Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shareholders: The Suri is in the House

The last little bit of 2010 share fiber has arrived from the mill, and holy catfish Annie, is it incredible.  This is from our little Suri boys, Boaz and Micah, who love to pose for all the best portraits.  Because they are little guys, and because suri is a very dense fiber, we waited and combined both this year's fleeces and last year's fleeces, to give us a good volume of fiber to distribute in shares.

It's very lustrous, with a gorgeous creamy cast, mostly due to Boaz's light-light apricot coloring, and Micah's one apricot spot. 

I cannot wait to get this into your hands - you will cry like a baby.

"You can thank us with carrots."

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Pictoral History of the LRB

While looking through all our construction pictures to find a photo of Glen, I was reminded how far this little farm has come from the day we bought it in 2004.

One of our most treasured spots on the farm, the Little Red Barn, has seen quite a transformation.  Hard to believe unless I see it afresh...

Trenching to the old shed for electricity.  Somehow we missed getting a picture of the nastiness inside the shed before we cleaned it out.  Three trips to the dump.

Lifting the hollow shell up onto a new foundation.  (Glen is on the right.) 

Fresh framing, siding, windows and door.  
There's actually not much left of the original structure.


Paint, shingles, and a special cupola.

Interior paint, carpet, and shelving materials at the ready.

Moving in all the contents and stash.  Will it all fit?

Ah yes.  Cozy and comfy for creativity and hanging out.

The LRB today - our sanctuary from the chaos of life.

Have you gotten your Barn Fix lately?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Glen drove 80% of the nails and screws that hold this farm together.

I don't like to let go... of stuff, of good times, and especially of people.  But today I needed to say goodbye to a dear friend.  My friend Glen will be in heaven soon - so suddenly that none of us have wrapped our minds around it.  Gall bladder surgery turned up a cancer that has eaten him alive in just a matter of weeks.

His handwriting is literally on everything you see around the farm.  You can still see his left-handed scrawl where he measured twice to cut once.

Glen built most of this farm.  He and a motley series of helpers labored on the house for months until his steady working partner, Dan, joined him.  He plumbed it, built the cabinets, laid the floor, hung the sheet rock, and more.  He built the Little Red Barn.  He built the animal barn.  He and I ran hundreds of feet of livestock fence.  Everywhere I look, I see what Glen built.  To put it bluntly, JRF wouldn't be here without Glen.  He worked every day for over a year, driving 30 miles each way, to get our house livable.  He never failed to show up, almost always brought his own tools, kept the helpers on task, and made me laugh every day.  Glen could talk the paint off a barn wall.  I never met a man with so much to say.

Today at the VA hospital, I saw a mere shadow of the impish little guy he used to be--barely a frame.  It won't be long.  But I had the privilege to tell him how much I cared about him, and how thankful I am for all he has literally built into my life.  I got to hug him and let him know that he's safe in the arms of Jesus--loved and treasured.  We cried together.  His family surrounds him.

Today, it was a precious gift to say goodbye.

 One of the only pictures I have of Glen, working with Dan on the Little Red Barn in February of 2006.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


 The thankfulness is welling up today in my heart even stronger than usual.  I'm thankful for so many things, as I know you are.  Here's my list for this morning, not comprehensive but random, right off of the top of my head, with photos from this morning's feeding rounds:

I'm so thankful for my beautiful family.
For my sweet farm and the critters who live here - domesticated and wild.

For the gorgeous fall color surrounding us.

For the cool breeze that's blowing in a cold front later today.
For all the amazing things we can do with fiber - spin, felt, knit, weave, etc.

For hot coffee with hazelnut creamer.  Oh yes.
For my hard-working guard dogs who are dead asleep right now after a busy night.

For my husband who not only puts up with, but encourages me to develop our little farm.
For fiber friends near and far who share my love of wool, and who share the emotional work of caring for this land.  You keep it going!

For my osteopathic doctor who fixed my back yesterday, allowing me pain-free movement once again!
For this free country where we can all pursue whatever dreams God gives us.

For the Little Red Barn where we can all gather and play.
For the bounty we've been given which allows us to give to others.

For the unmerited love of God that sustains me when all else in life fails.

I wish you the most joyful Thanksgiving celebration ever tomorrow.
I am thankful for you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Encouraging Little Things to Grow

Isn't it Auntie Mame who said that money is like manure... it's only good when it's spread around encouraging little things to grow?  Well, I don't have a lot of money, but I've got a boat-load of composted manure.  And St. Christopher's Montessori School needed it in its gardens.  Our own Mary Bensel's (Grandma Tutu) granddaughter attends that school, and so when the need for garden amendment came up, we were happy to help.

Grandpa Bensel came and loaded bags of the Paca Gold into feed sacks to take to the school's garden work day.  Looks like they had an awesome time and got lots of planting done.  Grow, little plants, GROW!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Night Shift

Even Judah's beat after a night in the pasture with his new partner, Ruth.  Judah has learned to pace himself in his guarding duties, only barking when he hears or smells something amiss.  But Ms. Ruth is new to the game, and barked All. Night. Long.  Her high-pitched voice was easily distinguished from Judah's low bark.

She's paying for all that barking this morning.  I'm surprised she isn't hoarse.

But the sheep are safe, Ruth has a job, and Judah is out from under ALL the responsibility.  I'll monitor this situation and make sure it all keeps working well.  Ruth didn't seem to want to come out of the pasture this morning, so she'll stay on the payroll today.

She has found one new delicacy in the pasture not normally available in the house:  Sheep Poop.  Lovely.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pre-Holiday Fiber Confab

Hilarity ensued in the LRB today.

OK, Peggy thought it was funny.  Linda was lost in fiber reverie. 

A really fun group spent some quality fiber time solving the problems of the world.  If you weren't there, we probably talked about you.  About how much we missed you and stuff.

Smokey stayed busy warming various laps.

 Dawn shared sweet smelling Scentsy samples, and indulged her curiosity about chicken anatomy (don't ask).

Liz made great progress on a gorgeous teal scarf.

Rita spun her heart out, working on a super-secret Birthday Surprise. 

Leslie poured over Dawn's Scentsy catalog.  Yum!

And Peggy made about forty-leven beautiful rolags out of some marginal roving.  Way to go.

Michelle took her new Bluebonnet spinning wheel for a spin, but I neglected to get a good photo of the pretty wheel in action.  Boo.

I got a long way on a Christmas gift, but I can't talk about it... you know how that goes.... the walls have ears...

All in all, I think we accomplished some mighty great things.  We'll be hanging out next Saturday as well, so if you have time during the busy Thanksgiving break and want to get some Christmas projects going or just chill out, meet us here!  LRB, 10 AM Saturday.


The two Great Pyrs teamed up today, and had a blast doing it.  Ted put Ruth in the sheep pasture with Judah this morning, and they were having so much fun, I couldn't bear to take her out.

All that whiteness...  They really look impressive working together.

...or playing together...

They both got a lot of the "fall friskies" out of their systems, and Ruth got nice and dirty.  They chased trucks along the fenceline and barked their fool heads off.  
It's supposed to rain tonight, and Ruth looked kind of spent this evening, so I've brought her back into the house.  But I think she and Judah make a marvelous team, and I'll turn them out together again soon.  If Ruth can build up her stamina, she may find herself on the payroll in the pasture once more.