When it comes to woolly crafts, I’ve always been much more of a spectator than a participant – though I admit to harboring a steady curiosity (or maybe envy is a better word). At county fairs, I always seek out the craft barn and – okay, I’ll admit it – I get excited when I see that the spinners are doing their thing. It’s like watching a fairy tale come to life as fluffy piles of wool are changed into spools of rough-hewn yarn. Well, maybe it’s not quite as magical as spinning straw into gold, but it still impresses me every time!
So it was a real treat for me to attend last year’s Wild and Woolly Weekend, a fiber arts fair hosted by Six Loose Ladies and Fiber Arts in Vermont. Now, I’m looking forward to this year’s installment, on April 27 and 28 at the Pointe Hotel. This fiber arts weekend is 50% craft fair, 50% classes, and 50% social networking. No, that’s not careless math; it’s just that this weekend has so much packed into two days that it overflows! Veteran and virgin crafters alike really ought to swing by to check out the vendors and classes being offered by this energetic group of artists and crafters.
Those who are new to this sort of event may have the wrong impression. A weekend about yarn?! Probably a bunch of old ladies sitting around with knitting needles, balls of yarn, and maybe even a cat or two by their feet. You couldn’t be more wrong. When you look up the meaning of the phrase Wild and Woolly, you’ll find synonyms such as boisterous and unruly. And, based on the energy that is present from the moment you walk in the door, boisterous and unruly seem like achievable descriptors! (I mean, with a retail store name of Six Loose Ladies, you know that rowdy humor will be a part of the fun!)
The Wild and Woolly Weekend has classes available for the very beginner, like me, but they also have classes appropriate for those who are already pretty established in the crafting tradition. In some classes, you’ll go home with a finished product; in others you’ll go home with enough knowledge and enthusiasm that you can tackle a new project on your own. You can choose between three-hour classes or 50-minute ‘mini-classes.’ The topics range from spinning on a wheel or on a drop spindle; choosing and working with colors; making mug rugs (coasters), chair pads, animal pins, and mittens with needle felting; designing decorative boxes from paper collage; and creating sparkly bracelets using beaded knitting.
Whether you’re still a latent crafter or an admitted junkie of all things wool, this event is well worth checking out. Entrance is not only free, but there are door prizes galore. The costs of classes are $5 or $10 for the mini-classes and between $30 and $45 for the 3-hour classes. Class listings are available at the Six Loose Ladies website.
Did you know that if new chickens are to be added to a flock it should be done overnight? If introduced during the day, they may fight ‘til their death. But if merged while sleeping, the chickens will wake together peacefully, and accept one another as part of their group – as if they were together already. (Such birdbrains!)
This is how we increased our flock recently at our Southern Vermont Bed and Breakfast. After a summer of a declining chicken population (but an increasingly satisfied raccoon and fox population), we were down to four hens for our source of farm fresh eggs. This is nothing short of a crisis for a country inn that is so committed to serving wholesome local foods at breakfast each morning! And, as maybe you don’t know, it’s not real easy to find hens for sale in the fall. If you don’t buy them as chicks in the spring, the options disappear quickly. So when were alerted in October that a Massachusetts farm was selling pullets (that’s the hip word for ‘teenage hens’), our interest was piqued. But it only got better from there. My Mom and Dad (who still chuckle at my interest in backyard farm animals) went to the farm, bought us six pullets and delivered them to us at the bed and breakfast as birthday presents for me and Michael. Thanks Mom and Dad! We kept the six new pullets separate from the four mature hens for several weeks, until they were all similar in size. Then late one night, we stealthily executed “Operation New Chickens” and placed the six young birds on the roosting bar next to the four hens. Although some feathers were indeed ruffled, all ten birds shifted and wiggled just momentarily, and then drifted back to slumber. The following days were relatively peaceful …though it was interesting to watch the young hens earn their status as equals. Expressions like ‘ruffling feathers’ and ‘hen pecking’ are fully explained in our backyard! We now gather about eight eggs per day and we’re inviting you to Okemo Valley for a truly local breakfast.
(This blog entry was submitted by Samantha.) – Recently, my dad and I went to the Weston Playhouse to see Mary’s Wedding. Mary’s Wedding was set in post World War I England. The whole drama was a dream that Mary had the night before her wedding. With a cast that consisted of only two actors, and with a total running time of 90 minutes, I thought that the play was going to feel extremely long, but every time I got that feeling, the actors did one more thing that amazed the audience, keeping me enthralled until the last line.
Mary’s Wedding was very enjoyable and I recommend the Weston Playhouse to anyone that enjoys the theater, whether you are a theater fanatic or just someone looking for something fun to plan while on their vacation!
(This blog entry was written by Sadie.) Last week, we went blueberry picking at Goulden Ridge Farm in Weathersfield, VT, just 30 minutes away from the inn. I went with Mom and some friends. The six of us arrived around 5pm and were greeted by a welcoming board with prices and bags and gallon jugs to hold the berries. The grounds were beautiful, signature Vermont hills in the background and a pond and a little brook marking the private property. There were so many berries on the bushes; you could see the clumps of bright blue from where we were standing, at the welcoming board. The sign asked anyone able-bodied enough to pick from any section but the closest section of berries, because those were marked off for seniors or handicapped people. We went to the section with what looked like the biggest and most abundant bushes to start. All of the bushes were enclosed in netting suspended to make a tent around sections of bushes. There were signs showing areas where the “Best Picking” was. The six of us had a berry eating contest on how many berries we could fit in our mouth. There was a tie at 60! We picked for almost two hours in that section until moving on to the slightly smaller bushes in the other. There we picked for about another half an hour until counting up the price of the berries and paying where we came in. When we got home, Mom and I weighed the berries we had picked and got 17 pounds! It was a great experience and we had so much fun. I would definitely recommend this place for a fun time and delicious berries!
Editor’s (mother’s) comments: I’ve done a lot of berry picking in my day, and I’ve never seen such bountiful bushes, nor such a scenic berry spot. This is well-worth putting on the annual traditions calendar! …and for what it’s worth, I came in second place with almost 50 berries!
“Shayla the Sheep gets Sheared in Shpring.” So silly how much I love to say this! But here we are in Spring 2012 and I’m given the opportunity to say it again. “Shayla the sheep got sheared this Shpring!” (Last year, it was even better because she got sheared on a Shaturday!)
It is only our second year at our Bed & Breakfast in southern Vermont, but we are already feeling the rhythm of some spring rituals. The sheep is sheared .The koi pond is cleaned (four fish, two frogs, and one salamander are happy about this!). The leaves are raked and the gardens are being tended to. Even the pool cover has been removed. (Not quite ready for swimming though!) It is a beautiful time of year to embrace our new home in Proctorsville, VT.