In case you haven't heard already, the Wall Street Journal did an article about our little farm on Saturday. It was a really nice piece and the response has been fantastic! We have about a gagillion new shareholders (Welcome!) and I've received emails from a couple of old boyfriends (although how they recognized me from that Godforsaken drawing I will never know) a high school student looking for an internship, several people offering up land on the Vineyard for grazing, and lots of other lovely people wishing us luck in this project. It has been a whirlwind, my friends, and on the heels on Fiber Fest, I am just spent.
Speaking of Fiber Fest, it was such a perfect day. I got to meet lots of shareholders and, as you can imagine, they were all funny, charming people. It was so emotional to meet the people who had taken a chance on me that I spent half the day in tears. It really meant the world to me that so many of you came from so far away to spend the day with me and the flock and I don't think anyone in the world felt as blessed as I did that day.
If you couldn't make it to Fiber Fest DO NOT DISPAIR. We're going to do it all over again in September or October and you're invited. I'll let you know the exact date ASAP. In the meantime you might enjoy watching the video Harry (Patrick's elder son) shot of the event or looking at all the pictures that your fellow shareholders took at the event in the flickr group that Kate set up. [You rock Kate!]
My favorite pictures are of the shearing itself. Shearing day is the most important and most labor-intensive day on the shepherding calendar. In addition to the all important hair cut, each animal must have their hooves trimmed, be wormed and deloused. We also like to do a general health check on each sheep and goat at the same time. It is a lot to get done and the work is very physical.
The shearer obviously has the hardest job. The shearer we used in the Hudson Valley, Jeff Traver, came up for the weekend and he was a great sport about performing for a crowd.
In addition to Jeff, Patrick and I called on two friends, Mark DeFeo and Eric Hammerlund, to help out. In fact, just about every one we know on the Island pitched in to get it done.
The thing I love about shearing day is that it kind of like getting your hair cut and colored. You know that feeling you get when you leave the hair salon? That "I'm brand new" feeling? That's what shearing day is like for me. My entire flock is clipped, trimmed, wormed and cared for and for the next six weeks I don't have to worry about any of those things. It's a great feeling.
The fleeces that Jeff took off looked absolutely beautiful. Here's Patrick holding one up for the crowd to see.
We have umpteen jillion bags of cormo, cotswold, babydoll southdown and angora goat fleeces in my workroom downstairs awaiting their trip to the mill. I'm taking it down to New York this weekend- I'll keep you apprised of it's progress.
I will be coming back to Martha's Vineyard with 10 new goats- 8 wethered bucks and 2 bottle babies. The babies will need "herb"names and I am plum tapped out. So far we have Thyme, Sage, Chive, Basil, Tarragon, Cilantro, Sassafras, Saffron, Rosemary, Oregano and Juniper. Can ya'll help me come up with two more? We also need to come up with a theme for the new wethers. So far we've done candy, famous nannies and herbs and spices. Post suggestions for both here or email me.
It's hard to believe but the six nanny goats due to kid in May are already showing signs that they are close to kidding. Linda is already really bagged up, meaning that her udder is full of milk. This generally happens two to three weeks before their babies come.
Linda is our oldest nanny goat. She is not so easy on the eyes but she is an excellent mother and throws award winning kids. And she almost always twins. I wrote about Linda on my old blog. I can't link you right to it, don't know why, but if you really want to read it go to www.mvfiberfarm.com, click on Blog and then Archive and scroll down a bit.
Linda is a lovely creature on the inside and she lives to mother. I am concerned about her because she is so old that she's slowing down. It takes her longer to get to the feed trough and she isn't super-competitive anymore. To make sure she is getting enough to eat I'm going to put her in a kidding pen tomorrow with a small shelter. That way she can get plenty to eat without wearing herself out.
The kids are growing like crazy. Tarragon seems to have recovered completely from his strange infection. Our vet, Dr. Dave Tuminaro, made a house call last week. Actually, Dr. Dave always makes house calls. He has solved the problem of sky rocketing rents on the Vineyard with his own mobile vet clinic.
Tarragon had a big swelling in his throat that wasn't going down with antibiotics alone so Dr. Dave had me hold the kid while he stuck a syringe in the abscess and drew out the guck. [I actually took a picture but it was across the board disgusting!] It was super-gross but it worked like a charm and T is on the mend. I'll post some new pics soon.
That's it for tonight. I'll be doing another update later in the week.
[Important note- to the lovely couple that I met at Fiber Fest whose daughter both them a share as a gift. You haven't been getting the emails I send out and you gave me your email address so I could add you to the list. I put it in the pocket of my jeans and then I washed them. :( I'm so sorry- please email me and (I promise) I will get you on the list.]
[HEY LINDYPEPPER! You won the Shepherding Camp drawing. Congratulations!]