Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mothers and New Lambs at OSV

Saturday morning I dashed off to Sturbridge to arrive early for the annual three-day Sheep & Woolcraft Days at OSV. The first shearing of the weekend, bestowed upon the wether and senior resident Alabaster, was caught on video tape. Fascinating demonstration of hand shearing, like it was done back in the early 19th Century. He was a patient fellow, and the master shearer was very gentle.

In the sheep pastures were several new lambs and their mothers, including one just a day old. Merino and Gulf Coast Natives are the two breeds that have been bred to closely resemble the form and character of flocks the villagers would have owned at the time. Wool was big business then, and a small flock could apparently turn a nice profit for a farming family.

I shot over two hundred images. No surprise. Here is just a taste of the delightful time I had.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Back to Earth after 10 Magical Days

I am in full reacclimation mode after an unforgettably extraordinary time in the magical land of Costa Rica. Photos and video clips are still being reviewed and saved, so for today I only have words to express the sights and sounds and smells of this charming, beautiful country. I am so grateful to my mom for inviting me along for the experience. We made many delightful memories together and I marked several new personal firsts, including zip lining, whitewater rafting, tropical jungle hiking, and volcano sighting. Add to those monkeys, iguanas, tree frogs and more, and you have a delicious soup of visual and audio stimuli I will carry with me a very long time. Best of all, my boys at home seem no worse for wear as a result of our temporary separation.

Pura vida!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sheep in Costa Rica

A few days ago we visited an educational center in the capital city of San Jose called INBio. There was a petting zoo, and I got some sheep time. The three here are actually of me with little kids . . . they are very inquisitive usually and like to nibble on hair and clothing, which they did to my great pleasure. More images will follow.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Capturing a dog moment

Anyone who knows me well knows that Dog is My Co-Pilot. I spend a lot of time with dogs, caring for them, worrying about them, and advocating for them. Anyone who has tried to photograph dogs knows that it is a very challenging endeavor -- they move! They follow you when you want them to stay put. They don't look at the camera. Their blackness (if they have black fur) makes it hard to see their details. The list goes on.

So, in my attempt to capture another "first" in our home this morning, these results are the best I could do. The subject: Jeric allowing Igby to use his feet as a pillow. Astounding. Jeric is the guy who couldn't be within six feet of another dog back in the early days of adopting him. Now, he seems to suffer his brother's indulgences with nary a care. This is one of those fleeting moments in the life of a family I had to, absolutely had to, capture, and all I had handy was my iPhone, and that not even within arms reach. Quietly, but with deliberation, I crossed the office floor to grab the tool and secure the moment before either boy did what they always do, move head or even body to track my activity.

I wish it were a better, more composed and expertly illuminated shot. But it isn't. And, I guess, it's still perfect.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spin Artiste Secret Stash, Round 2

Spin Artiste Secret Stash, Round 2!

Shouting out a thank you to Arlene Ciroula and her fab stash suppliers for making this such a fun event to participate in. . .  Check out the list of great objects and the thinking behind them. Mine is number 16, a cowl pattern by Teva Durham in her Loop-d-Loop book. Loved doing this. Thanks, everyone!

Handspinning for The Salty Ewe

Working out how fast to spin and work up 2-ply yarn from roving produced by The Salty Ewe Farm. Keeping track of hours it takes to prepare hanks. Prep only involves splitting up the roving into equal amounts of two, so that I can then ply singles from each group and hopefully have equal amounts with little left over. A tricky, eyeballing exercise. The leftovers will get Navajo plyed (makes a three-ply yarn) into much sorter bits. Some is natural: cream, oatmeal and brown, the traditional colors of Olde English Babydoll Southdowns. Some has been dyed beautifully with golden rod and madder root. This is extremely soft and bouncy fiber, a very short staple, so the technique is more of a steady "pinching" with hands held close together. As I know this flock, it is extra enjoyable to work with the fiber. Maya and her siblings and cousins, grand dames Bella and Callie, and all the newcomers are in my mind's eye (and scattered within this blog!) while I work at the wheel.

Off to ship these hanks to the farm's knitter. Will have to finish up remaining rovings when I return from CR later this month.