Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pennsylvania Dreaming

Do other people go through times when they look back over their lives more than usual? This morning I find myself steeped in memories of Sunday mornings long before I came to live at Firefly Farm. What I mostly did was visit with friends with shared interests--gardening, antiquing, fiber--but if I found myself alone, my absolute most favorite thing to do was to jump in the Jeep and head out for a long ride on country roads. Voyeuristically driving by old farms, imagining life in this or that farmhouse and garden, was my idea of a great Sunday.

In time, a close friend bought a great old farm and I have so many happy memories of weekends spent puttering in her house and gardens. For the winter of 1999-2000, she invited me to housesit while she would be travelling for four months. As much as I enjoyed the serene wintry beauty of that place, and the days spent in quiet routine, it never occurred to me to dream that someday I might get to do more than borrow somebody else's lifestyle for a season. Yet, by the next winter, my world had changed dramatically, and in the Spring of 2001, I came to live at Firefly Farm and begin a completely new journey very far in every way from the place where I had been.

Today, I don't have to imagine what would be going on in some anonymous farmhouse as I would be driving by it. The old kitchen here is warmed by the woodburning cookstove, and Bob sits at the old oak table paying the bills in between trips to the barn to check on the lambs. The dryer in the laundry room hums and thumps, working its magic on faded towels and blankets that may be needed to warm a new arrival.

In Federal houses, the north parlor was traditionally the room kept for great occasions (notably funerals). But in this old Federal today, it's purpose is so much lighter--my happy studio, with books and yarns and the loom and my beloved wheel. This Sunday morning finds me dabbling at the computer here, kitten in lap, cat on desk...and I'm telling my memories and thoughts to people far away. Maybe someone who reads this is living in a city or suburb and dreaming of a farm.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lambing and Weaving

Because the weather has finally turned bitterly cold and windy, the Firefly Farm flock has decided it is time to start lambing. Last year the first lamb was born on Groundhog Day, but this year we started yesterday morning, January 24. When Bob went up to the barn at 7am one of the older ewes had just delivered a lovely ram lamb. Will post a photo shortly. "El Ninio" will be the first of the new generation fathered by our young ShetlandXCoopworth ram. My goal in bringing him to the farm has been to bring a bit of color and shine to our RomneyXTexel fleeces. Time will tell!
Getting a batch of fleece picked and ready to go to the mill as we speak. Picking is not my favorite task, hence the delay since shearing was in, uh, June. I always feel I could have picked more so I keep going back and finding, of course, more vm. I could card quite a lot of fiber here on the electric Louet, but find it well worth the expense to send the wool out instead. This year a friend wants to send some of my wool with her pygora, which promises to make a very lovely mix.
Speaking of the fiber front, not much spinning going on lately but learning quite a lot about weaving. Late last year I came into a 1963 Union 36 loom. I have always wanted to learn to make rugs of all sorts, so rag rugs are a current obsession. The learning curve here is steeper than it might seem to those who have never looked into it but like everything else, the more I do it the easier it seems to get. Made placemats this week of which I am inordinately proud. But I anticipate it will be very satisfying using them every evening. A nice farmy kind of feeling.