Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Top of Old Smokey...

We were able to get away to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee for a few days with the kids on their spring break. We decided to balance things out with a bit of touristy stuff and some nature, so we started at an indoor water park outside of Gatlinburg, Wilderness at the Smokies. We actually all had a great time there, and it was very new, clean, and well-designed- I liked the wave pool the best!

Driving through Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg is a mind-numbing experience in terms of the shear amount of tacky tourist attractions all gathered together. I honestly was afraid my camera would break, and didn't record that experience. We did spend one rainy afternoon walking around in town. I'm happy to report that aside from a funnel cake, some saltwater taffy, and a round of mini golf, the only other money spent in that place was at the Arrowcraft Shop. It is one of the few shops not selling a bunch of gross junk from China, and I was proud of the kids for not buying any "stuff" with their hard-earned allowances!
We headed to the trails in Smokey Mountain National Park the next day, and many memories were running through my mind of backpacking trips I'd taken with my brother and his family, stories of trips with Jason, and a weekend years ago with Paul. On that trip, a few years into our marriage, I thought I was possibly pregnant and I blissfully pondered all weekend about having a baby. When we got home, I learned that once again I was not and I was devastated. This entire trip with our kids I REALLY reveled in the blessing of our wonderful children who came to us in unanticipated ways. I am so very grateful to have them in my life!
Although the trail was fairly crowded, I have to say it was gratifying to see so many families with kids out in the woods instead of in town buying and eating a bunch of junk! Our kids seemed to enjoy it as much as we did, though Robert chose to run much of the trail and wait for us at the finish!
Mirian was drawn to the water, and loved gazing into the pools watching for trout.

We didn't make it out of Tennessee without stopping for fireworks for Robert! Oh well, I guess that made it a perfect trip for all.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Llamas and Daffodils and Lambs, Oh My!

My days have been filled with mostly-pleasant spring things, and I'm not even minding today's showers as the ground was getting mighty thirsty. Here are some of the first daffodil's "friends" that have VERY quickly painted the woods with cheery color! Taking the time to plant all those bulbs years ago was definitely one of the best investments of time I've made on the farm!
My friend Dianne had the good fortune of having triplet ewe-lambs born and Mirian and I went out to see them. Talk about CUTE!Mirian is going to be getting one of Dianne's ewes soon after it lambs in a few weeks, and it was fun to see Dianne light up as she explained some of the basics of shepherding to her. Here, she shows Mirian a fleece from her recently-shorn sheep.It's always fun to visit Dianne's farm, and the special light of her barn highlights her beautiful animals in such a lovely way.Yesterday, four new llamas arrived, delivered by my friend Karen who sold us our very first llama 18 years ago! They're super-pretty boys, but will need a fair amount of handling to get them tame enough to use on our treks. That'll be a great project for the kids on spring break! (They don't know it yet)"Bandit" had broken out of his pen by this morning, and he reminded me of how llamas are a bit smarter than alpacas as we herded him back into the barn!
I've been working on our farm marketing, and would love to invite you to join the Seldom Scene Farm page on Facebook! Become a fan by our shearing day on April 10th, and you'll win a free Llama Trek for 4 with a deluxe lunch! Pin It Now!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pulling Myself Up

I started the day yesterday feeling really low over the demise of a cria we'd been giving some pretty intensive care to since he had a seizure on Saturday (read about it here). Last year was rough on the farm, and I started having an overwhelming feeling that we may be repeating it.

It was about the 5th grey day in a row, and I couldn't motivate myself to do anything productive. I had made several new projects recently and didn't feel like doing much more. I'm taking a short PhotoShop class and tried to work on some of the techniques, but was having a VERY bad tech-day as well with the computer and printer.... arghhh, more frustration.

I decided I needed to get off the farm for a bit! I went to the new Addie's Creekside Cafe in nearby Millville for lunch and had a great reuben sandwich and soup. It's inspiring to see how this cute cafe is coming together and being embraced by the community as well as visitors to nearby Woodford Reserve. Their food is awesome, and it's a very comfortable place to hang out.

Then I headed to Midway to talk to the owners of Damselfly Gallery, who had taken some interest a while ago in carrying some of my handmade alpaca products. Mary, the co-owner, oohed and ahhhed over my new creations, and immediately put them on display in her beautiful store! That was a nice boost. She suggested that I make some more lightweight, spring-colored scarves and felted soaps, so now I have a new direction.

Since I was so close, I stopped in at Equus Run Winery to pick up our wine club order, 3 bottles which included Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Cabernet-Franc. Of course I had to taste each, yum! Nothing had changed on the farm when I returned but it was sunny this morning and I was able to motivate myself to get some new things accomplished in the studio. Here are some more felted soaps I made:
And some sample bags of dyed rovings from my stash, a "Felter's Paintbox" which I will be making available on Etsy soon and to participants in my felting classes (by the way, I have two spaces left for Sunday's Beginner's class).I'm hopeful that we'll have some beautiful, healthy new crias running around in the fields soon, and much more sunshine to come. No more pity parties today- CARPE DIEM! Pin It Now!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Some random things have me feeling full of cheer on this Friday, such as....
Finding time to dye fiber and try new things with felting. This is a pillow that I hand-felted from merino and then added some stitching (you can find more photos in my Etsy shop).A healthy new cria born yesterday to Accoyo Princess, a beautiful light fawn male.
The fact that the woodpecker that had been beating it's beak on our house and studio has found new places to put his pecker!
New artwork that arrived from an Etsy artist I recently discovered, Valentina. (I've added her blog to my favorites list, too!)
The first daffodil to bloom on the farm....And knowing that it will soon be joined by hundreds of friends. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


.... in the sunshine and promise of spring, that is!We hadn't experienced more than a very rare single day of sunshine for a while, and the past few days of warmth and brightness seem to be making everyone feel great.
All over the farm, the creatures were soaking it up. Even our koi came out of the depths of their pond for the first time in months to see the sun.
And today I saw the first crocuses of the year. (Their purple color reminds me of the 3 champion banners we brought home from the show this past weekend... I'm basking in our farm's success, too! Check it out here). Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do You Know Nuno?

....Nuno felting, that is. It's a very cool technique for producing light-weight, gauzy products with alpaca or wool laminated/felted onto silk and I'm really loving it! It's a great way to combine dyeing and felting, and the end product is ethereal and gorgeous.I was in heaven this morning in the studio, with projects in various stages and lots of dyeing taking place, too. I love the methods I use for dyeing silk, and plan to make silk scarves and finished scarves and shawls available on my Etsy site soon so that people can use them for their own projects (or just wear them as-is!). (This one may just have to stay with me, I'm going to put an abalone button on it).
This coming weekend is the Southern Select Alpaca Show, and whatever I don't sell there will be posted on Etsy, with more to come.
Munchie was keeping me company this morning. I never could previously figure out why he didn't like hanging out in the studio with me, when he's always nearby in the house. Finally, I set up a cushy spot for him in my padded office chair WITH a plush sheep hide on top- how could I have forgotten that he's all about comfort, and a simple rug on the wood floor was simply not good enough, and made him feel like a D-O-G? Pin It Now!