer with our precious cargo inside! We crossed into PA around 4:30, and as we found our way onto the I-88/I-81 interchange, we slowed to a crawl (8mph) as the line of cars in front of us made their way along the snowy road. Oh boy. 

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After an incredibly long and stressful 200 miles of low visibility and/or slick road driving, we got to Wilkes-Barre to find clean, dry roads with no flurries clouding our view. Only then did we breathe a sigh of relief. The next 100 miles home seemed leisurely compared to our crawl down from Northern PA. We got to the farm around 10:30pm, moved some rams into our third pasture so that the new rams could have a stress-free transition into the flock, and then walked our two new ewes down to the girl pasture. Everyone integrated well into the flock, and as the days get chillier, I am so happy to be wrapped in massive wool shawls made from our flock yarn. 

So without further ado, welcome warmly to the flock Stella, Sk8tr Boy (named because we were "skating" through PA at 8mph on I-81), Athena, and Phillip. 

Athena (back), Stella (front)

Athena (back), Stella (front)

S8tr Boy

S8tr Boy

Phillip

Phillip


Monday, November 28

To finish out a whirlwind weekend celebrating our yarn shop's 7 year anniversary and Small Business Saturday, I cast off this adorable mitten. The pattern is Acorn Mitts by Ashley Yousling and I knit it in our Timi & Friends yarn which is oh-so-soft. Since the largest size of this pattern uses under 200 yards, any skein of our flock yarn would work perfectly! 

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Knit wool. Wear wool. Love wool. 

Best,
Irina