Wooly bully needs an EZ Pass

I had a little outing yesterday and trekked off to Rhinebeck, NY to attend the Dutchess County Sheep and Fiber Festival.  I had my Shetland-Sheep-For-Sale posters, complete with pull-off tags with phone and email info., 13-bags-full of Shetland fleeces(you never know!), my camera and my dying cell phone.  It is a quick trip down the thruway, a little over two hours, and I was excited to take a day off from the farm and immerse myself in education and delights of the trade.

A one-hour wait in traffic on the bridge over the Hudson in Rhinebeck wasn’t a great way to begin the event and finally, when directed to pull over on the roadside for parking, I was relieved to get out of my little truck.  The attendant urged me to pull forward a little more, a little more…I shook my head ‘no’ on the third invitation.  This parking spot overlooked a ravine of sorts and I was listening to the inner voice that said, “If the truck pops out of gear or the brakes fail…”

I learned that this alternative parking was because 2/3 of the Dutchess County Fairgrounds parking lot had been covered in water from recent rains.  I waited with about 100 people for a shuttle bus which took another 45 minutes to arrive.  So much for bringing my fleeces to a convenient drop-off for a Spinnery I’d hoped to visit.

There were goats, llamas and alpacas there as well.  And a LOT of people.  And about 300 vendors with yarn, roving, gadgets, equipment, jewelry and some trendy fair-food.

Angora Goat judging

I did enjoy the animals.  I did enjoy the colors and textures of the numerous vendors.  I even bought a couple of skeins of merino/alpaca blend which is everywhere.  I noticed very little Shetland yarn and when I did find it, I compared it to my own(which I’d brought along with me) and found that Wing and a Prayer Farm’s fiber was indeed competitive in price and quality.  I hung one “Shetland Sheep for Sale” sign up outside of a tent with the tear-off contact information for my farm.  I expect my inbox to be full of inquiries by Monday…

I did NOT enjoy the hours of time waiting for traffic, shuttle bus lines, and standing in throngs and lines of people in order to glimpse an item or animal.  I am not cut out for these crowds and quickly lose my optimistic lens when rubbing shoulders with stressful behaviors born of materialism.  Lets face it, I’m spoiled by idyllic rural living!

Though nowhere near a panic-attack, I realized my sensory overload at about 4:00 and tried to get out of Dodge in a quick fashion.  But first I had to get a push out of the parking spot I’d pulled into as the soggy embankment had sucked my truck firmly in while I was away.  Not just one guy, but two helpful souls, saw my need and came to my rescue.  Flinging mud everywhere, I re-entered the paved roadways and picked my way back through traffic to Route 87 North.

Guess I was a little too full of the “home free!” liberty cry because when I was getting off the thruway, I inadvertently drove into the EZ Pass lane and realizing too late, made a first-class fool of myself.  Somewhere in the New York State Toll Offenders photo files, I’m now depicted as the Vermont redhead that knocked on the toll-collectors windows asking for help!  He passed along a help-sheet for me and then yelled at me to move it!

Sheepishly(I need a pun about now!), pink-slip in tow, I pulled away and gratefully arrived in my beautiful Green Mountain State to tuck in for the evening.  

The following photos are some of the highlights of the Festival:

Bins of undyed yarn

Fleece judging

Alpacas in the limelight

Beautiful Shetland Ram

Southdown Sheep, called "Babydolls"

I'm partial to Shetlands!