Ready for Rhinebeck?


 

We are heading to the most fabulous Sheep and Wool Festival.

Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Upstate New York hosts a spectacular fiber festival in October chock full of breeds, breeders,competitions, demonstrations, and lots and lots of fiber!

Andy will be coming along.


KatDoll will be going to the fair, Jenni wouldn’t go with out her…

There will be all manner of furry, fuzzy, fluffy friends;  Angora goats, all breeds of sheep, to Alpacas and of course llamas.  My favorite breeds of sheep are the long wools, WensleydaleTeeswater…and Leicester long wool.  I dream of  owning a few myself.  Perhaps at the fair, I can meet the right breeders (fingers crossed).

A friends sheep…too cute.

Jenni and I have been working on ideas for our stall display, we (Howie) have built several over the course of the years, but for Llama shows,not for fiber shows, and they must be different, I think.
Here is Andy sticking his head through our last display ~ in the making…guess he couldn’t wait.

I am thinking I should tap Josh’s creativity( Daughter’s boyfriend, Josh Cookfair ) being a phenomenal graphic artist and skilled at the art of branding ~ I am certain I could use his input. My daughter Juli is a talented illustrator…Jenni can structurally design just abut anything; Howie can build anything, so I think we will figure something out!

I will be sure to show you our end product.

We have much to do, grooming, planning designing and such…

A
ndy has grown so much over the summer, I will take a few shots of him and try to post them tomorrow…sweet, sweet boy; still miss his Mamma. (You can read a bit about her here..) He was barely 3 months old when she passed.

 

Be well,

Jess

 

Did you stay ~ while I was away…


Well, hello there! Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard.

We needed to escape…leave our worries and cares behind. We hopped on a ferry and in just a 45-minutes  from Woods Hole on Cape Cod, the Vineyard with its serene features, pristine sandy beaches, sand dunes and oodles and oodles of natural beauty waited.

Heading out to the other side(southerly) of the Island we left much of the commercial tourist traps behind (though not entirely). A few shops owned by the native people could supply needed trinkets and souvenirs.
Getting there was relatively stress free; an economical, convenient bus service from Oaks Bluffs ~ “Up Island” to the rural community of Aquinnah, formerly known as Gay Head,home to the Wampanoag**.

Once there we found the dramatic, color-streaked Aquinnah Cliffs. Walking along the narrow path of scrub bushes, down to the rocky shore is one of the most beautiful walks you will ever take. If you choose to, you can walk to the right toward the clay cliffs… you will encounter Jungle Beach, clothing optional. (oh, Dear)

Driving back through the winding country roads, many with stone fences and lush vegetation, reminded me of rural Ireland.


The cliffs are cherished by the Wampanoag tribe, who love to tell people about the importance of the cliffs to the tribe, and how they feature prominently in their spirituality and myths.

In 1997, the town changed its name to Aquinnah, which is Wampanoag for “land under the hill.”

MOSHUP TRAIL was completed in 1958 and follows the south shore across the dunes to an exit near the lighthouse. So important is Moshup that the main Aquinnah town road along the shore has been named after him. When Moshup envisioned Europeans coming to his fishing grounds, he is said to have left Aquinnah. He then changed his children into killer whales, turned his pets into stone, and with his wife Squant walked down the beach to disappear behind Zack’s Cliffs. Fog today is attributed to the smoke of Moshup’s peudelee (pipe). Cries heard off the south side during a storm are said to be Squant calling to her lost children.

The Cliffs are ecologically protected, and it is forbidden to climb the cliffs or even touch the clay.

THE AQUINNAH CLIFFS are one hundred and fifty feet of sediment – including red and white clays, green sands, white quartz, black organic soil, and lignite. They tell the story of the past hundred million years one colorful layer at a time.

The streaks of red in the Cliff are from the blood of whales that Moshup would drag onto the Cliffs to cook. The discarded remains from his table are now fossilized deep in the clay. To the Wampanoag, the Aquinnah Cliffs are a sacred spot for the very reason that Moshup chose this special place as his home – they are a watchful place of great bounties.

The ocean is a rare aqua color here, and the waves are quite high.

**The ancestors of Wampanoag people have lived for at least 10,000 years at Aquinnah (Gay Head) and throughout the island of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard), pursuing a traditional economy based on fishing and agriculture. The Aquinnah Wampanoag share the belief that the giant Moshup created Noepe and the neighboring islands, taught our people how to fish and to catch whales, and still presides over our destinies. Our beliefs and a hundred million years of history are imprinted in the colorful clay cliffs of Aquinnah.


As we boarded the ferry for our ride back to the mainland, a beautiful, bright full move eased out from its cover of clouds…the photo taken without flash, I think gives the best feeling and likeness of the night. We were tired and content.

I hope you are well,
Jess

Have you ever…?


Have you ever just taken a drive, to see where the road takes you? As we meandered about on the back roads of Greenwhich; a hamlet near to our home.

We stopped by a local ice cream shop; drove through the town center and headed west. As we rounded a bend in the road along the Battenkill River, we came upon some local history ~ in the shape of a painted brick colonial home…

A few miles west of East Greenwich, also on the banks of the Batten Kill, is the hamlet of Battenville.

The home where Susan B. Anthony [the woman suffrage movement who's motto was,"Men their rights and nothing more, women their rights and nothing less] spent part of her formative years has since been restored, as has the adjoining building which served as a tavern and stagecoach stop.

I am sure it was restored, but it seems to have fallen back into disrepair. An abandoned bit of historical architecture…

This area was also important to the underground Railroad; The abolition of slavery was a cause that many local people were actively involved in. Dr. Hiram Corliss guided the movement in Greenwich. His son, George Corliss, was the inventor of the Corliss Steam Engine. Legend has it;an important station of the Underground Railway to Canada was located in Greenwich.

The Battenville area was used during parts of the filming of The Horse Whisperers.

We had to stop to get this fella headed in the right direction…

In researching this homestead, I found the info here: Greenwich, NY.

Where are you headed? Have you ever…?

Be well,
Jessica

……can you whistle?


Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch ‘em roll away again, yeah

this just about sums up our life…notice that he is wearing his boots…on a boat!

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

……Sittin’ here resting my bones

……Watching the tide roll away
,Oooo-wee,
sittin’ on the dock of the bay,
Wastin’ time

Okay, now …whistle!

My all time favorite summer song…as sang by Otis Redding.
I only wish I could whistle!
Be well,
Jess

Walkin’ Down a Country Road…


As we so often do; after a long day of chores and yard work, my husband and I go for a drive or a walk (sometimes both). Yesterday we drove to a nearby town, stopped the car on an old dirt road and just meandered on down ~

A rural, pastoral view of the Cambridge Hills

There is such beauty to be found here,so much history and remnants of times past. Work for the future, as we pass signs depicting the “RIGHT TO FARM”.

Barns and sheds some being used for their intended purposes, some now storage or sitting unused and in a state disrepair…loved and lost.

It’s all a-blur…:)

On a country road
I guess my feet know where they want me to go….James Taylor.

Flowers along the way..

Gold, pure Gold.

I never fail to be impressed by the beauty of flowers..

Where flowers bloom so does hope.

In friendship’s fragrant garden,
There are flowers of every hue.
Each with its own fair beauty
And its gift of joy for you.
Friendship’s Garden

Earth laughs in flowers -Emerson

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844 Oh, for the love of Emerson <3

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.
John Ruskin

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.
Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

Be Well, take a walk…:)
Jess

come along with me,hurry before the sun sets…


Enjoying the beauty of Lake George in the Adirondacks for the evening.
The 4th of July. It was not the sunniest of days, but the sky and the clouds were just beautiful. The air was heavy with humidity, covering the landscape with its moist gauze. As the sun set, and we waited for the fireworks to begin the lake was tinted pink. There is quite an air of commercialism down in the Village; not my kinda scene; but for those looking for a souvenir, a tee shirt, or other kitschy item there were many shops to choose from. I prefer the serene rocky outcroppings,the old style Adirondack camps, distant mountain views,and pine covered hills.
We have hiked nearby on several occasions, you can see the lake from our Mountain top view.

View from the top.

I love to travel, to see new and different things. Yet, I am never too keen on being away from the farm for too long. A day trip sometimes fits the bill perfectly. I have some views for you….

I think I was being a little heavy handed with the photographs so I’ve inserted a slideshow…

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I hope you had an enjoyable holiday; stay cool. It’s a hot one.
Jess

Wordless Wednesday


Warm weather in New England, a slide show.

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Be well,
Jess

Life is too short for traffic…


It started like any other Friday; feed the dogs, feed the cat, feed the chickens, grain the ducks, muck the barns, hay…grain…and water for the llamas…all done with my coffee mug, Lexi (the lab) and Finnegan(the bernadoodle) in tow. One thing was different however; my husband had the day off. He had a lot more interesting things on his to-do list than I did mine; and his included a long drive up Route 22…to Hartford,NY.
“So, what’s happening in Hartford”?
“We are going to look at a truck for sale”.
“In Hartford?” “Where is Hartford”?
“I don’t know yet”….(Shudder)
The ride was nice enough, kinda overcast, and Harry Connick,Jr was crooning in my ear ~ well for awhile…you see my husband’s hearing is not what it used to be… and to add to that my voice can be rather soft. He leans over, and looks a me while I speak…I look across at him – briefly – and say I don’t know whether he should be looking` at me or not. It isn’t a good idea to take your eyes off the road too often.
With that – someone – has decided, after much braking and accelerating – (that Hubby has not seemed to notice)- perhaps turning to the right is what they want after all, but it doesn’t occur to them to put on their blinker until after they’ve slowed almost to a standstill. I quickly notice a mother deer and 2 nearly grown fawns) I am not sure what happened to my quiet ride in the country – Route 22 had become a Disney theme park – and we’re all just extras from a Bambi remake. As this all transpires in ostensible slow motion…Hubby doesn’t seem to have noticed the emergency stop – he’s looking at me, laughing softly; “So – anyway- this other guy – who is he exactly?….” I tell him B R A K E (loudly)… He slams on the brakes.. He whistles, laughs some more, then he looks serious and says some of his teenage driving skills come in handy…Then luckily we turn left and head up Route 149…, so, I forget all about it, you see the road we just turned onto ..leads up away from the valley and into some beautiful hilly farmland…the sun has just burst through the cloud cover. The result is nothing less than amazing light. The distant Vermont mountains looming grey in the background, the sky moody and threatening, yet, there are streams of bright sunlight illuminating the hills and fields.

Here are some of the resulting pictures…all unedited; I wanted you all to see (as exacting as I could) what I saw… hope you enjoy them too.

I drove home!

I wish you all peace.
Be well,
Jessica

As time goes by…my list gets longer


Do you have one of those lists, I guess they call them bucket lists now. Well, apparently I have two.
One short term and one a life long list. Dreams I have ,things I want to achieve, do, see…time goes by so fast it is easy to lose sight of these things. My list(s) remind me of what I love and what I am passionate about doing, creates a whole new level of enthusiasm for what I set as my goals. Actually writing down these wishes and dreams became very insightful for me, a focus of sorts.
Here are my lists…
Short term:
learn to spin fiber (properly)
learn to weave what I have spun
create and maintain a color harvesting garden ( to dye the fiber before/after spinning, before I weave it)
master the art of portraiture
add sheep to my farm menagerie( I am beyond smitten with them)
finish a few watercolor works
build a studio ~ maybe this is long term?

Long term:
travel in Europe
visit as many of our United States as possible
teach my (not yet born) grand children anything
perfect my cottage garden
hike all of NH’s 4000 footers
Help homeless, orphaned children
meet Maya Angelou!!!
write a book
learn Italian

I am certain this will be edited as time goes by, but for now ~ this is it. What are your biggest goals and dreams?
These photos are of my “neighbor”, my animals, and a friend’s animals…all wonderful creatures! (and leaves)

last bloom

blue...

llama...

what a pair

fell in love...

wondering what they are thinking...

gives new meaning to bird bath...

country grls

looking from the hills of East Hoosick toward Vermont, you can see the Bennington Monument

What’s on your bucket list?

Be well,
Jessica

Autumn barns…and leaves.


I don’t recall a more beautiful Columbus Day weekend; the weather has been incredible. Although the leaves are not “prime” color yet, they are still glorious against the azure blue of the Autumn sky.

As much as I yearn for the color of spring blooms, and the blush of my first rose; Fall colors are akin to a second spring (if you think about it…too much..perhaps). This year it seems as though all of the rain has washed away the grime of summer, and the winds swept the haze from the sky…and the fields and trees on Upstate New York stand in stark relief. A new painting around every bend in the road; as we drove home yesterday from my daughter’s near Schenectady…I was awestruck by the beauty that surrounds us in this area of the Country. I could travel the world;(if I had money) and I may find such pastoral beauty, but until then I will be glad to be where I am…on my little farm in Upstate, NY.

“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.”
– Henry Beston, Northern Farm

“The hazy, cloudless skies of Indian Summer. Leaves scurrying down the street
before the wind. The cold shiver from an arctic blast. Indian Summer. The last
warmth of the sun. Chilly mornings and glorious warm afternoons. The Harvest
Moon. The Hunter’s Moon. The Rainy Season. Dry corn stalks clattering in the
wind. The touch of frost on grass and window pane. The smell of burning leaves.”
– Keith C. Heidorn

I hope that you enjoy all that this season has to offer. What’s your favorite Fall tradition? I tell you mine next blog.
Be Well,
Jessica