If you take enough pictures, a few will be good. It follows: Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes. Selfies? The easy way or hard way? It’s probably not good to say I go both ways. Beer? I don’t drink beer! Heresy! As you can see, we do have some good times together.
Socks? Everyone needs socks. These days, I’m retired. My socks retired too. I wear ‘em about three cold days a year now. Colleen? – adores socks. And, she adores the Pemaquid lighthouse!
Sheeps? Why is it sheep? I did not go to Maine for the art. Did I? Spinning wheel? Colleen arranged to pick up a signature spinning wheel that I found online. She brought $$. And, now, I use this wheel. Was it a plot? Planned? I love this wheel – to use; it’s sweet! I love my wife … more!
The last time? 2018 – crunchy granola set. I say it in the most wistful way, for Colleen adores the Common Ground fair. It was our second visit. And, then, the Covid pandemic hit; its canceled ever since. Produce, sheep, bourbon barrel maple syrup … and a spinning demonstration, it was full of photo ops. I now know, much more about spinning wheels. For instance, I can spot a Schact ladybug wheel. Ha ha. They are all castle wheels? I can say my eye is more practiced in spinning, and, you don’t care. Alas, a sheep is still a sheep. I can only tell you that this batch is not ready for shearing. Maybe the fair is on again this year? Maybe.
It’s always rhetorical. Which of your kids is your favorite? Favorite cat? Answer: You love them all. Equally? Answer: You smile. Favorite time? Favorite place? Favorite picture? In the moment, I like/love everything. Wrong! You love your wife, elsewise, you will not live to take another picture. Ha ha.
I’m just randomly flipping thru the catalog today. Monhegan Island. Just like that, I could recognize and recall the meal, restaurant, and setting. How? Memory is a funny thing. Pictures are my trigger to open up the past for me. Otherwise I have monarch butterflies scattered liberally in my catalog. Good luck finding a pic easily amongst the lot. Ditto, sunset. Sheep? Yup, I do not recall any particular sheep. This is all a random draw.
Cats? It’s still raw to recall Ray, whom we recently lost. Colleen will say we have favorites. Less favorite? … to which I say, I love them all. Need I say, she is my favorite wife?
A sheep is a sheep – all the same to me, just different colors, with or without horn. A spinning wheel? A loom? Venerable. Costly. Slow (to make clothes by hand). I get my clothes for sale $10 a shirt. That is simply sinful thought. To not appreciate the process is to ignore history and how we got to this point in time; this is narrow minded thinking. Shearing, washing, carding, spinning, weaving… yarn to cloth to clothes.
The Golding wheel is the Bentley of spinning wheels. Art. It is not how you get there as much as how you look getting there. Any car goes when you add gas. Eh? Computerized looms? It has a niche, though, it’s oddly out of place with hand craft. You go to the sheep and wool festival to – meet Golding and son, see the sights, see sheeps, and to see people. I get photo ops. Sheepishly, I have newfound respect for the handicraft. No, Colleen, (I get it now) a sheep is not a sheep. There are differences beyond appearance. And, no, a Golding wheel is not in our future. Hey! You don’t have to spend $10k for a Golding! Maybe I should not have checked $ on the internet. Price increase! – $30k for a stained glass Golding wheel!! I still cannot differentiate sheep breeds. (A sheep 🙂 is still a sheep.)
Colleen wants to do one – river cruise. I’m spinning old slides today. Spontaneously, nuts, I was in Norway for a birthday party pretty much precipitated by a dare. Harald turned 65 and threw himself a party inviting an international cohort of neurosurgery colleagues as well as everyone in/from his valley home in Unset. Unset? The entering/leaving sign was two sides of the same board. Replete with belly dancer, the party was a success. I was placed in a farmhouse room with a bed and multiple looms. What did I know then?? Not a thing. Old? Barn loom? I have a different eye nowadays. Colleen has educated me.
And, who covers their haystacks? Green roof? Yup, they have the first real green roofs I have/had seen. It is a fond memory. And, never, ever, accept a birthday party invitation without finding out the location first. Ever! Harald is still chuckling about how he set me up.
I am now educated. When I first became reacquainted with Colleen, a sheep was a sheep. Colleen weaves; she spins. Now, we chase particular breeds – border Leicester, Corriedale, Polworth, Merino, Lincoln…. I know a llama when I see one (now). I am hooked on auctions. It is the closest thing to gambling that I am willing to risk. I have an “enterprising” gene somewhere buried deep. I have to stay away! Otherwise, we are gonna have a sheep, soon.
We buy fleece. Sheep shearing is an art. The fleece can be dirty. Very. Or, clean. We get average, pretty dirty fleece. It has lanolin (grease) – a lot, grass, dirt, and poop. TMI. It has to be processed. A lot of times it is stored in old pillow cases… till washed. Our cats? They love to wallow in the fiber. It’s not ideal to do so. The fleece could get felted. Ha! I swear, we’d have sheep grazing outside the house if only the homeowners association would allow. Do you wallow? Willow wallows.
Resolved: no more cats. Really? Well, we have not been to the pet store recently. (I was banned.) Healthy eating: ha ha. Seafood diet? – see food, eat it. Take more pictures? For sure – everyday. New year? It’s like a reset or restart? Way back when, I was here in Woodstock. I was an unwitting witness of history. Things changed. Things remain the same. Humbly, if I were asked – no reset, more of the same please. Because, I am happy with my new year and life as I know it, now. Happy new year, again.
We have been on an extended road trip. I chased fall color and cover bridges. Colleen chased fiber. Fiber? As in wool and fleece from sheep. Sheep? Yes, there are a myriad of rare sheep with fleeces she covets. ?? Polworth? Teeswater? It’s an endangered breed in the US. TMI!! We made it to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fair. It went on as scheduled despite Covid. Yes, we got big rain. There were prizes at the auction – another spinning wheel! Ha ha. (I/Colleen won one.) There was the fleece barn, Colleen’s candy store. Llama, pajama, an interloper! Yarn?! Tons. It was more knitter’s fair than weaver/spinner. There was a line (out the door!!!) to purchase this year’s (yarn) color. There was the one room school (revisited). We – Colleen and I – almost went to one. We did sit in this style school desk in elementary school. So, why not – recreate the image of where we met. Again. And, yes, it is my regret – I wish she’d have grabbed on and held me close those many years ago. What a difference fate could have dealt. Such a good time, too many pictures, wistful, and hoping for a do over – life.
I don’t work too much with a pose. But I get them. My key? Aim the lens – point the lens into the eyes. Nothing formal. It’s all done on the go. Ha ha. More lessons. Good light helps, especially the glow of an evening sunset. Ha, again. We are never up for dawn’s early light.
In NYC, a man with who walks with his nose in the air ends up with dog poop on his shoe. In the country, well, you know how it goes. We went to visit the sheep. Colleen arranged the visit. She had bought fleece from this farm and wanted to meet the source (sheep). Soay? Long wool Leicester? Familiar sheep breed names? How about Edwourd? French sheep, and didn’t know it! A sheep is still a sheep even if it is one or two. Soay sheep are shy. Soay (of course!!) originated in Scotland. Teddy the standard poodle stole the attention. A visit to the sheep farm cannot be complete without fleece. Yes, Colleen helped herself to … I might add that the shawl is felting over a lace curtain. That’s art!
The Delaware State Fair. I suppose there are no surprises if you have been to a state fair. They are about vanilla as it gets – produce, farm animals, a carnival, and the rides. The players vary but the theme is the same. How does one judge the watermelons? Size, taste, color? Carnival food? Always entertaining. Ride? – the Enterprise, it spins you vertically; it spins you horizontally: then you throw up. Fun! The sheep? One gave Colleen the worst case of poison ivy – ever! The sheep rubs against the plant; the oil gets on the wool; Colleen pets the wool; worst case scenario! (No. No picture!) But, do you see the guy on the unicycle?
If you have followed… you probably didn’t… Colleen has a cousin – Barb, no names please – who cut down my passion fruit vine last fall. I thought it dead. It’s seemed a logical conclusion after it was cut to the ground. No!! Resurrected! It grew back. Good news! …especially for Barb. My chain saw rental is still good at Home Depot. Zzzzz!
Onward to the art museum. Yes, we still go. Some is good. Some is not so good. Hey! I’m allowed to not like some things. I don’t argue if you don’t like broccoli…. So… we got Norman (Rockwell) or “Mother and Child.” Yes, I’m still laughing (whilst) at the museum. They let me do my own staging. It’s art too?! Eh? Diane? (Once more – I admonish you not to try this in a moving car – bridge shot – one handed driving ~70mph. It’s not supposed to work.)
Ha ha. We are in a puzzle stage. Puzzle? Yes, we are making puzzles to pass the time. And after the last one – not pictured – (ha ha) I decided to design one myself. Online, they do everything. I found a website. They made a picture into a puzzle. It worked out as well as any other puzzle we have. Yes, it’s a flock of yellow sheep. We came across this group while traveling in Scotland. I’m not name dropping or bragging. It’s just: this is not something you see every day. In the background (did you peek?) there’s my nutty cat. He climbed to the top of the bookcase and leaped down. Ha ha, I made you peek.
…we could travel freely? Right about now we are more than half through our second trip to Scotland. Not! Bad timing! Ode to corona: who thought a trip to our mailbox would be a threat to our health. Confused? No. Alas, we are not in Scotland. We were told the sheep were dipped – yellow – for purposes of health. We never saw another flock like it. Reasons on the ‘net include: ID, ownership, ewes, theft discouragement and who knows? We frequently staged some gag photos for the kids. Yeah, shameless Photoshop. Why not? Poor Colleen. Why hug a post box? Hey! You would have to look in my brain. Me? Some days I’m locked out. Thistle: the national flower of Scotland. And right now I wish we were posting: “Wish you were here.”
Today’s Dave’s birthday. Happy Birthday! (I’ll remind his sister so she’ll look good. Hey! People remind me of dates all the time.) I write my posts in advance. So, the big question is whether we are on the plane today to Scotland or not. We were/are scheduled. …cancelled/postponed due to pandemic. Who knew? River Tweed panorama anyone? No, the sheep are not sick with yellow fever. And we/us? As long as we are safe and with/among loved ones, it’s okay by me. Colleen would like to be with the “sheepies” too.
It follows after I mentioned Brig o doon (yesterday)… the movie and the musical. Colleen adored the movie. I was indifferent having heard of both and having avoided them in my life until now. Here we were. Memory. New and fulfilled. Priceless. We had dinner (unplanned) in the nearby restaurant/inn – where the wedding reception was being held. Cullen skink, but of course! And, we both still smile at how it was a perfect day brought to us by the British Airway pilot action that never happened (cancelled). Just like the rain, if it does, go with it. Happiness is working without a plan.
This was worth a stop! We were speeding along to somewhere, when I spied this field of colorful sheep. Why?? I saw a similarly colored group once more during our trip. Otherwise it is/was a mystery. Disease prevention? Dyed in the wool? (sorry for the bad joke) What? We don’t know. It was definitely worth it to get the photos. I did not realize or know that I would not see this again. Whoa!
Sheep and wool fairs always have a place where they sell fleece. It would be fleece that is sheared from the sheep and sold in large plastic bags at $/pound. It’s less expensive than yarn ready to weave. But there is a lot of processing. Are all fleeces equal. Hardly. Picking fleece is an art. I’m learning. I used to go by feel. That would be too simple. As we picked and chose, a volunteer came up and “squoze” my bag. Huh? She recognized her fleece and was checking. Yup, it was from her sheep. A mother always knows. Neat! If you wander into the fleece barn… you get fleece. I/we must be good pickers. A couple people admired our choices and told us they’d take the bag if we changed our mind.
I actually had to pull these images off my iPhone. Per usual, I shoot an image with my camera. But I forgot…
Have I mentioned the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival? It’s huge. Folks from far and wide come. Who knew? It’s like a cult. There are a lot of people who love sheep and wool. And they spin and weave and knit and…. I’m a bystander through association. I have a big camera and it seems not too many (big cameras) are in attendance. Sheep are photogenic? There is a building devoted to photography and there are prizes for your best sheep portrait. I’ll pass. But here we are. And I suddenly needed something to send to the kids. If you know my sense of humor… the sheep contest. The judge waxed poetic about fleece, bone structure, roundness, squareness and so many other attributes. Sorry. To me, a sheep is a sheep and they all look the same. Heresy!! Shoot me at dawn. All around me they sell sheep – meat – lamb and mutton. Gyros! You can’t have a proper one without lamb. The folks selling did not look Greek. I didn’t buy any. But I can’t help wondering what happens to the losers? My kids thought the joke was horrible. They have their mother’s sensibility in them.
Old photos. I came across this. It’s about 2002, Lincoln Center. Barbara Cook – quite the diva. She’s starring. I didn’t know her at the time. About a decade later I discovered the American songbook. She’s a big part of it. Who knew? Lots of folks. I was late to the party. There was a craft fair that day I took this slide. Now that’s a full circle for me. Look! Sheep! A sheep shearing demo. Considering what I know about weaving, it’s odd to see that this image is in my files and I only just ran across it. How significant insignificant things seem on second look. History’s a funny thing.
You take pictures of cats? Same principle – sheep. Eyes, it’s in the eyes. Focus. I’m tying up loose ends here. I just readjusted my DSLR camera to focus as I would like it to be. And it was largely more successful. These days I am so used to the point and shoot cameras that I don’t look in the view finder as much. It’s not laziness. I’ve gotten used to holding the camera at the level of my subject. This means that instead of bending I simply hold the camera lower and press the shutter. In a pen, this means I can get closer to the sheep without climbing in. if you recall, everything is related. Only the subjects change. The technique crosses over. So, I have been asked, how many pictures of sheep do I need. I’ve got one already. It’s like why I go to the movies. I’ve seen one already?
No, I’m not OCD. Am I? No matter. Here’s something you don’t see every day: Spinning in the park. Or, bobbin lace. It’s a craft not in much popularity. It’s intricate and fascinating. The artist said take all the pictures you want, just none of me. The sheep are trimmed and groomed for show. Why? The fleece is reduced to short fiber. The sheep sure look better. But then again maybe I forgot, they are destined to be eaten. Lamb burger? Gyro?
In order to get yarn you start with a sheared fleece. The fleece is washed. It’s turned into roving. Then, it’s spun. After that you knit or weave. If you skip the spinning, you can felt. Felt? The would be pressing the fibers together until they form a sheet of fiber all on their own. Like art, this is the raw material for creating a myriad of things. I’m more interested in the process than in creating art. People like came to buy the raw materials. Sometimes it’s the journey more than the destination. It’s all here. If you know fiber – ie spin and weave or knit – then you recognized the various states I mention. Otherwise, enjoy the patterns and color.
They’re cute. I think they are cute if you are sheep yourself. Otherwise, one looks the same to me as another. Except – I can tell you that the sheep with a haircut to its neck is a blue faced Leicester. Imagine that! They come that way – no wool on their head to the neck. At least I can recognize one! Ha ha, someone I know also thought a sheep was a sheep and that there was just one sheep. I have come to know that you have long and short hair, coarse and fine hair, and clean (coated) or dirty (uncoated). Yes, they really do keep the sheep covered in coats. They are pretty messy if they sleep in grass, straw, and dirt. I look at a sheep and see all the stuff (straw, dirt, shit) in the fleece and dream about cleaning (picking) it. Cute? Well, if you are the end user – scarf, sweater, blanket – well, yeah! Otherwise I can now appreciate why they can sell stuff for so much.