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Festival Prep Mode

Though the current weather suggests we are in the throws of a deep winter, here on the farm…in between cracking ice and schlepping hay through the snow…are preparing for the coming Spring and that means getting ready for Powhatan´s Festival of Fiber.

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Sweet Tree Hill Farm festival booth

So what does that mean? We have taken washed and assorted Shetland Wool fiber to the mill for yarn, roving and felt. And we are hard at work felting dyed wool for purses, cuffs, hats and jewelry.

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One of our Shetland Felt Hats!

I am hitting the dye studio and dyeing silk noil and silk ribbon. The silk ribbon will be used to embroider our felt hats, jewelry and purses.

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Hand dyed silk ribbon

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Embroidered Felt Cuff featuring our dyed ribbon.

The silk noil is being hand carded with our naturally colored angora bunny fiber for spinners. Some of it will be handspun into yarn so that knitters have this unique yarn to create our Edwardian Stole pattern or projects of their own choosing. I don’t believe any farm is producing anything similar.

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Carding angora and dyed silk noil.

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Edwardian Stole - pattern available in our farm store.

This is a lot of work, but so much fun to do, and an outlet for that is creativity. I am a believer we all need that outlet to feel fulfilled as a human being…but that is just me.
As I look out my window at another four inches of snow and 25° temps, my mind has moved onto spring as I work with brightly colored silk and soft fuzzy angora. See you at the festival that will take place in Powhatan on the last Saturday in April. Google it for more info.

Blessings Come, but on its own time.

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Nature often offers clues about how we should live our lives, if you are tuned into her. Farmers spend many hours outside, no matter the time of day (or night), all seasons, in all weather. There are quiet moments in this work when we stop, look around and notice many things. Things like subtle changes as the seasons evolve, little views of beauty both large and small.

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Many people complain as they look at the calendar and wonder why Mother Nature is not following it. Well, the calendar is man made without the wisdom the earth processes. There are blessings to be found if you give the reigns over to that wisdom. I am not a believer in luck. Luck is a discovered blessing that was there all along. It is just many of us are not paying attention.

So what is the reason for snow on a Spring morning? I want to know, so I head out. I am met with the contrast of spring flowers under cold crystals of snow flakes. I even find my rosemary in bloom and hyacinth. I love blue in the snow. Cool color on a cool morning. As I look at my garden, I notice how behind I am on chores to get ready to plant. But nature is telling me it is ok, because she is behind too. And I can’t start planting until she decides anyway. I should not be in a hurry.

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My chickens are out on their morning stroll too. They stop and examine everything. Nothing is too small not to get a close inspection. All of our blessings, the big ones and the little ones are very important and not to be taken for granted.

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I breath in the crisp air. This air will not be hear for long. The heat of Summer will be here soon enough. Even though it might seem this Winter is without end. It will of course…not on our time but on the schedule of the Earth. Trust in her. She has done a good job providing for us so far. Good fortune and wisdom are all around, if you just look for it.

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First breaths of Spring.

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Knocking on the door of Spring.

The world is stirring. If you are outside on a regular basis, the world gives you little clues it is waking up from its winter nap. The fields are sporting a new green hue. The winter cast of birds-the titmouse, the snow birds have left. They are replaced by blue birds, numerous robins, downy woodpecker soon to be followed by the swallows. Hubby has put up his Purple Martin house in anticipation of the beloved Purple Martin’s.(Don’t tell him, but the usual irritating birds have already visited, the dreaded starling.)

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Do I see a hint of green?

I love the smells: fresh moist dirt, and the absence of the outdoor wood furnace belching out smoke. And I am checking out the garden as I have made mental notes as to what I will plant this year. I have lots of cleaning up to do as I did not get to a lot of my fall clean up chores. It is warming up, but the soil is very wet at the moment due to our recent snow storm.

I am off to attend to chores…checking up on our baby bunnies. 7 have survived 3 nights. If they survive 4, they have a good chance to survive to weaning. My chief concern is that ALL are getting fed. Some are definitely skinnier than others. I will let Saphire handle things, but will keep tabs. Colors are starting to be apparent. We definitely have a black or blue, a couple of chocolates, some lilacs and a fawn or two. We will see.

Hickory, our sheep patient is struggling along. He is moving around, but on 3 legs. The joint on his front left leg is a bit swollen and can’t be straightened. I am giving him twice daily injections of steroids to get the swelling down and encourage he use it. In the meantime, he will get up and hobble or crawl on his knees to move around. I discovered him out under the Magnolia tree munching on a branch of leaves that had fallen during the storm. He is a funny guy. I hope he fully recovers.

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Hickory after a breakfast of magnolia leaves.

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Hickory is a handsome and knows it.

With daylight savings time now in effect, I have a bit more time for those outdoor chores, and a little romp with guardian dog Nisa. There should be a bit of fun in Spring, right?

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