Linsey Woolsey

lin·sey-wool·sey
ˌlinzē ˈwo͝olzē/
noun
  1. a strong, coarse fabric with a linen or cotton warp and a woolen weft
The month of September had me needing a strong, coarse something to keep from unraveling.  I brought my daughter back to school and then came home to unload a giant wagon of hay by myself when I should’ve been making pies for a wedding.  There’ve been ewes that are starting to go blind, ewes that have gimpy hooves, recovering castrated ram lambs and buck kids and our sweet Cotswold Mocha had to be put to sleep.
There have been Muppets, moving from a grazing gig down the road and back home, shearing day and then covered with burdocks, needing a shave.  Ewes needing to be paired with rams.  Shearing schools.  Shearing day.  Wandering alpaca.  Loose mini donkeys. Voracious turkeys.  Arthritic pups. Little rams arriving from Virginia.  Traveling north to shear and care for sheep that used to live here.
Additionally, a retreat in which we co-hosted and taught,  was sandwiched at our farm between farm tours, vending in New Hampshire, a guest-reading at a local fiber festival, and vending at the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival.
This week we are welcomed a gap-year student, Tessa, to join us in learning about fiber farming.  She is getting a drink with a firehose.
The pie orders are piling high.  Worked alongside mom all morning, to get a leg up on deliveries                        tomorrow.  A pie wedding is coming up asap, will be prepping for that soon also.

The house is covered with the contents of my car, which was the contents of the fiber festival I recently participated in, which is basically the entire harvest of our farm’s fiber.  The house is covered with fiber.

In the old days, I would be doing all of these things by myself and in the real old days, my kids would have been here to pitch in for chores and such.  These are new days.  I say “Yes!” to my dear friends that volunteer or say, “Call me!”  The gals that know how to pick up a muck rake and clean out a stall, sweep an aisle, grab a goat by the horns and help me trim their hooves.  The gals that know how to get the last chicken in with me, shut the door and then fill up the turkeys’ dishes.

Martha is helping me with inventory, she even cleaned my desktop. She makes cider-donut runs.  She drops mail off and opens my fridge and checks to see what I’m out of.  She hauls water buckets to the donkeys and sheep, unloads 50-lb bags of grain into the barn, organizes and loads my vehicle, cheers my children, more and more and more. I cannot even begin to list the assists she’s volunteered.

Miranda has been my right arm in the stall with the gimpy gals.  She even came by to help wrap one of the girls’ hooves last week when I was knee deep in a dyeing-workshop.  She drives folks to and from the airport.  She fills hay racks.

Maggie comes when she can after school and cross-country practice.  She helps me with the dirty work – not afraid to help me set up a coral to catch up those escaping wethers.  Not afraid to help me make tough farming decisions to insure the future health of the flock.  Steady and reasoning, thoughtful and kind.  She is 13 going on 31.

Mom is amazing.  She’s celebrating 79 tomorrow yet she is unwavering.  Today she showed up to help me put 20 pies in the freezer before I zipped out of town to get 7 sheep shorn and two sheep vaccinated, my old Shetlands that live on a farm up north.  Mom arrives with yarn that she untangled for me the last time she left.  She goes to my laundry room and finds things to fold. She shows up to help load my van for the festival that I have to be on the road for in an hour.  She pops in the car and drives the  hour to my farm to help and we have so many laughs.

Today was my brother’s birthday.  My brother that passed away 4 years ago.  Mom and I were going to have a bowl of homemade butternut squash soup and think on him together.  We never had a minute to spare to sit and celebrate Larry.  I ate my soup in a cup in the car on the way to shear the sheep.  Mom had hers after she washed all of my dishes and before she headed to pick up my niece.  But we talked about him while we worked together.  We talked about how he would’ve been running and gunning in the same way that I am.  My mom and I and Larry share the same bucket-loads of energy, the same excitement and thrill for projects and for farming and gardening and making.  I can still feel that positive charge when I think of him, I still see his blurred image of to and fro.  Not sitting for long.

 

Wing & A Prayer Farm is linsey-woolsey, alright.  A strong, coarse fabric with warp fashioned from the giving, caring, loving friends and family that stands the test of time.  There is no “I” in farm, call me on that if you ever catch me.

 

 

 

More thanks to sponsors that helped our recent Vermont Colored Wool Retreat such a success:  Making Magazine (www.makingzine.com) by Carrie Hoge, Katrinkles Knitting Jewelry (www.katrinkles.com) by Katy Westcott, PomPom Quarterly (www.pompommag.com), Susan Branch (www.susanbranch.com), The Kiwi Pop Studio (www.thekiwipopstudio.com), Earthues – A Natural Dye Company (www.earthues.com), Tolt Yarn & Wool (www.tolt.com)

 

 

French General

French General

Kiwi-Pop Studio

Kiwi Pop Studio

PomPom Mag

PomPom Magazine

Tolt Yarn and Wool

Tolt Yarn and Wool

 

And now, beautiful captures from the past couple of weeks, for your viewing pleasure:

Shearing School with Fred DePaul

Shearing School with Fred DePaul

On top of the world/hay wagon

On top of the world/hay wagon

Char started senior year

Char started senior year

Sunset from the loft of the barn

Sunset from the loft of the barn

Shearing school attendees Josh & Holly

Shearing school attendees Josh & Holly

Meleen & Charlotte's Vermont Getaway Fall 2016

Meleen & Charlotte’s Vermont Getaway Fall 2016

Ellen & me at Squam

Ellen & me at Squam

Maggie & Trevor

Maggie & Trevor

my helper with the harvest

my helper with the harvest

Dare and shearing school work

Dare and shearing school work

dyed all of our alpaca with flowers, leaves and nuts

dyed all of our alpaca with flowers, leaves and nuts

Jane Bumar's journaling

Jane Bumar’s journaling

Jane Bumar's gorgeous illustration and journaling

Jane Bumar’s gorgeous illustration and journaling

Summer and Fergus, our new ram

Summer and Fergus, our new ram

Reading at Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival

Reading at Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival

Miranda and Trevor before he had his surgery to

Miranda and Trevor before he had his surgery to

Kaari, Molly & Mogull from French General

Kaari, Molly & Mogull from French General

a few fun with friends' shots - me & Leslie img_1632 img_1698 img_1701

natural dyes made during my natural dye workshop

natural dyes made during my natural dye workshop

Crafting at Meleen's

Crafting at Meleen’s

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

Milverton getting shorn

Milverton getting shorn

Little John, pre-haircut

Little John, pre-haircut

Natural Dyes during our workshop

Natural Dyes during our workshop

Indigo dyeing

Indigo dyeing

dyeing with natural color

dyeing with natural color

Indigo Wild!

Indigo Wild!

Joanne's weaving

Joanne’s weaving

Kaari and Scout

Kaari and Scout

Kaari teaches weaving

weaving

weaving

Mogull helps to sort the natural dyed yarn

Mogull helps to sort the natural dyed yarn

Audra and Helen

Audra and Helen

Donna & blockprinting

Donna & blockprinting

Vermont Colored Wool Retreat

Vermont Colored Wool Retreat

recess was in the big field

recess was in the big field

Grace and Pansy

Grace and Pansy

Eco dyeing

Eco dyeing

Bettina and Eco-dye results

Bettina and Eco-dye results

Michelle unrolling eco dye towel

Michelle unrolling eco dye towel

"Graduation"

“Graduation”

eco dye bundles

eco dye bundles

Audra's tapestry

Audra’s tapestry

laughs around the making tables

laughs around the making tables

wool applique

wool applique

beautiful gift bags from French General

beautiful gift bags from French General

Audra's completed weaving

Audra’s completed weaving

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. tammy, being a small part of a wing and a prayer farm september was pure JOY! you have the energy and stamina of ten women, lady. love you big time!

  2. Thank you for sharing from the depths of your being. I did not know about your brother. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I know losing a loved one is hard. I now know we have something in common, I have a brother named Larry. I wish I could be there now to give you a hug. Carol

  3. Tammy, this is a beautifully written account of life as Farmer Tam. Even with all the help you are fortunately getting from your amazing friends and Mom, I do not know how you do it. One of these days I’m going to leave corporate America and move to Bennington to become your right hand woman! As demanding as it sounds, I can read between the lines and tell that you wouldn’t change a thing! Please tell Mom I said Happy Birthday, and I’ll be saying some extra prayers for Larry (can’t believe it has been 4 years). And I’m so sorry about Moppet. Tammy, You are the salt of the earth, and I love you, roomie!!

  4. A great tribute to your brother, mother, family, friends… beautifully written Tammy. There is much to say about the good work that you are doing. I am thankful to watch the “Wing and a Prayer Farm” story unfold.

  5. What a beautiful post as always – thank you for what you do as an outpost of all that is right in the world. I am sorry to read of your brother; they are never far away, even if we can’t see them. Much hugs to you all up there in that gentle landscape, and for the beautiful photos that capture the story.

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