a grand day out

We celebrated our local farms today - the local State University Extension put together a tour of a dozen or so local farms, featuring everything from grass-fed beef and dairy to blueberries and... YARN!

Himself agreed to chauffeur, so we hit the fiber farms first: all four of 'em!

[Warning: adorable sheep shots ahead.]

Yarn on the hoof, and close-up, too!

We got to see a BIG BIG carding machine at work - who knew that there was a fleece processor just fifteen miles down the road? Now I know who to send people to who need fleeces processed (washed and carded into roving - beautifully). Outside the carding shed, his wife had some lovely dyed rovings for sale. I exercised modest restraint and held myself to just three ounces of merino, in two shades of russet.

Outside the roving barn, a gal and her husband were demonstrating the most wickedly-cool electric/electronic spinning wheels I've ever seen. Compact and lightweight (4 lbs.!), they run on 12-volt batteries, for those who want to spin on board a boat or in a vehicle. Way cool - and now I lust after one (for plying, you understand).

Then we visited the Jacob's sheep, who have two, three, four, or six horns, depending. And they come spotted and speckled, with those wacky curly horns all over the place. Adorable buggers, all.

All this sheep and roving fondling gives a boy and a girl an appetite.
So how about some carrot-ginger soup, local artisan bread, and a caprese salad on a skewer?
(That's cherry tomatoes, a basil leaf, and local cheese curds drizzled with balsamic and olive oil. To. Die. For.)

Rounded out with a blackberry cobbler, coffee, and a view of chickens and Shetland sheep.

Next up? Romneys!

[Witness the cuteness.]

I fell down slightly at Spring Hill, because the ravishing fibers of Marcia Adams of RainShadow Farm were on display. And really, what's a girl to do when faced with silk and wool?

...or cashmere, silk, and wool?

I have designs for both of these in simple lace patterns for scarves. Yeah, right... when I have time to knit scarves again!

And to round out the local loveliness, our first visit to the blueberry farm founded five years ago by our friends Keith and Crystie. Their oldest, now entering first grade, lived for a while in his momma's belly right here at our house (I rented the downstairs house to them for a few months while C. was pregnant). It was great to soak up the festivities out at the farm, watch the kiddies running around (their youngest, whom I would swear was just born, is walking and eating solid food!), and pick some blueberries! 'Some' is a relative term, of course: in the eyes of many, eleven pounds of blueberries is an avalanche. But this way I can have my antioxidants on my morning oatmeal well into the winter, and think of a lovely late-summer afternoon with friends on the farm.

Wherever you are, do yourself a favor and look around at the food resources all around you. There are good folks working a bit of land just about everywhere, and they are grand people to know.

Happy Fall, everyone!