Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sheep. Snow. Solstice.


Karen smiling at a future hat and scarf

Logo on the Farm Truck

Angora lambs (is that right?, I never asked)

What a great day!! Mom & I went up to the Hudson Valley Fiber Farm to join in the Winter Solstice Celebration and meet Susan Gibbs (owner) and Erin O'Donnell (farm manager) and other similary yarn-minded individuals such as myself.

House - rear view

(To those of you who have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about - click on this link.- I have to thank my friend Carol Olstad for forwarding an email from our colleage Maria Cameron with the link for the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm, a Community Sponsored Agriculture - Yarn CSA - and while all the shares for MVFF were sold out, I was lucky and very happy to discover a second farm in the Hudson Valley. I am now a happy shareholder with my mom.)

Semi frozen pond

Ewes and lambs
The drive up was interesting given Old Man Winter's one-two punch of a wee winter storm on Friday. Though West New York, NJ only got 3.5 inches of snow, it felt like Hopewell Junction got 2 feet of snow. In all actuality it was probably about 8-10 inches, but I'm a New Yawka, I think BIG. On an otherwise uneventful drive, coming off the ramp from the Taconic to Mill River Road (?), the brakes on my oh so reliable Subaru Outback (aka Chuck) locked up and we went sailing through the deserted (thank heavens) intersection and straight up the on ramp before they engaged and we came to a full stop. I did notice the SUV out of the corner of my eye on the right hand side of the road and YEAH! to him for being able to stop or I might be writing this with my leg or other body part in a cast. Breaking all driving rules, I reversed off the on ramp and back on to Mill River Road. Again, the roads were deserted. When mom saw the decline of the road, her signature sharp intake of breath and her slow reach for the door grip made me stop and assure her we would be fine. Of course, I was apprehensive on the inside, but I didn't want her to know that. Long story short, we made it. When I saw all the snow I wanted to drop to the ground and make a snow angel, but I had to help mom get up to the house. According to the temp gauge in Chuck, it was only 19 degrees. But I didn't feel cold. The mountain cold is so much different that NYC cold. Its not damp, it doesn't go through you the way it does in the city. People say its because we are near water. I think it's the mountain elevation.

4 sisters

We walked all the way around the house, saw the guys building a bonfire. I walked up the back porch steps and was told to go around the front and through the mud entrance. We took off our boots, shed our puffy coats and were instantly welcomed by Susan Gibbs. I introduced myself and my mom and mentioned the apple pie. Susan said she'd heard about the apple pie. Gulp, hope it tastes good to them. I know I LOVE my mom's apple pie better than any desert in the whole wide world. Susan steered us into the house and over to the food - meatballs, macaroni, fresh hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Seems like everyone brought desert. I had one of the little snowmen with gumball ears. Delicious.

We chatted with the other guests a bit and then I asked Susan where all the sheep were hiding. She took a group up to her little hill corral to see the new ewes and the babies (lambs, wee sheep, whatever you want to call them). What fun?! I love the outdoors, I love the mountains and I love animals. I was probably grinning like a 5 year old. The adult sheep were wearing coats and the kids were milling around, some of them in their protective dome shelters, nice and warm standing on hay. I took a bunch of pictures which I will attempt to post here.

After hangin with the livestock, we walked down to the bonfire which was in full and magnificent blaze. I took some more pictures. I roasted 2 marshmallows for me and mom and tried not to get too close so my highly combustible puffy coat wouldn't go up like a Roman candle. Susan took my picture by the fire and was kind enough to post it on her blog - thanks Susan!!! Glad you liked the pie.

Mom negotiating the snow

It was getting late and we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us, so I said my goodbyes to the folks outside. I purchased some soft snuggly yarn, got a cup of hot apple cider, talked to Susan about coming up to the MVFF on April 18th for shearing (?), I just don't recall what she said, I was so excited, my brain shut down. Mom and I made it home incident free in 1hr45mins. I am very much looking forward to following Susan's blog and upkeeping my own.


  1. Could these sheep be more adorable? Everyone, including the sheep, look like they are having a good time. Certainly sounds like an eventful day although I am sure the brakes *incident* would not have been missed. Glad you are home safely and thanks for sharing! Also glad you got some wool - any plans for it yet?

  2. Karen, your pics are great! Thanks so much for driving all the way up for the party. We LOVED the apple pie- Patrick said it rivaled his grandmother's.
    Same time next year?

  3. As my kids say, "OMG!" The top photo is absolutely priceless!! It looks as though s/he's puckering up to kiss the camera!

  4. I know, that hill on Miller Hill Road was STEEP!

    And, hey, I can see Chappy's tail wagging!