Thursday, December 29, 2011

Girl's Trip to the Biltmore and Beyond!

I have been in holiday mode ever since Art on the Farm, and doing very little felting or anything creative except to finish up some commissions right before Christmas.  We had a great family Christmas, it seemed less stressful and as if there was just more TIME this year, which I really enjoyed.  Our kids have had a pretty long break, and our son went to Florida with a friend's family so our daughter and I decided to go on a girl's trip to Asheville, North Carolina and the famous Biltmore Estate, which is decorated for Christmas.

We did two of the "special tours" including a Candlelight Evening Tour which was breathtaking, as many of the mansion's fireplaces were lit, there was live music, and there were hundreds of poinsettas and dozens of beautifully-adorned trees.  (Photos aren't allowed inside, so you'll have to go and see it for yourself!)  It is fascinating to hear about the lifestyles of both the ultra-wealthy first residents as well as those that were in their employ (which we learned more about on the Butler's Tour).
Despite the winter season, we enjoyed walking around the grounds and gardens, and it was wonderful to explore the Conservatory and it's many blooming plants.

We managed to find some time to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, wish we'd had more time for that, it's so gorgeous and relaxing, as there are NO commercial signs or development anywhere along the entire drive!  

We stayed at two great B and B's on our trip, and enjoyed lots of time shopping and browsing Asheville's many art galleries.

One of the galleries even had paintings featuring Peru (our daughter's birthplace), so that was pretty neat!

I have to say that being exposed to so much amazing artwork has me feeling very inspired and I'm itching to get back in my studio next week and to do some completely new things with my felting!
We capped the trip off with a hike on the way back home on the Appalachian Trail (with which I hold a lot of fascination, having read several books about people that have hiked the entire 2,100 miles).  It was a lovely way to finish out what was a wonderful mom/daughter journey!

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Art on the Farm

Here are some of the scenes from Art on the Farm yesterday here at Seldom Scene Farm.  We had a nice crowd and a GREAT time!  Come on out today (Sunday, Dec. 11th) from 11-4, meet some of the artists (including Marti McGinnis' canine partner, JoJo), pet some baby alpacas, and support local artists and farmers here in Central Kentucky!  You can find the particulars HERE.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sunshine and Sheep

Some of Dianne's beautiful flock
Today has been so nice... I was glad to have the excuse to drive to the other end of the county to my friend Dianne's beautiful farm in Nonesuch (yep, that's the real name of the town) to drop off our breeding ewe, Shelby, for ..... breeding.  I also took a favorite alpaca, CC, to join her nice herd of alpaca fiber boys.  Over many years, Dianne and I have done a lot of buying, selling and trading with each other (of alpacas, llamas, sheep, and fiber not to mention recipes, websites, etc.) and she has taught me so much- I think of her like a big sister.
Dianne and our two new young ewes
She came away today with one new alpaca and we now have two new ewes, with which I'm really pleased.  Dianne and I have both gotten interested in Wensleydale sheep, and she located a beautiful ram (she calls him "Mister") to lease and I wanted to double up on his genetics.  
The Mister
I'm very pleased with these two new sheep, which have exactly the type of fleece that I like and will be further enhanced with breeding to Mister. Here's the fleece on the white one (she's 1/2 Blue-faced Leicester, 1/4 Cotswold, and 1/4 Wensleydale).  Dianne has been breeding sheep for a very long time, and she selects for hardiness, temperament, and good maternal traits as well as the types of spinning fleeces that she likes, paying no heed to trends or show styles.  
This past year I have enjoyed using Wensleydale and other lustrous, long-staped fibers in my felting.  Here are a few items for which I've used this type of fleece...  I'm looking forward to having more of our own to work with!
When I got back home the dogs were itching to get out into the woods, and I was glad to oblige them.  We went for a long hike, the sun consistently buoying my spirits after the past dreary, shortening days.  (And the dogs, they're ALWAYS happy!)
And when we were done, I even took a few minutes to rest in the hammock, soaking up some of autumn's last rays.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A few things to admire....

I realized that I've not been posting much about fiber lately, but I have been spending lots of productive time in my studio.  I pulled together some pretty pictures, and couldn't find a common thread, so I just decided to consider them as some of the things for which I'm either inspired by, happy about, or thankful for!
 We had our last cria of 2011 born recently; this was one of our best years for healthy and trouble-free crias in our 18 years of raising alpacas!
I've been getting ready making things for some upcoming sales events- this Saturday is the Jingle and Mingle Gift Party and then on December 10th we're having Art on the Farm here at Seldom Scene!
It's still been fun getting out into the woods with the dogs every day.  It's been very wet and unusually warm, so that means lots of lichens and fungus- gorgeous!
Last week I went on a field trip with our son's chorus to Morehead, KY.  I didn't have any responsibilities in the morning, so I walked around campus and to the Kentucky Folk Art Center.  It is a really beautiful and inspiring little museum, I just love folk art!  Being on a college campus brought back a lot of good memories.
May all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you find lots of inspiration around you!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Doodle

"Hoss" at 10 weeks old
I'm a big fan of dogs (read more here), but have limited our house dogs to one in recent years, just feeling like we needed to keep things simple with so many livestock to care for.  Munchie, our rescue shitzu, is sweet and a wonderful foot warmer, but not a great one for the outdoors.  Our daughter and I have long admired "doodle-dogs" (poodle crosses, most popular being Labradoodles and Goldendoodles), but could never get my husband to consider it until he saw one retrieving very successfully while he was hunting with friends.  We didn't hesitate to start our search for a pup, also liking the fact that Labradoodles combine two very intelligent breeds and that those bred selectively through multiple generations often don't shed.  And.... they're REALLY CUTE!

At three weeks old
We located a breeder nearby that appeared to be reputable and had a beautiful litter from which we'd get first choice.  I liked the personalities and sociability of both parents, so we picked out "Hoss" (named by our son) for his robustness and beautiful markings, and then began what seemed like a long wait until he was 8 weeks old to bring him home.

Lots of new experiences that first day, so tiring!

Now 10 weeks (top of page), he's growing fast and settling in really well.  I'd never crate-trained a dog before, but it's been a very smooth process and seems to be contributing to a well-adjusted pup.  So far, I think the key is giving him lots of exercise and it's been fun getting out into the woods with both dogs on these great fall days.
Meeting one of the barn cats

The other critters are getting used to him, though Munchie isn't thrilled about the whole thing.  One of the barn cats actually ran right up to meet him!

Look for lots more pictures of Hoss, he brings us a lot of joy and laughs and seems to be a great addition to our family!
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